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My teaching aims to encourage students of urban design, urban planning, and architecture to observe and interpret complex urban dynamics, from the nuances of neighborhoods to the spatial signifiers of inequality.

My classes combine New York City history; the theory, method, and technology of film and video; and the complex history of architecture’s encounter with global poverty and social housing over the past century.

I believe strongly that the built environment and social experience of cities are analytically inextricable, and my teaching seeks to equip students with a comprehensive and hands-on set of intellectual and representational tools to probe the interface of the social and physical.

A wide range of experiences informs my approach to teaching. These include the formal education I have enjoyed in filmmaking, urban geography, and urban planning as well as the ongoing relationships I have maintained with my students and with my mentors, each one an exceptional teacher.


+ Reading New York Urbanisms, required course for the Master of Architecture in Urban Design program at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)

+ Storytelling as / in / for Citymaking, a seminar for graduate students of graphic design and industrial design in the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago

+ Informal Urbanisms, an interdisciplinary elective at Columbia GSAPP that excavates a series of episodes in the complex history of architecture and planning’s encounter with conditions of extreme poverty

+ Narrative Urbanism, an interdisciplinary elective at Columbia GSAPP that focuses on developing qualitative tools of analysis and representation, informed by a deep dive into the history of mutual influence between documentary media and urban discourse over the past century

+ Montage City, a Visual Studies workshop at Columbia GSAPP to encourage students of architecture to engage with the collection and arrangement of moving images as an exercise in interpreting the existing conditions of urban space. Read more about the first iteration of this course on Urban Omnibus here

+ Video as Site Analysis, a required three week intensive workshop as part of the core studio of the MSc in City Design & Social Science at The Cities Programme of the London School of Economics

S | Q Projects      ︎  ︎  ︎      Cassim Shepard