Cities by Design I

Cities by Design studies urban form. This semester, five cities -Mexico City, Barcelona, Shanghai, Rome, and Detroit- will serve as case studies in order to explore a diverse range of factors affecting the design and evolution of contemporary urban environments. Consisting of four lectures and one discussion section, each case study will address the urban formation as a whole and as a collection of constituent fragments and projects.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course: (1) to engage students in a comparative study of cities in order to broaden their definition of the ‘urban’, and (2) to build the historical framework within which they will identify the urban characteristics and design strategies that render particular cities distinct.

The case studies will be guided by the following eight themes:

1. The city\’s genealogy and key historical events, phases of development & patterns of growth.
2. The ways in which the terrain, geography, and infrastructural development constrain and present opportunities for the city\’s development and ambitions.
3. The city\’s planning and design culture and decision-making institutions.
4. The challenges that social equity present to planning and design in the city.
5. The orchestration of the city\’s relationship to the broader region.
6. How the particular city contributes to a definition of the \’urban\’ condition.
7. The framing and design of key urban projects/case studies.
8. The city\’s planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions, etc. that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context.
Term grades will be based on 3 response papers, as well as participation in lectures and section discussions.
The year-long ‘Cities by Design’ course is mandatory for all incoming Masters of Urban Design Students. All other students are welcome to enroll in the course by semester, and need not do so in sequence.

No Prerequisites.