Cities by Design I

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.
Cities by Design studies urban form. Each semester, \’Cities by Design\’ will examine six cities as case studies in order to expose students to a range of factors that affect the design of contemporary cities in various geographical contexts. The case studies will focus on both the urban condition as a whole by exploring processes of urban evolution, and on the study of urban fragments and projects. Each case study will be comprised of three or four lectures and one discussion section. The Fall Case Studies consists of Barcelona, Boston, Berlin, Shanghai, Quito and Mumbai.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course: (1) to engage students in a comparative study of cities that will 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. Comparative analyses of the urban case studies will be guided by the following eight themes, which will be explored through the lectures, section discussions, and assigned readings:
1. The city\’s genealogy and key historical events, phases of development, and 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 and case studies.
8. The city\’s planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context.

Term grades will be based on attendance and participation in both lectures and section discussions, and three response papers.

Faculty for Fall 2016 to include: Rahul Mehrotra (course coordinator), with Eve Blau, Peter Rowe, Joan Busquets, Alex Krieger, Felipe Correa and Neil Brenner.

Teaching Fellows: Amin Alsaden and Yingying Lu
Teaching Assistant: William Rosenthal

No Prerequisites.