Do cities have seasons? Yes and no. All of us living in temperate climate zones in European and North American cities know that urban life changes throughout the year. Curiously, if one looks for scholarship on urban seasons, one finds next to no literature on this topic. So from the perspective of urban scholarship, cities do not appear to have seasons. Why is there such a discrepancy between our urban experience and urban research? This proposed project seeks to overcome this discrepancy by examining the empirical and conceptual impact of seasons on the planning of and daily practices in cities in the temperate zones of the Western hemisphere from two distinct vintage points – the turn of the 20th and the turn of the 21st century – in order to trace the continuities and changes in urban engagements with seasonal variation.
Our projects seek to provide a new empirically and conceptual foundations to offer a more sustained study of seasons within urban studies. We hope to make our research relevant for a broad range of academic disciplines within urban studies (history, geography, ecology, ethnology, sociology, STS, and cultural studies), but also potentially for those practioners (architects, planners, landscape architects, policy makers) interested in the historical background of current attitudes towards urban seasonalities and their application in the areas of recreation, housing, and ecology in metropolitan settings. Moreover, we hope to reach outside the academy by also presenting our work to a more general audience whose urban living experience is shaped by seasonal changes.
PI Prof. Dr. Dorothee Brantz
Dr. Avi Sharma