IHP: Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics

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Learn through an innovative urban studies curriculum with fieldwork involving key actors and stakeholders—urban citizens, thought leaders and academics, public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots organizations. Explore social justice in urban environments. Examine how four cities around the world work, how they operate within the global economy, and how citizens live and organize to create more just cities.

  • Live and study in four world cities undergoing rapid change and facing unique challenges.
  • Explore how politics, economics, geography, and culture shape social relations and the built environment.
  • Discover how people create a sense of community and urban identity.
  • Conduct fieldwork and complete an independent comparative research project on a topic of your choosing.
  • Live with local homestay families in Argentina, Spain & South Africa.

Questions & Answers


9.5 Rating
based on 2 reviews
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  • Academics 8.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 8.5
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Yes, I recommend this program

Unbelievable paradigmatic shift

I've written a lot elsewhere about my experience with this program, and this box is limited. I will say here that this semester is crafted and procured by well-connected, kind, intelligent, and deeply committed people. This is not a program to travel every weekend or party. It is rigorous, and at many times difficult, rewarding experience; and requires a sacrifice of yourself for a greater common learning experience. You will learn about wrote things about politics, urban planning, anthropology. But you will see what that means for people in the world. You will understand the impact a person can/cannot have--and why. You will be asked to examine every part of yourself, but you do so in the space and comfort of people who share a similar quest for learning.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be humble, be patient, have grace with the group and yourself. Be conscious of your comfort, but surround yourself with people who will push that with you, and who you can push, too. You can learn so much from the people who want to give their time to you. It takes real effort. It will take the most effort when you feel you can't go anymore. Push through, and build community.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The most enriching 4 months of my life

Being on the IHP: Cities in the 21st Century program allowed us to meet so many amazing social organisations, activists, and everyday heroes who were fighting for social justice everyday in their communities! From a famous graffiti artist in Sao Paulo to the current spokesperson for la PAH in Barcelona to a fisherman/activist/program coordinator in Cape Town, these humbling and enriching encounters could have never been possible without the deep networks that IHP has established in diverse local communities over many years. Learning through experiencing and speaking to people on the ground, while being able to live with local host families and see the beautiful landscapes of three other countries has been my most enriching and fulfilling academic and personal experience so far!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
A group of my friends from the program hiked up Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa on the intermediate trial. We surely were not expecting to clamber over rocks on all fours and climb up step ladders built into cliffs, but we saw the most breath-taking views of the city and the ocean - it was the peak (literally) of my experience on IHP!
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