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ENVS 2036 Urban Form and Formation


Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, Private reading, Studio participation, Essays/projects

Aims & Outcomes

The purpose of this module is to give students a grounding in the understanding of different urban form components at different scales - buildings, spaces, streets, districts - and how these relate to each other. Christopher Alexander's Pattern Language is used as a core device for understanding these urban form components and relationships. That said, the work of the module involves creating new patterns and combinations as well as analysing existing patterns.

This module is suitable for students of planning, architectural studies and other urban related courses. It allows students to experiment with different urban components and their combinations at different scales, and hence gain a tangible grasp of how urban form is 'put together', both in terms of structure and process, and hence explore how future urban formation can be generated.

The module involves a combination of creativity and focused enquiry - a degree of 'divergent' thinking and 'convergent' thinking - leading to tangible outputs.


Dr Stephen Marshall
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Indicative Reading

Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., Silverstein, M., Jacobson, M., Fiksdahl-King, I. and Angel, S. (1977) A Pattern Language. Towns. Buildings. Construction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Alexander, C. (1979) The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kostof, S. (1991) The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings through History. London: Thames and Hudson.

Kostof, S. (1992) The City Assembled: The Elements of Urban Form Throughout History. London: Thames and Hudson.

Lynch, K. (1981) Good City Form. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Marshall, S. (2008) Cities Design & Evolution. London and New York: Routledge.

Morris, A. E. J. (1994) History of Urban Form. Before the Industrial Revolutions (3rd ed.). Harlow: Longman Scientific and Technical.