Cities by Design I

“Cities by Design I” is concerned with in-depth longitudinal examination of urban conditions in and among selected cities in the world. The broad aims are: to engage in both 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 Spatial Dynamics and Historic Conservation. “Cities by Design I” is mandatory for all incoming Master of Architecture and 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 seven groups of 3 lectures, covering Boston, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, and Mumbai. Lectures will be pre-recorded, released weekly, and viewable asynchronously. There will be ten live sessions throughout the semester requiring student attendance. These include the introduction at the beginning of the semester, Q&A Sessions for the seven cities, usually at or around the end of the third and final lecture on each city, and two discussion sections around Thursday, 8 October and Tuesday 1 December.