Are you a city person?
"People that live in cities, or that are interested in cities, enjoy them in a particular way," said Mike Powe, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington.
Powe leads a graduate seminar at the University of Washington that explores facets of urban life, but you don't have to be a student -- or even a city dweller -- to take part.
The University of Washington is hosting Now Urbanism, a nine-month-long conversation on the state of modern urban development as a part of their 2010-2011 Sawyer Seminar Series.
Now Urbanism is dedicated to the idea that urbanism is more than sidewalks and skyscrapers.
"I think 'urban,' as a way of looking at the world, is appreciating diversity, appreciating the anonymity that cities provide in all their size and complexity," Powe said.
Now Urbanism events are open to all. They're free and run through May.
The series kicked off January 13 with a seminar titled, "Informal Urbanism: Slum Cities and Global Health." Speakers included Celine D'Cruz of Slum Dwellers International and Melanie Walker of the Gates Foundation.
D'Cruz spoke at length about her work in India empowering pavement dwellers, the inhabitants of city streets considered the lowest of the urban poor. Walker, of the Gates Foundation, surveyed the different types of city relationships: community based organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and national and regional governments.
Now Urbanism features prominently in the UW Office of Provost's Next City initiative, which spotlights challenges and opportunities of urbanization in the twenty-first century.
"The object of the Sawyer series is to try to come up with solutions and ways forward for cities in the twenty-first century," Powe said, "to bring the public, professionals living in Seattle or the surrounding cities, and folks from across the university who otherwise wouldn't interact."
The next event in the series, "Transcultural Urbanism: Immigrants in the City," will be held at 6:30 p.m. February 11 in Kane Hall room 120 on the University of Washington campus. Speaking that night are Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, the associate dean of the school of public affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles; Michael Rios from the University of California, Davis; and Arijit Sen from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
For more information and a schedule of events, see www.nowurbanism.org.