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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jeffrey Hou
L ARCH 362
Seattle Campus

Design of Cities

Introduction to the discourses and debates in the contemporary design of cities. Provides an overview of design theories and examples of historic and contemporary work. Includes discussion of the contesting urban processes: visions and paradigms of city; discourses of nature and the city; contemporary urban changes; public and community process; and everyday place making.

Class description

The design of cities today is faced with increasing complexity in the urban environment. An investigation of the complexity should address not only site-scale design issues but also the broader environmental, social, and political processes that shape urban spaces, discourses, and experiences. This course examines the multiple and competing forces that influence the making of contemporary cityscapes. It sees the urban environment as a continuum of ideas, movements, processes, and change. Specifically, the course investigates different paradigms and visions of cities, contested meanings and understandings of urban space, the social and political process of placemaking, and the everyday experiences and imaginaries. Cases around the world including North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America are introduced to contrast and compare design practices and cultural contexts. While exploring the broader processes of city making, the course also explores specific design strategies and tactics that could begin to negotiate the competing social and spatial forces in the contemporary urban environment.

Student learning goals

Examine competing paradigms and discourses of urban landscape design.

Develop critical understanding of the processes of urban change in contemporary cities.

Explore design strategies based on understanding of the complexity of urban landscape.

General method of instruction

The class will largely follow the format of slide show and discussion. To create interactions in class, questions and discussions are strongly encouraged. Further details to be announced.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Jeffrey Hou
Date: 01/03/2013