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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Transformation of Environment and Change in Regions and Urban Aria
- Sociology of Urban Areas & Disaster -

Ms. Yuka Watanabe
3rd Year Student at the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II (Evening Division)

My interest in urban development, urban areas, and the environment led me to enroll in the "Transformation of Environment and Change in Regions and Urban Aria" course instructed by Professor Masaki Urano of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences. As the course progressed, I realized that my knowledge only scratched the surface of the words "urban development", "urban areas", and "environment". Although I live in an urban area, I did not even understand the concept of an "urban areas". I had an endless series of doubts regarding what constitutes an urban area. Is it an area where a large number of people live? An area with rows of skyscrapers? Or a place where a variety of races co-exist?

Urban areas are more complicated than what I had imagined.

Within the field of sociology, many debates have been held regarding the question of "what is an urban area?" Many researchers have struggled to create a definition of "urban areas". A study of the process of urbanization is also a simultaneous study of various urban problems. Problems such as crime, pollution, the environment, and natural disasters cannot be separated from "urban areas". There are many cases in which all of society thought it was good to develop an urban area, only to lead to social problems afterwards. For this reason, a variety of skills are required in urban planning, and it is also important to employ a sociological perspective by considering factors such as environmental issues and pollution issues.

We must study examples of past urban planning and consider the situation which will arise as a result of new planning. As a result of enrolling in this course, I now believe that feelings such as "I want to develop this town" or "I want to do something for the environment" are not a sufficient basis for taking action.

Also, in Professor Urano's course, students use "Course N@vi" to submit comments regarding the course. These comments are released for all students to see, making it possible to refer to the impressions of other students.

Due to the complicated trends that exist in social change, I try my best to concentrate when listening to the explanations in class. This course offers a very dense one and a half hours for students who are interested in topics such as regional sociology and sociology dealing with the impact of natural disasters.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)