CCT335: Proposal and Essay
Assigned: Jan. 25th
Proposal due: Feb. 15th (10% of grade)
Essay due: March 29th (30% of grade)

The term paper makes up a substantial portion of your grade for this course. You are required to submit a proposal (10%) outlining your chosen topic by Feb. 15, and to submit your essay (30%) by March 29th. Your proposal should be no more than 1 typed, single-spaced page. The essay will be 8-10 pages of text, double-spaced (2500-3000 words).

Your choice of essay topic is fairly open-ended. You may choose from any of the weekly lectures a topic you find interesting and would like to investigate further. You will be expected to draw from the readings and lecture material from that particular week, as well as to do further readings and research in your chosen area. Some questions to consider when choosing a topic: How do technologies mediate our experience of the city? How do they alter the way we move through and interact with the city? What role do technologies play in urban form and function? What is the role of technology socially, culturally or politically?


Proposal – A single page, typed, single-spaced proposal (approx. 500 words) is due on Feb. 15th. In the proposal you must clearly introduce your chosen topic, identify your thesis or research statement/question, and provide a brief outline of the structure of your paper. It is important that your proposal contains a clear and well-developed description of your area of interest so that we can provide suggestions or reading recommendations to help you with your research.

Essay – The essay must be 8-10 pages of double spaced text (2500 words – 3000 words), images or graphs/tables will not be included in the page count, but can be appended to the end of your document. Please do not exceed the word count. The essay will be due at the end of the term, to be submitted at the last class on March 29th. Your essay will be graded on overall clarity, structure of argumentation, and engagement with the lecture material and weekly readings. You are expected to consult other relevant academic literature related to your chosen topic. There is no required number of academic references, though a well-researched paper will have 5 – 10 references from peer-reviewed journals. You may also cite popular news and journal articles in your paper, although it should be noted that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.

A good paper will have a thoughtful and critical engagement with the relevant literature, be clear, concise, and well organized and argued, and demonstrate that the chosen topic has been carefully considered. Please feel free to talk to us about your interests, we are here to help you work through your ideas and can assist with suggesting further readings.

Possible Topics – below some possible research topics are listed to get you thinking about what you might like to write about.

- How has modernist, technocratic planning impacted the shape of our cities? What is the critique of this planning vision?
- How have technologies (the automobile, the cell phone) altered our experience of the city? How have they altered our spatial practice?
- How has a particular technology or infrastructural element altered the development, character and politics within a city? (e.g. a study of the Los Angeles aqueduct and the repercussions it has had on the Greater Los Angles Area)
- The internet has been said to be a democratizing force. What role do new technologies play politically? Is internet organizing and activism effective, or just ‘slacktivism’?
- How do technologies impact the public spaces of our city? If we have seen a decline in the notion of physical public space, is cyberspace the new public space?
- What role do technologies play in governance? How do new security and surveillance technologies impact public and private life?
- Our increasing integration with new and emerging technologies is a process of ‘cyborgification’. What are the social/cultural/psychic implications of this process?
- Critical readings on the interface between technology and urbanism in film, literature or gaming.

Evaluation: Essay rubric

Submissions: Submissions for the proposals and essays will be handled via email. If your last name falls between A-La you will be submitting to Matthew – and ifyour last name falls between Le-Z you will be submitting to Greg –
  • Acceptable submission formats: .doc (preferred), .docx, .rtf – ensure your name is in the title of the file.
  • Do not include a cover page with your proposal, submit only one page, with your name and student number at the top of the page.
  • Proposals are due at 12PM on February 15th and will be penalized 3% per day that they are late. Essays are due at the same time on March 29th, and the same late penalties will be applied.