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HISP 471VV: Urban Design

Note: in an effort to decrease paper usage and to make sure information is always up-to-date, this syllabus has been formatted for the web. If you would like a PDF copy formatted for printing, please contact me.

Course Outline

Situated at the intersection of architecture and city planning, urban design is both a process and a practical approach to improve the quality of built environments. Good urban design aspires to shape city form by focusing on the complex relationships between built and unbuilt space and by facilitating the creation of built environments that are both sensitive to context and to people’s needs. As Jonathan Barnett puts it, urban design is about “designing cities without designing buildings”. Urban designers use their rich contextual knowledge about the dynamic nature of city development and their active skills in observing, interpreting, and recording transformations of the built environment in order to support good design at a variety of spatial scales. This course is designed to supplement existing courses that cover history and theory of urban planning and to better prepare students without prior design training for the studio experience.

Required Texts

Bacon, Edmund D. Design of Cities. Penguin: 1976.

Larice, Michael and Macdonald, Elizabeth (Eds.) The Urban Design Reader. Routledge: 2006.

Course Requirements

Graded Course Requirements Due Date Weight
Class Participation All Semester 15%
Midterm Exam Oct 8 (Wed) 20%
Description & Critique Oct 29 (Wed) 15%
In-Class Exercises Nov 5, 12 & 17 15%
Presentation Dec 3 (Wed) 15%
Design Project Dec 9 (Tues) 20%

Course Policies

Course Schedule

 

WEEK 1
8/25 M Course Introduction
8/28 W The Elements of Urban Design
WEEK 2
9/1 M Reading the Built Environment Reading: Design of Cities, pages 13-41
9/3 W Ancient Cities Reading: The Growth of Greek Cities, Design Order of Ancient Rome in Design of Cities
WEEK 3
9/8 M Medieval Patterns Reading: Medieval Design in Design of Cities
9/10 W The Baroque Reading: Upsurge of the Renaissance and Development of Paris in Design of Cities
WEEK 4
9/15 M Utopian Cities Reading: Town Planning in Frontier America, pages 276-290
9/17 W The Picturesque Reading: Pages 182-185 and John Nash and London in Design of Cities
WEEK 5
9/22 M The Progressives Reading: The Neighborhood Unit in The Urban Design Reader
9/24 W Modern Developments Reading: Toward an Urban Design Manifesto in The Urban Design Reader
WEEK 6
9/29 M Total/all-of-a-piece/piece-by-piece/plug-in Design Reading: Urban Design, Chapter 2
10/1 W Community/Public Occupancy Reading: Three Types of Outdoor Activities and Life Between Buildings and Neighborhood Space in The Urban Design Reader
WEEK 7
10/6 M Personal/Defensible Space Reading: TBA
10/8 W Midterm Exam
WEEK 8
10/13 M NO CLASS – FALL BREAK
10/15 W Field Trip – Meet at 2530 Espresso on Princess Anne Street
WEEK 9
10/20 M Case Studies: Streets Reading: Getting Around in The Urban Design Reader
10/22 W Case Studies: Plazas Reading: Introduction/The Life of Plazas/Sitting Space/Sun, Wind, Trees, and Water in The Urban Design Reader
WEEK 10
10/27 M Case Studies: Civic Art & Landscape Reading: The Art of Placemaking, pages 210-237
10/29 W NO CLASS – Description & Critique Due 
WEEK 11
11/3 M Identity (dominance, positive/negative space, static/dynamic, articulated, civic/monumental space)
11/5 W In Class Design Exercise
WEEK 12
11/10 M Composition (axial focus, central focus, family of forms, hierarchical ordering, structure)
11/12 W In Class Design Exercise
WEEK 13
11/17 M Sequences (mystery, unfolding, arrival, succession, transition) In Class Design Exercise
11/19 W Concerns: Placemaking Reading: Principles for Regional Design and Prospects for Places in The Urban Design Reader
WEEK 14
11/24 M Concerns: Public Health Reading: How the Built Environment Affects Physical Activity
11/26 W NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING
WEEK 15
12/1 M Concerns: Sustainability Reading: Green Streets in The Urban Design Reader
12/3 W PRESENTATIONS
WEEK 16
12/9 T DESIGN PROJECT DUE

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