Cities by Design I

“Cities by Design I” is concerned with the in-depth longitudinal examination of urban conditions in and among selected cities in the world. The broad aims are: to engage in comparative study for the purpose of broadening definitions of what it is to be urban; to identify characteristics that render particular cities distinct; to understand the manner in which geography, locational circumstances, and related infrastructural improvements both constrain and promote opportunities for city development; and to gain insight into the role of human agencies, planning institutions, and design cultures in shaping cities and their role in broader regions. 

In Fall 2020, the cities under examination are: Boston, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, and Mumbai. Each will be the subject of three lectures, and a live Q&A discussion session with the speaker after the third and final lecture on each city. In addition to the city-based lectures, broader comparative frameworks will be provided by two lectures on Metropolitan Dynamics and Historic Conservation.

“Cities by Design I” is mandatory for and limited to all incoming Master of Architecture or Landscape Architecture in Urban Design students. Grading in this fall semester will be based on performance in discussions sessions, general class participation, and the mid-term and final papers.

In Fall 2020, Cities by Design I will consist of 24 sessions. Session 1 is an introduction, while sessions 14 and 15 are lectures on Metropolitan Dynamics and Historical Conservation. The rest are 7 groups of 3 lectures, covering Boston, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Shanghai Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro.

Lectures will either be pre-recorded or recorded live – and can be viewed asynchronously. There will be nine live sessions throughout the semester, requiring student attendance. These include Q&A Sessions for the seven cities, usually at the end of the third lecture, and two Discussion Sessions, after session 13 and 24. Specific timing will be adjusted to timezones.