Anthropologists have long known that humans are, in many ways, what they build. It’s human nature to invest cultural meaning in both landscape and architecture, and to draw comfort and inspiration from them. Thus, the built environment can either enhance or erode the commitments that people make to the places where they live and, of course, the commitments they make to each other. The more sensitive that urban designers, planners, architects, and developers are to the role that culture plays in how people interact with landscape and built space—especially in today’s increasingly diverse urban communities—the better the chances for building neighborhoods and cities that are environmentally and culturally sustainable.
Intercultural Urbanism explores the territory where culture, public policy, urban design, and built environment intersect. It’s informed by an interdisciplinary and international perspective that integrates anthropology with archaeology, history, geography, sociology, ecology, evolutionary science, art, architecture, literature, communication, business, and other fields. The view is from Denver, Colorado, but the scope is global.
Dean Saitta is the author of Intercultural Urbanism. He also writes for Planetizen and his posts sometimes appear at Sustainable Cities Collective. Dean is Professor of Anthropology, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Urban Studies program at the University of Denver. He lives on a City Beautiful parkway just off Colfax Avenue in Denver. His personal website is at http://portfolio.du.edu/dsaitta. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header Photographs (left to right): Piazza Maggiore, Bologna (D. Saitta); “La Alma de la Mariposa” Mural by Jeremy Ulibarri, Tapiz Apartments, Denver (D. Saitta); Cahokia, ca. AD 1200 (Wikipedia); Idea Store, Whitechapel, London (D. Saitta).