11.001J | Spring 2006 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Urban Design and Development

Lecture Notes

All images in the lectures are courtesy of the course faculty except as noted, and all are used with permission. Image attribution list (PDF).

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

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

2 Ways of Seeing the City (PDF - 1.1 MB)

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?

Part 2: The American City - The Forces That Shape Our Cities
3 The Forces That Made Boston (PDF - 2.7 MB)

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?

4 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.

5 The Design of American Cities (PDF - 3.5MB)

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?

6 The Industrial City and Its Critics (PDF - 1.7 MB)

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?

7 Development Controls Part I: The Institutionalization of Planning and Zoning (PDF)

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

8 Development Controls Part II: Beyond Zoning: Urban Design Guidelines, Design Review and Development Incentives (PDF)

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?

Part 3: Changing Cities by Designing New Ones
9 Three Urban Utopias: (PDF - 2.0 MB)
- 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?

10 New Towns in the United States and Abroad (PDF - 2.9 MB)

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

Part 4: Changing Cities by Extending Them - Designing Suburbs and Regions
11 The Suburbs Part I: The Origins and Growth of Suburbs (PDF - 2.3 MB)

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?

12 The Suburbs Part II: Rethinking American Suburbs (PDF - 1.6 MB)

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

13 Shaping Private Development/Growth Management (PDF - 1.9 MB)

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.

14 Midterm Exam
Part 5: Changing Cities by Redesigning Their Centers
15 Urban Renewal and Its Critics (PDF - 1.0 MB)

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

16 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

17 Cultural Districts, Heritage Areas and Tourism: If You Name It, Will They Come? (PDF - 2.7 MB)

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

18 Discussion of Exercise 2
19 Downtown Development and the Privatization of Public Space

Question of the day: Is ‘Public Space’ being ‘Privatized’?

Part 6: New Ways of Seeing, New Ways of Planning
20 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

21 Natural Processes

Guest speaker: Thomas Oles

22 Transportation and Its Impacts

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

23 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.

24 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

25 The Secure City - The Fortification of Space (PDF - 6.4 MB)

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

26 Discussion of Final Paper
27 Final Exam

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments