Cities are cultural objects par excellence. They are among the largest and most complex entities and structures humankind has produced. Over successive generations and centuries cities have been artifacts of both accident and human design. The city is an engine of production, a magnet for capital, a magnifier and transmitter of cultural ideas, and a concentration of diverse ways of being and living. This course will raise the question of what it means to live in urban space, examining both the imaginative possibilities and the elemental challenges that living in such an environment affords. Drawing both on a social history of urban forms (from the ancient city to the megalopolis) as well as a thematic examination of world-class cities such as New York, London, Paris, and Berlin, this course will delve into the power of cities, their cultural meaning and creative force.