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Designing Cities (Coursera)

Each module in Designing Cities will focus on a different aspect of city design including: How Today’s City Evolved; The Ideas That Shape Cities; Tools for Designing Cities; Making Cities Sustainable; Cities in the Information Age; Preserving Older Cities; Designing New Cities, Districts and Neighborhoods; The Challenges of Informal Cities and Disadvantaged Neighborhoods; and Visionary Cities.

Materials will be presented by the instructors and guest faculty from PennDesign through a series of five or more lessons per module, each typically 10-12 minutes long.

The first lesson in each module will be a roundtable discussion among professors Stefan Al, Jonathan Barnett, and Gary Hack introducing the big issues associated with the subject. Each succeeding module will be a self-contained illustrated presentation of a set of ideas and images. There will be a list of suggested readings for those who wish to follow up on the ideas in each module.

Everyone enrolled in Designing Cities will be expected to complete 3 assignments. These will be posted on the course site and they will be in the form of peer assessments. There will be a great deal to be learned from the ideas participants submit, reflecting cities of all sizes and circumstances across the globe so once you submit your assignment, you’ll be able to see what your peers have done.


Week 1: How Today’s City Evolved

Week 2: Ideas That Shape Cities

Week 3: Tools for Designing Cities

Week 4: Making Cities Sustainable

Week 5: Cities in the Information Age

Week 6: Preserving Older Cities

Week 7: Designing New Cities, Districts and Neighbourhoods

Week 8: The Challenges of Informal Cities and Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

Week 9: Visionary Cities

Week 10: Concluding Comments