INTC 334: Urban Communication

Spring 2014 (2:40 PM-4:10 PM)


Dr. Daniel Makagon                                                              

Office: 14 E Jackson, 1828 (Temporary: SAC 587)

Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00-2:00PM and by appointment                     

Phone: (312) 362-7979


home page:                    


Course Objectives and Learning Goals


The rise of the metropolis has been one of the most important and engaging stories in the twentieth century and into the new millennium. Great hopes and fears are mapped onto the city. These hopes and fears are reflected in cinematic, photographic, and televisual images of the city; songs about urban life; talk about the metropolis; and cultural practices that take shape in urban neighborhoods. The city is ultimately understood via a complex mix of everyday cultural experiences, intercultural interactions, and engagement with symbols (verbal and mediated). We will pay special attention to relationships between the material (land, labor, and capital) and symbolic features of city life in an effort to more fully understand the city as a site of communication. Further, we will focus on the construction of public spaces that facilitate a more active and engaged public life.


*Students will be able to analyze the symbolic and material features of the city.

*Students will be able to describe a number of social, culture, and political issues that inform urban communication contexts.

*Students will be able to compare and contrast different techniques used to facilitate interaction in urban public spaces.


Required Texts


All course readings are available on-line. Download and print the files from: 


Course Assignments


Class Participation                               10%                 ____(pts.) X .10 = ______


Mid-term Assignment                         30%                 ____(pts.) X .30 = ______


Quizzes                                               30%                 ____(pts.) X .30 = ______


Mapping Project                                  30%                 ____(pts.) X .30 = ______



                                                                                    Final Grade= ____________



You are required to complete the reading assignments before you attend class. This will lead to more fruitful discussion.

Mid-term Assignment


There are two options for the course Mid-term assignment. Choose one.

Designing a Public Space Paper


This assignment asks you to write a 4-6 page paper and to share visual materials/designs that present a case for designing a public space. You will choose a place in the city and either refashion that space or radically redevelop it. The argument for your project should be framed via a literature review of course materials.  (A description of the assignment details and rationale is available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class.)  This paper and accompanying media should be put into a folder with your name on it and then zipped. The project is due May 5th by 2:40PM via D2L Dropbox.


Chinatown Study with Italian Partners


We have an opportunity to partner with students at Universita Cattolica in Milan to study our respective Chinatowns. Students who choose this option will work in mixed-university teams to produce projects focused on a specific aspect of urban life in Chinatown (e.g., local media, tourism, street festivals, zoning and regulation, music, businesses). You will work with your in-class group to conduct studies in Chicago and then will work with your Italian partners virtually via a variety of on-line tools to share what your learned with one another and then create a comparative project that assess urban communication and culture. Students who choose this option will also submit an individual 1-page paper that reflects on meta-level learning (i.e., In addition to learning about Chinatown, what did you learn about yourself, about international issues, and about working in a virtual team with international partners?). (A description of the assignment details and rationale is available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class.) This project is due May 5th by 2:40PM via D2L Dropbox.


All papers must be typed, paginated, double-spaced throughout the entire essay, and use a consistent style (e.g., Chicago, MLA, or APA). Use one-inch margins and 12-point font. Do not send me electronic copies of your mid-term. All mid-term papers will be graded in hard copy. The only reason to email me a paper is to send it as proof that is finished on time if you have some problem with a printer, your absence from class will be unexcused, etc. See the syllabus addendum (available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class) for a description of my grading policies and expectations as well as further details on written assignments.


Visit the Writing Center for assistance with your writing:

The Writing Center has offices on the LPC and Loop campuses, with outposts in the libraries on both campuses.

Final Mapping Project

Each student will map some feature of the city. Your final map can take any form but will ultimately need to be digitized for final submission. All projects will be complemented by a 3-5 page paper that develops an argument about why this feature of the city should be mapped and describe the research and design process. This project is due on June 9th by 2:40PM via D2L Dropbox. Each student will briefly present her or his map on June 4th. (A description of the assignment details and rationale is available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class. Also, check course schedule for additional due dates.)


Pop Quizzes


Quizzes will mix short answer and multiple-choice to allow me to gauge how well you understand the arguments made in the readings. Unlike your papers and class discussion, where I am interested in your opinions about the issues and the strength of the writer’s argument(s), the quizzes are designed for you to state the author’s argument only. In other words, I am not striving to understand what you think about the issues; rather, I am interested in how well you understand the construction of the author’s argument. If we do not understand what s/he’s saying then our critique of her/his work will not be properly grounded. Possible points for each quiz question will be listed after the question (usually 10 or 20 points per question and usually 1-3 questions per quiz for short answer quizzes and usually 10 questions for multiple-choice). Short answers will be graded based on your ability to clearly summarize the author’s argument(s) and use examples from the reading to support your answer(s).


Photography Assignment

Each student will photograph an object in the city, upload the photograph to a course photobucket site, and briefly share the photograph with the class on May 5th. This assignment is worth up to 20 quiz points. A full description of this assignment can be found in the folder where you access course readings.


Course Policies


Promptness is expected as a general rule. If you are consistently late to class your grade will be negatively affected. Leaving before the class ends or arriving more than 5 minutes late to class is considered an absence. If you arrive late to class, but within the first 5 minutes of class, make sure you check with me to confirm that I have not marked you absent on my grade roster. This is your responsibility.


Attendance and Active Participation are expected and required. Participation grades are factored by considering how often you participate in class discussion and how that discussion advances our overall learning (i.e., I will consider how your questions help lead us to a greater understanding of difficult passages, how your contributions further discussion rather than hinder discussion, how your comments foster lively debate, how your participation grows from an engagement with the reading and urban experience rather than functioning to advance an autobiographical tale only). If you miss very few classes and your participation level is excellent, you can expect an “A” for this portion of your grade. If you miss very few classes and your participation level is above average (i.e., you participate during most class sessions rather than every class session), you can expect a “B” for this portion of your grade. If you miss very few classes and your participation level is average (i.e., you contribute sometimes or your contributions don’t elevate our thinking enough), you can expect a “C” for this portion of your grade. If you miss the most possible classes you can miss without failing the class and your participation level is average, you can expect a “D” for this portion of your grade.


You are allowed 1 unexcused absence in this class and 2 absences total if 1 or more of those absences is excused. If you miss more than 2 class sessions, or if you have more than 1 unexcused absence, then you will receive an “F’ for the class (even if the absences are excused). Missing this many class sessions undermines the integrity of the classroom experience. If you miss this much class because of illness or a family emergency, you should meet with the Dean of Students to discuss withdrawal options.


All assignments are due on assigned days and in class. There will be NO MAKE-UPS. Documented illness or documented emergencies are the only exceptions to this policy. Changes in work schedules, personal celebrations (e.g., birthdays), assignments due in other classes, car problems/EL congestion, etc. are NOT considered to be legitimate reasons for missing deadlines or class meetings. If you have an excused absence for a class session when you would turn in an assignment then you can submit the assignment the next date you attend class. (Note: If you will be missing a class because of a religious holiday, let me know in writing at least two weeks before the holiday so we can make arrangements to make up missed work.)


Students with disabilities should provide documentation from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) #370, Student Center, LPC, (773) 325-1677.


Cellular Phones: If you have a cellular phone or pager, turn it off or set it to vibrate, and keep it in your backpack or purse. All cell phones must be put away during the class session. I will confiscate cellular phones for the remainder of the class session if you are sending or reading text messages or using your phone to check email/surf the Internet.


E-mail: I will regularly send e-mail announcements to the class. You need to (1) make sure your preferred email address in Campus Connect is the address you check regularly so messages do not bounce back and (2) make sure my email addresses will pass through your spam filter.




We have often found that plagiarism becomes tempting if students are feeling pressured. Remember, when in doubt quote. If you are quoting someone else in your presentation, you need to clearly identify the information as a quote and the source. Similarly, when paraphrasing, you should clearly identify your source. If you are quoting somebody directly in your paper then you need to list the information within quotation marks and cite a page number. If you are paraphrasing then you need to cite the person and a page number. Never copy and paste entire documents into your paper and do not quote others to the point where your ideas become indistinguishable from your source's ideas. There is no reason to plagiarize given the resources available to you (e.g., opportunities to meet with us; coaches in the writing center; my handout on writing for the class; and DePaul's policy on academic integrity, which can be found at If you do plagiarize, you will automatically receive a grade of "F" in this class. Moreover, the Academic Affairs office will be contacted.


Grade Scale


93-100 A, 90-92 A-, 88-89 B+, 83-87 B, 80-82 B-, 78-79 C+, 73-77 C, 70-72 C-, 60-69 D, 0-59 F

(I do not assign incompletes)