Urban Design in history: Lessons for today
AimThis assignment aims to provide grounding in urban design knowledge from an historical perspective. It concerns cities that were founded by the 15th century at the latest. It should be written under the form of an essay.Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this assignment students should be able to:
Understand a range of urban design concepts derived from historical international study,
Understand the nature of ‘method’ and ‘theory’ in urban design,
Understand substantive domains of urban design.
Communicate understanding of the above.
Assignment OverviewCities are large complex dynamic systems, with more than physical attributes, and they are shaped over time by natural and created forces. They also shape their own future through interventions. Cities grow and decline influenced by factors both within and outside of their control. These systems can be large across domains of social, environmental, cultural, economic, technological and political forces. Cities are always a work in progress.
While recognizing that there can be no all encompassing theory of the city because of complexity, a selective interdisciplinary study of key aspects of historical cities and understandings about them may provide overviews of the multiple practices and forces to underpin urban design theories. These understandings and theories in turn may be transferable in new circumstances. Understanding relationships between history, theory and methods in urban design may similarly inform the multi-layered meshwork of contemporary cities.
This assignment provides the opportunity for you to select an aspect of cities in history that interests you from those listed below.
Analyze and critique the history of planning/urban design in a particular historical city of your choice in terms of ideas/theories/principles/lessons that are transferable to contemporary cities.
Prepare an in-depth critique of three significant planning/urban design events in the life of a particular historical city of your choice.
Compare and discuss a specific urban design element across several historical cities (at least three) such as public spaces, neighborhood, ethnic districts, parks, circulation systems, and urban morphology.
Cities (Select 1 city for topic 1 or 2; select 3 cities for topic 3)
Europe: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brighton (UK), Ghent (Belgium), Helsinki (Finland), Lyon (France), Madrid (Spain), Munich (Germany), Nantes (France), Porto (Portugal), Stockholm (Sweden)
Africa: Alexandria (Egypt), Algiers (Algeria), Cairo (Egypt), Casablanca (Morocco), Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Rabat (Morocco), Tripoli (Lybia), Tunis (Tunisia)
Asia: Baghdad (Iraq), Changsha (China), Guangzhou (China), Hanoi (Vietnam), Kyoto (Japan), Mumbai (India), Peking (China), Semarang (Indonesia), Seoul (Korea), Tokyo (Japan)
Background Readings and Sample of previous students’ work: see Course contentQ&A:see Course content & Discussion BoardSubmission Requirements
This assignment must be certified as original work of the individual student. However, in preparation and development of their assignment students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with colleagues and course convenor.
The submission must directly address the questions being posed and should be of between 1500 and 2000 words, excluding illustrations, references and bibliography. Accompanying graphic material / illustrations are expected.
Reference style is Harvard with a reference list and images/ figures to be referenced in the caption and in the reference list.
Assessment Guidelines for Success:
Provide a concise introduction and conclusion each of approximately 150-200 words.
Arrange the substantive content logically, possibly but not mandatory with sub-headings.
Write clearly and avoid long sentences and imprecise statements.
Ensure that ideas/quotations that are derived from other sources are correctly referenced.
Ensure illustrations are relevant and are located in ‘flow’ with the text. Title and reference all illustrations
Understand the substantive domains of research and its writing expression: sources, referencing, argument.
Understand the nature of ‘concept’, ‘method’ and ‘theory’ in urban design,
Competently communicate: clarity, structure, illustrations, style
Note: This assignment is inspired by and partly derived from the ‘History of Urban Planning and Design’ course at University of California, Berkele
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