This page focuses on the course 4.241J/11.330J Theory of City Form as it was taught by Prof. Julian Beinart in Spring 2013.
This course that has been offered every year at MIT since 1956. First developed and taught by Prof. Kevin Lynch, the course was then adopted by Prof. Beinart, who has taught the course for the past 36 years. This advanced-level course is intended to present various theories of city form, along with appropriate case studies, in order to build students’ understanding of urbanism and architecture and to enable them to apply such considerations in future practices.
Students are expected to continue their work in architecture and urban studies. Many of the graduate students already possess a professional background in these fields of study.
Prof. Beinart in his office, surrounded by materials from both teaching and practice. (Image courtesy of MIT OpenCourseWare.)
In the following pages, Prof. Beinart describes various aspects of how he teaches 4.241J/11.330J Theory of City Form.
Below are links to videos produced by Prof. Lynch as part of his studies into the theory of city form and of human perceptions of the city.
Every spring semester
Room 1 of 1
This course is taught in tiered, lecture-style classroom. Prof. Beinart uses the blackboard for diagrams and drawings, and two slide projectors when showing examples and introducing case studies.
1/3 Master of Architecture, 1/3 Master of Science in Architectural Studies, 1/3 other graduate programs
2/3 from Department of Architecture, 1/3 from Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Students possess varying academic backgrounds and work experience, but share common knowledge in urbanism. The class demographic, on occasion, includes undergraduates, cross-registered students, and visiting scholars.
Because the course is lecture-based, class size is not restricted. In the past, enrollment has ranged from 25 to 50 students.
Students had the option of enrolling in this class for either 9 or 12 credits. Those enrolled for 12 units were expected to spend more time working on their term paper outside of class. During an average week, students were expected to spend either 9 or 12 hours on the course, dependent on the number of units enrolled, roughly divided as follows: