These are generally topics that require a careful examination of an institution and a way of modeling it, a way of conceptualizing the physical environment, and finally, a good explanation of how these fit together. Or the order can be reversed. These are not easy tasks. Some hold strong opinions about these kinds of subjects; for example, how tall office towers represent exploitation of land and human resources, but seldom demonstrate these relationships convincingly.
Examples of Past Student Papers
While the full text of the following student papers may not be available online, the list of examples is intended to provide a better understanding of successful topics and fruitful directions for this assignment.
Calvet, L., and M. Dominguez. “The Streets of Cambridge: Who Controls What?” 1978.
Jaster, S. “Beaches, Control, and Racial Conflict.” 1978.
Mazumdar, S. “The Concept of Control in Persian Architecture.” 1978.
Ozonoff, T. “Public Health and City Form: The Early Period, 1630–1799.” 1981.
Lou, E. “Public Housing as a Means of Social Control: Singapore.” 1983.
Fischler, R. “Architecture and Cultural Production: The Cross and the Banner—Design and Politics in Brasilia.” 1985.
Moustafa, A. A. “Colonial Planning Policies in Morocco, 1912–1923.” 1987.
Pradhan, G. “The Relationship between Ideology and City Form: The Case of Delhi.” 1987.
Vale, L. “Politics and the Form of New Capital Cities.” 1987.
Smith, T. E. “The Tale of Three Cities: The Control of Deviance and City Form.” 1988.
Rea, C. B. “A Legacy of Hope and Despair: Detroit.” 1990.
Shimshoni, A. “The Bedouin of the Negev: Form and Politics.” 1990.
Sherman, M. E. “Learning City Form from Children.” 1991.
Landaeta, A. R. “Is Socialism Anti-urban? The Case of la Habana.” 1994.
Sass, L. “The Theory of an African American City.” 1994.
Yi, E-S. “The Urban Logic and the Qibla.” 1995.
Mani, M. “Shifting Paradigms and the Influence of Temporal Authority on City Form: A Study of Hyderabad, India.” 1996.
Tulay, S. “Institutionalizing the Mentally Ill: A Moral Retreat from the City.” 1997.
Smith, C. A. “Performance and Public Space.” 1998.
Kim, D. “How to Make a Straight Line into a Square: An Examination of Central Square.” 2000.
Liao, N. H. “Investigating Urban Sign Making as Ethnic Identity in Chicago.” 2000.
Muntean, D. “Sarajevo under the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1878-1914): The Empire’s Reforms and their Impact on the City Form.” 2001.
Yaden, R. “Interstate Highways and City Design in the United States.” 2002.
Hodges, C. “Public Education and Smart Growth.” 2003.
Su, J. “Segregation or Integration? A Dual Image of the Chicago ‘L.’” 2004.
Balderas-Guzman, C. “Coffeehouse Culture in Europe versus America.” 2005.
Form, S. “The Hero and the City: The Imagery of Urbanism in DC Comics.” 2005.
Matteson, B. “Zoning as an Instrument of Intentional Form-making.” 2005.
Wegmann, J. “Three-Decker, Three-Flat, Three-Family, Triplex.” 2006.
Bhatia, N. “The Dilemma of the Civic Monument in a Pluralist Society.” 2006.
Shah, P. “The Architectural and the Ubiquitous: The Evolution of the Reinforced Concrete Frame and its Role as a Generative Element in the City.” 2007.
Frem, S. “Variations on Urban Boundaries.” 2008.
Stout, A. C. “The American ‘College Town’ as an Ideal City Form.” 2008.
Trueblood, A. “Accidental Meaning in Washington D.C.” 2009.
Olson, T. “The YMCA: Urban Strategies for a Civic Association.” 2010.