HISP 471: Urban Design

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Course Outline

Situated at the intersection of architecture and city planning, urban design is both a process and a practical approach to improve the quality of built environments. Good urban design aspires to shape city form by focusing on the complex relationships between built and unbuilt space and by facilitating the creation of built environments that are both sensitive to context and to people’s needs. As Jonathan Barnett puts it, urban design is about “designing cities without designing buildings”. Urban designers use their rich contextual knowledge about the dynamic nature of city development and their active skills in observing, interpreting, and recording transformations of the built environment in order to support good design at a variety of spatial scales. This course is designed to supplement existing courses that cover history and theory of urban planning and to better prepare students without prior design training for the studio experience.

Required Texts

Bacon, Edmund D. Design of Cities. Penguin: 1976.

Larice, Michael and Macdonald, Elizabeth (Eds.) The Urban Design Reader. Routledge: 2006.

Course Requirements

Graded Course Requirements Due Date Weight
Class Participation All Semester 15%
Midterm Exam Oct 8 (Wed) 20%
Description & Critique Oct 29 (Wed) 15%
In-Class Exercises Nov 5, 12 & 17 15%
Presentation Dec 3 (Wed) 15%
Design Project Dec 9 (Tues) 20%

Course Policies

Course Schedule


8/25 M Course Introduction
8/28 W The Elements of Urban Design
8/31 Etc.