HAVC 106F: The Built and Social Environments of Las Vegas

University of California, Santa Cruz

Scene from Koyaanisqatsi
Dir. Godfrey Reggio (1983)


Course Description

One of the fastest growing cities in the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s, Las Vegas has primarily relied on a tourist-based economy. As a result, much of what has been written on the city's history has been preoccupied with the development of Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) and its downtown casinos.

The city, however, is a complex mix of communities, civic structures, and commercial enterprises. With this in mind, this course will examine not only the architectural history of the city of Las Vegas and of the Las Vegas Strip, but also the social, political, and economic forces which have contributed to urban growth in the Las Vegas Valley from 1900 to 2000. Using Las Vegas as a case study, students explore United States architectural history and theory, as well as literary and film criticism and the connection between popular media and the identity/image of the city. Students also develop practical skills by participating in a neighborhood redevelopment and planning workshop.

INSTRUCTOR: Mahlon W.L. Chute

Most Recent Course Poster

HAVC106f Poster .pdf file