Urban Design Theory

Subject Coordinator: Dr Elek Pafka

Tutors: Elanna Nolan, Jonathan Daly, Tanzil Shafique


This subject explores contemporary theories and modes of critique relating to the design of the urban public realm. Emphasis is on how urban physical form responds to the social, political, economic and natural forces of an urbanised area. Assignments require students to critically engage with a broad range of theoretical positions, and relate them to local conditions.

This exhibition presents selected works from a multi-scalar analysis of cities from around the globe, a mid-semester assignment weighted 20%. The primary lenses of enquiry are Density, Mix and Access – what we are calling the urban DMA – a triangle of factors that intersect to construct a morphological framework for urban life. Density defines how many people and buildings are in a given area; mix shows how different buildings, grain sizes, people and activities co‚Äźfunction through synergies and symbioses; access networks determine how we connect between them.

Students are allocated a city and within this city they are to choose a 500x500m area to study with a 100x100m focus in the centre. This area within the city is then analysed using Google Earth satellite imagery and Streetview only. The primary task is to analyse both scales of the site through the theoretical lenses encountered in the first half of the semester and communicate the analysis in written and graphic form, focusing on the relations and connections between scales.



Larissa Tse and Antonio Huang

Urban Design Cities 2020_winter