This course covers theories about the form that settlements should take and attempts a distinction between descriptive and normative theory by examining examples of various theories of city form over time. Case studies will highlight the origins of the modern city and theories about its emerging form, including the transformation of the nineteenth-century city and its organization. Through examples and historical context, current issues of city form in relation to city-making, social structure, and physical design will also be discussed and analyzed.
Topics are categorized into three sections. The first examines the nature of city form theory through examples of traditional attempts to specify "goodness," recent attempts to explain how cities perform, and selected systematic claims on city form theory. The second section focuses on the modern city from its genesis in northern Europe in the late eighteenth–century and discusses in detail the inventions that created it and formed the basis of the contemporary city. The third section attempts to build on the previous sections by concentrating on current theory and practice, in particular on city form process, spatial and social structure, and form models.
Julian Beinart. 4.241J Theory of City Form, Spring 2013. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu
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