Part 1: What is Urban Design and Development? - Translating Values into Design


Questions of the day: What is urban design? What is urban development? How are they connected and how do they affect our lives?


Ways of Seeing the City

Questions of the day: What are the visible signs of change in cities? How can we measure the form of cities? How do the underlying values of the observer influence what is observed?

Buy at Amazon Clay, Grady. "Epitome Districts." In Close-Up: How to Read the American City. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 38-65. ISBN: 0226109453.

Buy at Amazon Jacobs, Allan. "Clues," and "Seeing Change." In Looking At Cities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985, pp. 30-83 and 99-107. ISBN: 0674538919.

Buy at Amazon Stilgoe, John. "Beginnings," and "Endings." In Outside Lies Magic. New York, NY: Walker and Co., 1998, pp. 1-19 and 179-187. ISBN: 0802713408.

Part 2: The American City - The Forces That Shape Our Cities

The Forces That Made Boston

Questions of the day: What does the history of Boston's development tell us about the issues facing the city today? Are these forces common to all cities?

Krieger, Alex. "Past Futures: Boston - Visionary Plans and Practical Visions." Places 5, no. 3 (1989): 56-71.

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1960, pp. 1-25. ISBN: 9780262620017.

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Seasholes, Nancy S. "Back Bay and South End." In Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003, pp. 152-209. ISBN: 9780262194945.


Walking Tour of Boston

Meet at the Government Center T-Stop (outside in front of the City Hall) at 8:00 am. For those students who can't join the tour until 10:30 - we will be in the Skywalk of the Prudential Center Tower (800 Boylston Street between Exeter and Gloucester Streets) at approximately 10:30 am. We will end the tour at noon at South Station Quincy Market where you can have lunch and/or catch a train back to MIT.

Buy at Amazon Whitehill, Walter Muir, and Lawrence W. Kennedy. Boston: A Topographical History. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959, Revised in 1968 and in 2000. ISBN: 0674002687.

Campbell, Robert. "After the Big Dig, the Big Question: Where's the Vision?" Boston Globe, May 26, 2002.

———. "Beyond the Big Dig National Panel Recommendations." Boston Globe, May 30, 2002.

Review's "Beyond the Big Dig" prior to the walking tour.


The Design of American Cities

Questions of the day: What can you tell about a city's origins from its founders? What is the difference between agrarian settlements and industrial cities? What happened to cities as America industrialized?

Buy at Amazon Morris, Anthony E. J. "Urban USA." In History of Urban Form. London, UK: George Godwin, 1979, pp. 254-289. ISBN: 0711455120.

Buy at Amazon Chudacoff, Howard P., and Judith E. Smith. "Urban America in the Colonial Age, 1600-1776." In The Evolution of American Urban Society. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981, pp. 1-35. ISBN: 0132936054.


The Industrial City and Its Critics

Questions of the day: What were nineteenth century and early twentieth century housing and workplace reformers trying to reform? Do we still have company towns?

Buy at Amazon Hall, Peter. "The City of Dreadful Night." In Cities of Tomorrow. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1988, pp. 14-46. ISBN: 0631134441.

Buy at Amazon Crawford, Margaret. "Textile Landscapes: 1790-1850," and "The Company Town in an Era of Industrial Expansion." In Building the Workingman's Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns. New York, NY: Verso, 1995, pp. 11-45. ISBN: 0860916952.

In-class video: Excerpt from The Workplace, on Lowell, Massachusetts and Pullman, Illinois.


Development Controls Part I: The Institutionalization of Planning and Zoning

Question of the day: Can we design cities without designing buildings? How can zoning and other design controls improve our public space?

Buy at Amazon Lewis, Roger K. "The Powers and Pitfalls of Zoning," and "From Zoning to Master Planning... and Back." In Shaping the City. Washington, DC: AIA Press, 1987, pp. 274-281. ISBN: 0913962880.

Buy at Amazon Barnett, Jonathan. "Zoning, Mapping, and Urban Renewal As Urban Design Techniques," and "Designing Cities Without Designing Buildings." In An Introduction to Urban Design. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1982, pp. 57- 97. ISBN: 0064301141.

"Citizen's Guide to Zoning for Boston." Boston, MA: Boston Redevelopment Authority, pp. 1-24.

Buy at Amazon Babcock, Richard. "The Stage - Historical and Current," and "The Purpose of Zoning." In The Zoning Game. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966, pp. 3-18 and 115-125. ISBN: 0299040941.


Development Controls Part II: Beyond Zoning: Urban Design Guidelines, Design Review and Development Incentives

Questions of the day: What is the relationship between development incentives and quality public space? Can urban design guidelines and design review ensure good urban design? What are the newest development controls used by planners?

Buy at Amazon Whyte, William H. "The Rise and Fall of Incentive Zoning." In City: Rediscovering the Center. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1988, pp. 229-55. ISBN: 0385054580.

Buy at Amazon Scheer, Brenda Case. "Introduction: The Debate on Design Review." In Design Review: Challenging Urban Aesthetic Control. Edited by Brenda Case Scheer and Wolfgang F. E. Preiser. New York, NY: Chapman & Hall, 1994, pp. 1-10. ISBN: 0412991616.

Jaffe, Martin. "Performance Zoning - A Reassessment." Land Use Law and Zoning Digest 45, no. 3 (1993): 3-9.

In-class video: Whyte, William H. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, selections. VHS. New York, NY: Municipal Society of Art, 1984.

Part 3: Changing Cities by Designing New Ones

Three Urban Utopias: - Ebenezer Howard's Garden City - Le Corbusier's Radiant City - Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City

Questions of the day: What assumptions does each thinker make about how people should live in cities? What beliefs does each hold about the relationship between city design and social change? What aspects of these "utopias" have actually come to pass?

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Howard, Ebenezer. "Introduction," and "The Town-Country Magnet." In Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965, pp. 41-57. ISBN: 9780262580021.

Buy at Amazon Wright, Frank Lloyd. "Broadacre City." In Truth Against the World: Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks for an Organic Architecture. New York, NY: Wiley and Sons, 1987, pp. 351-361. ISBN: 0471845094.

Buy at Amazon Corbusier, Le. The City of To-morrow and Its Planning. New York, NY: Dover, 1987, pp. 232-247 and 275-288. ISBN: 0486253325.


New Towns in the United States and Abroad

Question of the day: What motivates planners to design new towns?

Buy at Amazon Stein, Clarence. "Radburn, New Jersey." In Toward New Towns for America . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1966. ISBN: 9780262690096.

Buy at Amazon Birch, Eugenie L. "Five Generations of the Garden City." In From Garden City to Green City. Edited by Kermit C. Parsons and David Schuyler. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002, pp. 171-200. ISBN: 0801869447.

Explore the website for the Las Vegas, Nevada community of Summerlin.

Part 4: Changing Cities by Extending Them - Designing Suburbs and Regions

The Suburbs Part I: The Origins and Growth of Suburbs

Questions of the day: Why do we have suburbs? How and why do the designs of new suburbs differ from the designs of older ones?

Buy at Amazon Jackson, Kenneth. "Introduction," "The Transportation Revolution and the Erosion of the Walking City," and "Affordable Homes for the Common Man." In Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 3-11, 20-44, and 116-137. ISBN: 0195049837.

Buy at Amazon Fishman, Robert. "The Post-War American Suburb: A New Form, A New City." In Two Centuries of American Planning. Edited by Daniel Schaffer. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988, pp. 265-278. ISBN: 0801837197.

Buy at Amazon Stilgoe, John. "Intellectual & Practical Beginnings." In Borderland: Origins of the American Suburb, 1820-1939. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988, pp. 21-64. ISBN: 0300042574.


The Suburbs Part II: Rethinking American Suburbs

Questions of the day: How do "urbanism" and "uuburbanism" differ as "ways of life"? What is the appeal of small town life, and can this be designed?

Southworth, Michael, and Peter M. Owens. "The Evolving Metropolis: Studies of Community, Neighborhood and Street Form at the Urban Edge." Journal of the American Planning Association 59, no. 3 (1993): 271-287.

Buy at Amazon Gans, Herbert. "Urbanism and Suburbanism as Ways of Life: A Re-evaluation of Definitions." In People, Plans and Policies: Essays on Poverty, Racism, and Other National Urban Problems. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. ISBN: 0231074034.

Buy at Amazon Krier, Leon. "Town and Country," "Critique of Zoning," "Critique of Industrialisation," "The Idea of Reconstruction," and "Urban Components." In Leon Krier: Houses, Palaces, Cities. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1985, pp. 30-42. ISBN: 0312479905.

Buy at Amazon Hayden, Dolores. "Nostalgia and Futurism." In Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2004, pp. 201-229. ISBN: 0375727213.

"Bye Bye Suburban Dream." Newsweek, May 15, 1994.


Shaping Private Development/Growth Management

Questions of the day: What are the social consequences of sprawl? Can private development be controlled to manage growth on the regional scale? What are the current techniques used to manage growth?

Guest speaker: Westwood, MA town officials and Cabot, Cabot & Forbes representative - developers for new TOD in former industrial park along the Westwood commuter rail line.

Flint, Anthony. "Instant Suburb: the Growth of the Suburban Belt along the Interstate 495 Corridor Is Fast, Intense, and Largely Unplanned. Is It Good for Community? Hopkinton Takes Stock." Boston Globe Magazine , June 16, 2002.

Buy at Amazon Calthorpe, Peter, and William Fulton. "Designing the Region." Chapter 6 in The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2001, Introduction, Conclusion, pp. 107-171 and 271-277. ISBN: 1559637846.

Buy at Amazon Gillham, Oliver. "Outlining the Debate." In The Limitless City: A Primer on the Urban Sprawl Debate. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2002, pp. 69-81. ISBN: 1559638338.

14 Midterm Exam  
Part 5: Changing Cities by Redesigning Their Centers

Urban Renewal and Its Critics

Questions of the day: When does a "neighborhood" become a "slum"? How does one achieve a balance between "renewal" and "preservation"?

Buy at Amazon Gans, Herbert. "The West End: An Urban Village." In The Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans. New York, NY: Free Press, 1962, pp. 3-16. ISBN: 0029112400.

Buy at Amazon Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1961, pp. 3-25. ISBN: 067974195X.

Buy at Amazon Mumford, Lewis. "Home Remedies for Urban Cancer." In The Urban Prospect. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968, pp. 182-207. ISBN: 0151931909.

Buy at Amazon Gans, Herbert. "Urban Vitality and the Fallacy of Physical Determinism" (Review of Jane Jacobs' book). In People, Plans and Policies: Essays on Poverty, Racism, and Other National Urban Problems. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. ISBN: 0231074034.

In-class video: The West End.


The Tumult of American Public Housing

Question of the day: What does urban design have to do with the problems of American public housing?

Guest speaker: Professor Lawrence J. Vale

Franck, Karen A., and Michael Mostoller. "From Courts to Open Space to Streets: Changes in the Site Design of U.S. Public Housing." Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 12, no. 3 (1995): 186-220.

Buy at Amazon Newman, Oscar. "Housing Design and the Control of Behavior." In Community of Interest. New York, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1980, pp. 48-77. ISBN: 0385111231.

Vale, Lawrence J. "From the Puritans to the Projects: The Ideological Origins of American Public Housing." Harvard Design Magazine 8 (1999): 52-57.

McKee, Bradford. "Public Housing's Last Hope." Architecture 86, no. 8 (1997): 94-105.


Cultural Districts, Heritage Areas and Tourism: If You Name It, Will They Come?

Question of the day: How can urban designers, developers and planners create new economic value for historic places and the inner city?

Buy at Amazon Frenchman, Dennis. "Narrative Places and the New Practice of Urban Design." In Imaging the City: Continuing Struggles and New Directions. Edited by Lawrence J. Vale and Sam Bass Warner, Jr. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 2001. ISBN: 0882851691.

Skim "Executive Summary of the Master Plan for the Worcester Arts District, Community Partners Consultants, Inc., 2002." (PDF - 8.7 MB)

18 Discussion of Exercise 2  

Downtown Development and the Privatization of Public Space

Question of the day: Is 'Public Space' being 'Privatized'?

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Frieden, Bernard, and Lynne Sagalyn. Downtown, Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989, pp. 1-13 and 215-238. ISBN: 0262560593.

Rybczynski, Witold. "The New Downtowns." The Atlantic Monthly 271, no. 5 (1993): 98-106.

Robertson, Kent A. "Downtown Redevelopment Strategies in the United States: An End-of-the-Century Assessment." Journal of the American Planning Association 61, no. 4 (1995): 429-437.

Part 6: New Ways of Seeing, New Ways of Planning

Landscape, the Environment and the City

Questions of the day: How has concern for the landscape, open space, environment and quality of life shaped cities? Can cities be truly "green"?

Guest speaker: Thomas Oles


Natural Processes

Guest speaker: Thomas Oles


Transportation and Its Impacts

Question of the day: How has public transportation policy shaped urban form?

Buy at Amazon Geddes, Norman Bel. Excerpt from "Magic Motorways." In Building the Nation: Americans Write about Their Architecture, Their Cities, and Their Landscape. Edited by Steven Conn and Max Page. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003, pp. 228-231. ISBN: 0812218523.

Buy at Amazon Downs, Anthony. "Remedies That Increase Residential Densities," "Changing the Jobs-Housing Balance," and "Concentrating Jobs in Large Clusters." In Still Stuck in Traffic. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004, pp. 79-126. ISBN: 0815719299.

In Class Video: Klein, Jim and Martha Olson. Taken for a Ride, selections. VHS. Harriman, NY: New Day Films, 1996.


The Rise of Community Activism

Questions of the day: How has community participation changed urban design and development? Can urban development be a force for social equity?

Guest speaker: Lizbeth Heyer, Associate Director of Community Development, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Buy at Amazon Peirce, Neal R., and Robert Guskind. "Boston's Southwest Corridor: People Power Makes History." In Breakthroughs: Recreating the American City. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1993, pp. 83-114. ISBN: 0882851454.


The Virtual City

Question of the day: How have advances in telecommunications technology changed the way we use and conceive cities?

Guest speaker: Dennis Frenchman

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Mitchell, William J. "March of the Meganets," and "Homes and Neighborhoods." In E-topia: "Urban Life, Jim, But Not As We Know It". Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999. ISBN: 0262632055.

Read "Urban Renewal, the Wireless Way."


The Secure City - The Fortification of Space

Question of the day: How are concerns about safety and security shaping public space and redefining communities?

Buy at Amazon Low, Setha. "Unlocking the Gated Community," and "Fear of Others." In Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004, pp. 7-26 and 133-152. ISBN: 0415950414.

Buy at Amazon Kostof, Spiro. "Keeping Apart." In The City Assembled: The Elements of Urban Form Through History. London, UK: Thames & Hudson, 2005. pp. 102-110. ISBN: 0500281726.

Buy at Amazon Davis, Mike. "Fortress Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space." Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. Edited by Michael Sorkin. New York, NY: Noonday, 1992. ISBN: 0374523142.

Zinganel, Michael. "Crime Does Pay! How Security Technology, Architecture and Town Planning Are Powered by Crime." Archis (March 2002): 44-50.

Please skim: National Capital Planning Commission, The National Capital Urban Design and Security Plan. October 2002. (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF)

Read page 4 Key Findings and Recommendations in "Designing for Security in the Nation's Capital." (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF - 2.7 MB)

26 Discussion of Final Paper  
27 Final Exam