You may present a case study of cities in which it is possible to demonstrate specific relationships between form and society, either today or historically. Often these relationships are clearer under conditions of dramatic change, as in the change from colonial to post-colonial cities, or in the reaction of urban society to sudden stress. Here the problem is often one of finding the data, but achievable if you can do the digging.
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.
Droege, P. "Floating Cities." 1977.
King, G. "Poston, Arizona, 1924-1945: An Illustrated Case Study of a Temporary Settlement." 1977.
Ebbe, K. "Freedom to Control: City Form as an Expression of Colonial Domination." (Leopoldville and Kinshasha). 1978.
Aldrete-Haas, J. A. "The Formation of the Built Environment: The Case of a Colonial Proletaria in Mexico City." 1979.
Devol, J. "The Death of a New Eden." 1979.
Ferreira, F. "Portuguese and Spanish Colonial Cities in Latin America: A First Comparative Approach." 1980.
Murray, S. "Historical Land Use Patterns in the United States of America." 1980.
Morse, S. "Urban Form for Rural Development: Colonization in the Brazilian Amazon." 1981.
Lin, Y. Y. "The Impact of Commercial Force on Urban Form: The Case of K'ai-feng, China." 1981.
Mulla, A. "Historical Settlement Patterns in Mombasa." 1981.
Kousoulas, G. "Allusion and Allegory: Aphorisms of a Capital." 1984.
Christofidou, E. "The Development of Nicosia, Capital of Cyprus." 1985.
Shah, B. "Changing Spatial Order and New Conformity: Katmandu, Nepal." 1987.
Purwono, E. "Transformation of a Former Colonial City: A Case Study of Jakarta." 1988.
Margoles, C. "The South African City: Emancipation or Prison?" 1988.
Wolfson, M. "City as Myth: Phoenix, Arizona." 1989.
Rojas, J. "Observations of Tokyo." 1990.
Havens, G. "Dublin: Capital of Colonial Ireland." 1991.
Kanakar, A. "Varanasi: The Holy City." 1991.
Campanella, T. J. "Sanctuary in the Wilderness, City by the Sea, Gravesend, Long Island, 1643." 1992.
Shea, C. E. "Samarkand: 'Mirror of the World'." 1993.
Eastley, L. "Mormon Communities and the Building of the Earthly Kingdom." 1993.
Hurley, T. C. "The Lights are Out in the City on the Hill: Wayland, Massachusetts." 1994.
Sarkin, G. "Berlin Crossroads - The Case of Potsdammerplatz." 1994.
Kodama, T. "The Formation of Kobe." 1995.
Askalan, R. "Beirut: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." 1995.
McHugh, E. T. "Warsaw: A Study of Memory, History and National Identity in the Reconstruction of the City." 1996.
Carrera, F. "Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Venice, Italy." 1997.
Kosebay, Y. "Representing Language of Nasuh's 16th Century Istanbul-Galata Miniature Painting." 1997.
Turkel, J. A. "Barrow, Alaska: The Most Improbable Town in America." 1998.
Tian, L. L. "The Concept of Home in the City of Helsinki." 1998.
Apigian, M. "Landscapes of Convergence: San Diego-Tijuana." 1999.
Mathema, K. "Tourism and City Form: The Kathmandu Valley." 1999.
Switzky, J. "The Instant City of San Francisco and Theories on the Form of 'Boomtowns'." 2000.
Pitts, E. "Tlingit Village and House Organization." 2000.
Spencer, C. "Urban Renewal: Its Effects on the Physical Form and Thinking of Downtown Schenectady." 2001.
Gillespie, J. "Las Vegas: Mythical Frontier Oasis or Paradigmatic American City?" 2002.
Fergason, T. "Krier & Koolhaas." 2002.
Resnick, N. "The Derailment of Detroit." 2003.
Helinski, K. L. "The Walls of Cairo: The Ownership of Forgotten Landmarks." 2004.
Vlado, N. "Mapping a Post-traumatic Landscape: Johannesburg's Post-apartheid Form." 2005.
Morais, M. "Neutrality as Response to Diversity: The Paradigm of Lisbon." 2006.
Green, M. E. "A Speculative Study of Kampala's Housing Form." 2006.
Gora, T. I. "The African City: Imagining an Experiential Democratic Design of Urban Life." 2007.
Basraai, Z. "Spaces of Persecution: the Jewish Shtetl in Nineteenth Century Poland." 2008.
Abrahamse, C. "Spatial Structure and Social Structure: Looking for Contact Zones within the Post-apartheid South African city." 2008.
Lockrem, Z. "Quebecois Identity and the Built Environment: The Case of Expo' 67." 2009.
Humphreys, B. "Oklahoma City's Park and Boulevard System." 2009.
Spicer, S. J. "Confronting the Voids in Berlin's Urban Fabric." 2010.
Nelson, M. "Auguste Perret's Reconstruction of Le Havre." 2010.
Thelander, M. "Precarious Paradise: The Paradox of Nature in Southern California." 2011.
Woods, E. "Remembering the Palast der Republik: Identity Construction, Memorialization, and Preservation in Post-reunification Berlin." 2011.