SOC-220 Urban Sociology

Dr. Tricarico, PhD

Room 121/Medical Arts
(718) 631-6015 -6015

Course Overview

More than three-quarters of the population of the United States lives in urban areas, which includes suburbs as well as towns and cities. This course will examine the social structure and culture of the city. It will also examine the economic and political forces, and related systems of transportation, that shape the city as part of wider socio-spatial systems (i.e., the metropolitan region, the nation, the global economy).

New York City and its metropolitan area will be the focus of the course, allowing us to examine significant urban developments in our own backyard. The current crisis precipitated by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers occasions an "extraordinary" perspective on contemporary urban life.

This course has been developed with National Science Foundation funding support. In accordance with grant objectives, teaching methods will incorporate Internet resources available through the Social Sciences Department's computer lab. Students will also conduct Internet research during class lab time (e.g., identifying relevant web sites and information).

Nevertheless, teaching methods will be eclectic. The Internet will be used to complement lectures, open discussion, oral presentations, and small group work. If logistical issues can be worked our, instruction will be relocated to urban "sites" (e.g., public spaces like sidewalks or bus stops). There is some excellent video available, especially episodes 6 and 7 of the PBS documentary, New York.


  • How Cities Work, Alex Marshall
  • The Italians of Greenwich Village, Donald Tricarico
  • The Culture of Cities, Sharon Zukin

Other reading material will be placed on library reserve or distributed by the instructor. The printed article: "Read All About It!" and "Guido: The fashioning of an Italian American Youth" are now available online. Click the link above to read the article in Adobe Acrobat format.

Also available online from "The Italians of Greenwich Village" the chapter entitled: "The South Village in Transistion" in Adobe Acrobat format.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the pdf file. Download it free.

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Course Grade

Students are required to submit 5 research reports by assigned deadlines. Reports are based on projects that are linked to the course syllabus (topics to be announced). Each report carries a maximum of 15 points (on a scale of 100) toward your final grade. The remaining 25 points are reserved for class participation, including presentations of your research findings, contributions to open class discussion and Internet lab research. Assessment is based on the college grading schedule (see catalogue or Student Handbook).


The University allows students up t 6 class hours of absence for a 3 credit course. Since this class meets twice a week, you are allowed to miss 4 meetings.

Arriving Late/Leaving Early

Students are asked to be on time and on task until the end of the period. This is more than a courtesy to others, it is a prerequisite for productive work in the course. Failure to comply with this request will warrant a conference. Repeated noncompliance will result in a 10 point deduction from your course grade.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC)Opens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

Using the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art GalleryOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.