UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ARCT5587 Urban Design

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Not available in 2017UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content The form and nature of the city has emerged as perhaps the most problematic and significant issue confronting contemporary architecture. This unit serves as a vehicle for the understanding of cities as they have been traditionally constituted and of their modes of transformation. This approach is antithetical to both conventional statistical and quantitative analysis typical of statutory planning procedures, and the codification of heritage and policing of the permissible visual environment typical of contemporary 'urban design'. To the degree that urban design is concerned with the quality of urban places, a central focus is, almost axiomatically, the public domain. However, the qualities of urbanity are complexly related, interdependent and interact at every scale. At the same time urban environments are undergoing a transformation which is rendering questionable the traditional understandings of civic hierarchies, centre and periphery, and the very notions of privacy and publicity, the collective and the domestic. In this context, the postmodern de-territorialisation of the city requires a reinterpretation of the urban landscape that goes beyond the traditional focus on the public domain to confront the issues associated with metropolitan structure. These issues are tackled through three major unit components. Studies of comparative urbanism seek to draw out recurrent urban themes and assess the influence of history, economics and culture on urban form and the structure and use of public space and the urban landscape. A series of readings, student presentations and seminars are aimed at critically interrogating different ideological readings of urbanism in order to develop a theoretical base for urban 'readings' and intervention. A critical assessment of a range of urban spaces, drawing on the studies of comparative urbanism, attempts to critically evaluate 'why some spaces work'. The unit involves a weekly lecture followed by a workshop session. In the first part of the unit the workshops focus on exploring the literature; in the following part they involve case study analysis; and in the final part, urban design project work.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) demonstrate a critical understanding of theoretical interpretations of the historical and contemporary city and (2) develop analytical/critical skills of urban analysis.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) literature review presentation (10 per cent); (2) 2500-word literature review paper (45 per cent); and (3) 2500-word case study analysis paper (45 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Patric de Villiers
Contact hours 36 (lectures/seminars: 12 x 3 hours per week)
Note Enrolled students can access unit material via the LMS (Learning Management System).

Copies of the notes for the early lectures are available.


Becker, A. and Schmal, P. C. eds Urban Green: European Landscape Design for the 21st Century: Birkhauser Basel 2010

Brenner, N. et al. eds Cities for People, Not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory and the Right to the City: Routledge 2012

Calvino, I. Invisible Cities: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1978

Charlesworth, E. and Adams, R.  eds The EcoEdge: Urgent Design Challenges in Building Sustainable Cities: Routledge 2011

Chen, X. et al. Introduction to Cities: How Place and Space Shape Human Experience: Wiley-Blackwell 2013

Cuff, D. and Sherman, R. eds Fast-forward Urbanism: Rethinking Architecture's Engagement with the City: Architectural Press 2011

Flint, J. and Roco, M. eds The Future of Sustainable Cities: Critical Reflections: Bristol Policy Press 2012

Gatje, R. F. Great Public Squares: An Architect's Selection, 1st edn: Norton & Co. 2010

Jenks, M. et al. eds World Cities and Urban Form: Fragmented, Polycentric, Sustainable: Routledge 2008

Knox, P. L. Cities and Design: Routledge 2011

Krieger, A. and Saunders, W. S. eds Urban Design: University of Minnesota Press 2008

LeGates, R. T. and Stout, F. eds The City Reader, 5th edn: Routledge 2011

Lehmann, S. The Principles of Green Urbanism: Transforming the City for Sustainability, 1st edn: Earthscan 2010

Moor, M. and Rowland, J. eds Urban Design Futures: Routledge 2006

Van der Ley, S. and Richter, M. Megastructure Reloaded: Hatje Cantz Ostfildern 2008

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