Histories and Theories of Urban Form and Design

This course provides an introduction to the critical histories and theories of urban intervention and formation, and to the disciplinary practices of urban design in relation to planning and the broader technological, institutional, economic, social and political contexts in which they operate over time and across cultures and geographies. Beginning in the mid 19th century, the course uses historical and theoretical readings and case studies of specific projects (built and unbuilt) to ground theoretical ideas, modes and models of practice in the material and discursive contexts in which those ideas and practices have emerged and operated since the beginning of captialist urbanization to the present day. The emphasis is on plural histories and plural readings of the processes of urban formation through multiple theoretical and critical lenses. We will focus on key episodes of transformation and paradigm-shift that allow us to explore a range of critical frameworks and methodologies for understanding emerging conditions of the contemporary urban historically, theoretically, and spatially across scales, and to situate the processes, debates, and projects that have shaped urban environments in larger discourses that foreground issues of social equity and identity, power, privilege, race, and gender. It connects the historical narrative to contemporary transformations and to the challenges presented by emergent urban problems, crises, and struggles across places, territories and scales.

Topics include: industrialization and capitalist urbanization: regulating the capitalist city; Garden City; Planned Metropolis; Parks Movement and City Beautiful; the Modernist City; Chicago School; the racialization of space, exclusionary zoning, redlining + suburbanization; regionalism; the Socialist City; CIAM in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Latin America; urban renewal, Civil Rights and the struggle for the city; advocacy planning + design in the US; the emergence of urban design as bridge-practice; postindustrial city; privatization, market rationalism + the withdrawal of the state; critiques of modernist urbanism; the semantic dimension of urban form + space; typomorphology + collage; landscape + ecological methodologies; preservation + alteration; New Urbanism; justice planning; the contradictions of informality; seeing from the South; design and planning for climate change; reparative planning and design.

First year Urban Design students have prioritized early enrollment in 4151 and 4496. The Histories and Theories of Urban Design lottery (HTUD lottery) will open on Tuesday, January 10 at 9 AM and close on Friday, January 13, at 9 AM. First Year UD students must submit selections by the deadline to ensure enrollment via this lottery.