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 Introduction to Urban Design and Development  posted by  duggu   on 2/2/2008  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Frenchman, Dennis, and Francisca Rojas, 11.301J Introduction to Urban Design and Development, Fall 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 08 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

A public park in Boston.

An image of Post Office Square in Boston. (Image courtesy of Francisca Rojas.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete list of readings and assignments.

Course Description

This course examines both the structure of cities and ways they can be changed. Its scope includes historical forces that have produced cities, models of urban analysis, contemporary theories of urban design, and implementation strategies. Core lectures are supplemented by discussion sessions focusing on student work and field trips. Guest speakers present cases involving current projects illustrating the scope and methods of urban design practice.



Course Description

This subject introduces graduate students to ideas about the form of cities and how they are designed and developed. The subject is organized into two parts:

Part 1 explores the Forces which act to shape and to change cities. Starting with Boston and the American city as a reference, we will examine key forces affecting contemporary urban development, including the market, social forces, public development, regulation of private development, and incentives to encourage good design. Finally we will consider how cities define a vision for their future and how these are articulated in plans and proposals. Lectures will be supplemented by guest presentations, case studies and field trips.

Part 2 surveys Models of urban design which have been invented in response to forces acting on cities. We will discuss the evolution of each model and its current impact on design and development in cities worldwide, located in Great Britain, Italy, China, and elsewhere. Included are notions about the Traditional City, the City as a Work of Art, the Efficient City, the Garden City, the Secure City, the Information City, and the Virtual City. The application of each model will be illustrated in case studies and guest presentations.

Course Requirements

Work for the class will include readings, class participation, and two papers, related to the two units of the course. Students will also be required to keep a simple journal reflecting on the readings. Readings provide a context for class lectures and are also intended to expose students to the ideas of key urban design theorists on the topics presented. Please complete all required readings in advance of each class.


Activities Percentages
Two Papers and Journal 75%
Participation in Class, Sections, and Field Trips 25%


1 Introduction  
Part 1: Forces Affecting Urban Development
2 Viewpoints on the City Assignment 1 out
3 The Forces that Made Boston  
4 Walking Tour of Boston  
5 The Market  

Case Study: Boston's West End

Guest: James Campano, Editor, The West Ender

Identify place for Assignment 1
7 Social Forces  
8 The Public Will  
9 The Public Wish  

Case Study: Shaping Private Development / The Case Of Smart Growth

Guest: Prof. Terry Szold, Principal, Community Planning Solutions

11 Discussion Session (In Sections)  
12 Public / Private Partnerships  
13 Field Visit: Boston Redevelopment Authority  
14 Visions  

Walking Tour of Providence / Waterfire

Guide: Barnaby Evans, Creator / Producer of Waterfire

16 Discussion of Assignment 1 (In Sections) Assignment 1 due
Part 2: Models of Urban Design and Development
17 The Traditional City Assignment 2 out
18 The City as a Work of Art  

Case Study: Tradition and Invention in City Design / The Case of San Diego

Guest: Adele Naude Santos, Dean, School of Architecture and Planning


Case Study: The Political Art of Capital Cities

Guest: Larry Vale, Head, MIT DUSP

21 The Efficient City  

Case Study: Globalizing Cities

Guest: Yung Ho Chang, Head, MIT Department of Architecture

23 Urban Nature  
24 Discussion Session (In Sections)  

Case Study: The End of the Suburbia?

Guest: Prof. Robert Fishman, University of Michigan, Historian and Critic

26 The Secure City  
27 The Information City  

The Virtual City

Guest: Prof. William Mitchell, MIT Design Lab

29 Debating the Models  
30 The Good City Assignment 2 due
31 Wrap-up   Tell A Friend