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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Tales of Three Cities - Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing

May 30-July 24, 2011

The following information pertains to the last time this program was offered. If you would like to be notified via e-mail when new information is available, please subscribe to the Summer Session announcement list.

Please note: We are monitoring the devastating events in Japan and extend our condolences to all affected. Currently, this program includes a visit to Toyko. We will update this web page if that schedule should change.


The historic Asian capitals of Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing have established themselves as pioneering mega-metropolises of the twenty-first century. Their evolutions represent key examples in the history of modern globalization and capital development. Early twentieth century Japan, post World War II Korea, and twenty-first century China emerged as economic miracles, each displaying similar phases of radical transformations with recalibrated political, cultural, economic, and infrastructural systems absorbing advantages of global production and expansion. But the accelerated rate of mega development and the influx of endless global capital produce diverse and complex issues pertaining to the old and the new, history and development, past and future in these urban centers where political and cultural agendas remain a central determinant of urbanism.

The old cities will be investigated in terms of their relationship to the new in order to understand issues of transition, negotiation, mitigation, preservation, erasure, and reconstruction relative to the political, economic, and social dynamic of each region. The program will offer students an opportunity to experience both traditional and contemporary East Asia in context of global and regional agencies. Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing will be the programÔ┐┐s focus, but we will also consider Shanghai, Kyoungju, and Kyoto. The courses in the program will expand on the study of history and new trajectories in architecture, landscape, and urbanism.

The research studio will be central to the program. The students will document various typologies of exception and negotiation between the traditional and the new fabric of the cities, between the new and old, from the scale of individual buildings to the scale of infrastructural networks, and between landscape and architecture. Urban strategies of expansion will be proposed based upon this research and analysis.