The Urban Lab: Middle East at Rice University is an interdisciplinary program that combines coursework on comparative urban and regional politics and policy with field research, allowing students to apply classroom theory to real-life dynamics on the ground. The program represents a partnership between the Baker Institute Center for the Middle East and the Department of Political Science at Rice University.
The program includes parent courses that offer a broad overview of urban or regional politics and policies. These courses examine how national, regional, and local forces shape the processes and outcomes of governance within and across cities, metropolitan areas or regions, paying particular attention to critical problems and policies that affect urban centers: growth, immigration, class conflict, gender issues, public order, service management, human rights, education, housing, transportation, environmental protection, sustainability, land-use planning and spatial competition.
Current parent courses include:
POLI 362: Comparative Urban Politics and Policy
POLI 355: Government and Politics of the Middle East
In addition to taking one of the parent courses, students simultaneously enroll in a one-credit lab course. In the lab, students focus on a specific city and engage in an in-depth study of not only the history, culture and political economy of the city and country, but also identify a specific research project related to a contemporary problem facing the city or nation.
During spring break, students travel with their lab instructors to their city for an intensive field-research trip that includes visits to think tanks, municipal governments, government ministries, community centers, housing projects, local schools and cultural sites. Students may also attend lectures at local universities, such as Boğaziçi and Koç Universities in Istanbul.
Lab offerings for Spring 2016 include:
POLI/ASIA 349: Urban Lab Istanbul
POLI/ASIA 345: Urban Lab Dubai
Participation in the Urban Lab program is open to students of all years and majors. There are no prerequisites. However, participation is by application only. Applications will be accepted beginning in September 2015 and decisions will be made by late November.
Deadline for 2016 Lab applications has been extended through November 15, 2015.
Watch the video below to learn more about Urban Lab: Middle East: