This course surveys recent prominent theories of urban spatial design—ways of reading, understanding and designing urban space—and asks: How did we arrive at our current thinking and understanding about urban design? What works and what doesn’t, and why? The course also provides students the opportunity to design a small public space in as part of the coursework. It is an introductory urban design course for the non-design major.
The objective of this course is to provide urban planning students with a set of basic tools by which they can formally understand, critique, and discuss urban spatial design.
By semester’s end, students in the course will be able to:
1. Identify a variety of urban spatial conditions and reference these against well-known case studies;
2. Intellectually critique urban design within the context of the theories covered; and
3. Speak knowledgeably on what constitutes “good” urban design.
Urban Design, Urban Planning, Spatial Design Theory
|Intercultural skills||Communication skills||Specialist skills||Critical thinking skills||Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
Course lectures present an introduction to the subject theory and practice. All lectures will be annotated in Japanese to convey key concepts to non-native English speakers. Lectures will also be supported with case studies from the U.S. Students are required to submit short written responses on weekly reading assignments.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||Introduction – What is Urban Design?||To learn current urban design challenges and history in USA|
|Class 2||Theories of Urban Spatial Design||To understand three theories of urban design - figure-ground, linkage and place theory|
|Class 3||The City of Monuments||To learn application of historical precedents in urban design|
|Class 4||Urban Utopias – Garden City, Broadacre City and the Functionalist City||To understand history of early 20th century utopian planning|
|Class 5||Post-Modern Reactions – Overview||To understand the response to Modernism in urban design theory and practice|
|Class 6||Critical Regionalism & City of Sweat Equity||To examine post-modern reactions, including participatory design|
|Class 7||The Post-Structuralist City||To understand post modern reactions and repositioning of architecture practice|
|Class 8||Field Trip – Location TBD||To participate in learning experience outside of classroom and observation of ideas from class|
|Class 9||Current Theory I – The Gehl Approach||To learn current theory informing placemaking in the USA and Europe|
|Class 10||Current Theory II – Recombinant Urbanism & Heterotopias||To learn application of theory of "less-design"|
|Class 11||Planning Practicum||To apply ideas learned in class exercise - hopefully with American students|
|Class 12||Planning Practicum||Same as above|
|Class 13||Planning Practicum||Same as above|
|Class 14||Current Theory III – Neotraditionalism||To learn principles of TND and New Urbanism|
|Class 15||Current Theory IV – Green Urbanism and the Sustainable City||To learn recent efforts at green design in the USA|
Gehl, Jan. Cities for People. Washington DC: Island Press, 2010. (ISBN: 159726573X)
Martin, Jonathan. New Urbanism Visual Companion (digital, provided by the professor), 2018.
Trancik, Roger. Finding Lost Space: Theories of Urban Design. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986. ISBN-13: 978-0442283995
Your grade will depend strongly on your class participation (reading responses, in-class discussions, and participation in the joint planning practicum) and completion of the lecture assignment.
Recommended for students in Urban Design and Built Environment Course and Architecture Course, though not excluding those overseas students with other majors. The lecture will be given in English.