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Course Date: 14 September 2014 to 23 November 2014 (10 weeks)
The course explores visionary and practical concepts of city design and planning, past and present, and how design can address such looming challenges as urban population growth, climate change and rising sea levels. Participants will be encouraged to make proposals for city design and development, starting with their own immediate environment.
Gary Hack is professor emeritus of urban design in the
School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.
From 1996-2008 he served as dean of the School and is a former chairman
of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
He practices and writes about large scale urban design, and has prepared
plans for over 40 cities in the US and abroad.
Before joining Penn, he was professor of urban design at MIT
and served as chair of the department of urban studies and planning. Professionally, he was principal in the
firm, Carr, Lynch, Hack and Sandell.
Through his firm he directed the planning of the West Side waterfront in
New York City, which involved the reconstruction of the West Side highway as an
urban boulevard, and 4.5 miles of parks and promenades adjacent to it. It required extensive involvement of over 70
groups over a five year period.
Construction of the system of parks and pier reclamation is currently
Also in New York, he was principal in charge of the design
and construction of Rockefeller Park at Battery Park City, an 8.5 acre park
that serves as the key open space in Lower Manhattan. It was designed through close consultation
with the area’s residents, and has been voted the most loved park in
Manhattan. The park served as the
prototype for the parks along the West Side Waterfront.
Gary Hack also served as principal urban designer for many
projects, including: the planning of the
East Riverfront in Detroit; the urban design of the Hwa Shan cultural district in
the center of Taipei, Taiwan; the urban design and planning of the
redevelopment of Prudential Center in Boston.
He was a member of the Studio Libeskind team that won the competition
for the World Trade Center redevelopment in New York, and participated in the
preparation of the urban design guidelines for the project. He headed the team
that prepared The Bangkok Plan, a strategic plan for development of the
In the 1970’s Gary Hack served as general manager for
development and demonstration projects of CMHC and the Ministry of State for
Urban Affairs in Ottawa. In that
capacity, he oversaw the planning of Harbourfront in Toronto, the Vieux Port in
Montreal, the Vieux Port in Quebec City, Market Square in St John, NB, and
other projects across Canada.
He is the author of several books on urban development,
including Local Planning (with
Eugenie Birch, Paul Sedway and Mitchell Silver), Site Planning, the standard text in the field (with Kevin Lynch), Global City Regions (with Roger
Simmonds), Urban Design in a Global
Context (with Zhongjie Lin), and Local
Planning (with others). .
He was educated in architecture at the University of
Manitoba (B.Arch ’64) and University of Illinois (M.Arch 66), and in planning
at the University of Illinois (MUP ’67) and at MIT, where he received his PhD
in 1976. He received an honorary Doctor
of Laws degree from Dalhousie University in 2006.
Jonathan Barnett is one of the pioneers of the modern practice of city design, a discipline firmly grounded in current political, social and economic realities.
As the director of the graduate urban design program at the University of Pennsylvania, before that as the director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York, and as a visiting professor, critic or lecturer at many
other universities, Jonathan Barnett has helped educate more than a generation of city designers.
He worked in the reform administration of Mayor John Lindsay when New York City first had an institutional commitment to city design. His account of innovations created in New York, Urban
Design as Public Policy, was a strong influence in establishing urban design as a necessary element of local government and in making city design a well-recognized profession.
Jonathan Barnett has written many books, book chapters, and articles about city design. In his most recent book, City Design: Modernist, Traditional, Green, and Systems Perspectives, Barnett explores the history and current practice of the
four most important ways of designing cities, and suggests a fifth way which draws on all four approaches.
Jonathan Barnett has also developed his own extensive consulting practice as a city-designer, with long-term consulting relationships with the cities of Charleston, S.C., Cleveland, Kansas City, Nashville, Norfolk, Miami, Omaha, and Pittsburgh,
and with the cities of Xiamen and Tianjin in China. He has also been the urban design advisor for two planned communities in Cambodia, and for several large-scale projects in Korea,
Currently he is interested in projects that involve controlling growth at the suburban fringe and in redeveloping by-passed areas in the older parts of metropolitan regions, and has worked on growth management plans for suburban communities in Missouri,
Wisconsin, and New York State, and on the redesign of several former railway yards and military bases.
With his students at the University of Pennsylvania, Jonathan Barnett has prepared growth management studies for central Florida, done research into the potential effects of sea-level rise in the Delaware River Basin and the New Jersey Shore, and
has demonstrated methods of incorporating Geographic Information Systems into development regulations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Jonathan Barnett is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Yale College, and has a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, and a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture. He is a fellow of both the American
Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Stefan Al is a Dutch architect, urban designer, and Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
His research interests include urban form and evolution, and urbanization in rapidly urbanizing countries. His design practice is dedicated to sustainable architecture and urban design.
In an international career to date, Al has worked on renowned architectural projects such as the 2,000-feet high Canton Tower in Guangzhou, the preservation of world heritage in Latin America at the World Heritage Center of UNESCO, and an 11,000-acre new eco-friendly city in India.
His writing has been published in the Handbook of Architectural Theory, the Berkeley Planning Journal, and other publications. He has edited the books Factory Towns of South China and Village in the City (forthcoming 2013), and is currently writing a book on Las Vegas called The Strip.
Al is an EU-licensed architect and a LEED Accredited Professional. He serves as a founding member of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design, a co-opted member of Hong Kong's Harbourfront Commission, and as a task force member of Hong Kong's Environment Bureau.
Prior to joining Penn, Al has taught at UC Berkeley and the University of Hong Kong, where he was the director of the Urban Design Program.
Designing Cities is a ten-week
course starting in October 2013. Every
week will focus on a different aspect of Designing Cities 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 modules per week, each typically 10-12
The first module each week 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 also be three sessions where we discuss a selection of
the assignments that have been submitted. There will be a great deal to be
learned from the ideas participants submit, reflecting cities of all sizes and
circumstances across the globe.
The course concludes with a
discussion by the faculty of the issues raised in the discussion groups and
responses to the assignments. We are looking forward to connecting with you and
seeing the issues at the forefront in designing your city.
Do I have to do the assignments? Browsers are welcome but there is much to be gained by applying the ideas of the course to your city, and both getting and giving feedback on the three assignments.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing the course? Yes, students who successfully complete the the three assignments and give feedback to others will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.
What resources will I need for this course? An internet connection, of course. A computer that is equipped to create .pdf files with images and text. A digital camera (or phone with a camera) for taking photos of your city and any sketches or drawings you make. You need not be skilled in drawing -- rough sketches are fine. A map of your city will help others understand the areas you are talking about.
What will I take away from the course? A vocabulary for talking about design of cities. Knowledge of design ideas that have been tried over the years, and their results. Understandings of how cities differ across the globe. Understanding of the kinds of challenges that will be faced in designing cities over the next couple of decades.
Will the instructors actually see the materials I submit? We have scheduled three sessions to show and comment on some of the most interesting of the assignments submitted, and will have a way that peer reviewers can spotlight those we should review. If the enrollments are very large, it won't be possible for us to review every assignment submitted in time for the three sessions. But the value of the assignments is in helping you think about design issues in your city.
This is a ten-week course which requires completion of three
assignments. The instructors will select some of the assignments submitted and
discuss them as part of the course.
Each week’s modules will be introduced by a discussion by all
Week 1:How Today’s City Evolved
The Pre-Industrial City
Cities in the Industrial
Cities in 1950
Today’s Regional City
Week 2: Ideas That Shape Cities
Green City Design
Systems City Design
Week 3: Tools for Designing Cities
Investments in Infrastructure
Codes and Design Guidelines
Incentives for Better City Design
Negotiation for Common Goods
Discussion by the instructors about
selected submissions for the first assignment
Week 4: Making Cities Sustainable
Transportation as the Growth Armature
Managing Water: Flooding and Scarcity
Green Infrastructure and Renewable
Week 5: Cities in the Information Age
Managing Energy Consumption
Spatial Patterns that Promote
Mixing Home, Work, Culture and Recreation
Week 6: Preserving Older Cities
Landmarks and Historic Districts
Adaptive Re-Use of Old Buildings
Preserving the Industrial Heritage
Discussion by the instructors about
selected submissions for the second assignment
Week 7: Designing New Cities, Districts and Neighborhoods
Introductory Discussion and the
The Idea of New Towns and Cities
Urban Form of New Places
The Public Realm – Streets, Parks
Walkable Neighborhoods and Business
Week 8: The Challenges of Informal Cities and
Rapid Urbanization and Informal
Land Tenure and Stability
Retrofitting Infrastructure and Services
Combating Poverty and Urban Deterioration
Week 9: Visionary Cities
The Self-Organizing City
Week 10: Concluding Comments
Discussion by the three
instructors of selected submissions for the third assignment
The basic components of the course are:
content modules, as shown in the syllabus; three assignments, required
for those who wish to receive a statement of accomplishment, and encouraged
for all; participation in peer critiques of assignments; suggested
readings that go beyond the materials in the modules.