History of Delaware Valley’s Built Environment, c. 1682-2018

10-week course

This course offers participants a historical survey of the Delaware Valley from the colonial period through the early twenty-first century by examining key events and eras (the founding of Philadelphia, the Bank War of the 1830s, or the development of suburbs after WWII, for example) in tandem with various aspects of the region’s built environment (such as the original 1681 Philadelphia street plan, the Second Bank of the United States, or the homes of Levittown, PA, and Willingboro, NJ). Each week, through lecture and discussion, we will focus on a historical period and corresponding examples of the built environment to assess how those examples reflect the sense and sensibilities of the time. In addition, all participants will submit a final research paper based on a period of Delaware Valley history and a corresponding example of the built environment as both object and artifact.

Instructor:  Stephen Nepa (Fall 2018)
Credits: 2 CEUs; 20 AIA LUs

Stephen Nepa is an urban historian. He appears in numerous documentary films, including the Emmy Award-winning series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. He has co-authored several books, including For His Eyes Only: the women of James Bond (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015), A Greene Country Towne: Philadelphia’s ecology in the cultural imagination (Penn State Univ. Press, 2016), and the forthcoming volume Ruin Porn: essays on the obsession with decay (Palgrave Macmillan). He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Nevada and his Ph.D. from Temple University. He lives in Philadelphia.