CPT867: Designing Cities

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CPT867
External Subject Code K400
Number of Credits 20
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Francesca Sartorio
Semester Double Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

There are two elements of assessment. Both are presentations of A1 boards. Detailed guidance on each assignment is provided via Learning Central and explained in class.

Group presentation

50% contribution

Site analysis (on boards)

45 minutes


Individual project presentation

50% contribution

Preferred stategy/final layout for a nighbourhood (on boards)

15 minutes


The opportunity for reassessment in this module

Students are permitted to be reassessed (usually once) in a module which they have failed, in line with course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

How the module will be delivered

Designing cities combines more traditional learning and teaching delivery modes with a typical studio format. It uses a mix of lectures, student-led seminars and studio sessions. Students will be given the possibility to attend training sessions on computer programme packages and basic skills in free hand sketching and in building physical models. They will work in parallel on surveying and designing their chosen site and on developing a deeper understanding of the effect of cultures on the physical and natural landscape.

Outline Description of Module

This module aims at introducing students to issues surrounding the  planning and design of cities, with a specific focus on public spaces able to effectively supporting public life. Students will learn about the history of planning and design ideas for cities. They will learn about how different cultures have developed their own particular forms of living together and how this has changed over time. They will learn about the principles of urban design and how we judge approaches to the design of the urban environment, as they apply to mixed areas in contemporary cities.  Students will research lessons from the form of  public spaces from across the world, as well as look at examples of European practice from the last 20 years. For a particular site you will apply what you have learnt to a produce a design for a lively, mixed use development. The production of the design will entail competent and professional site analysis, the use of appropriate precedents, the exploration of alternative strategies and the crafting of an appropriate and ‘culturally fitting’ development or regeneration scheme.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. Understand the relevance of mix-use concepts and approaches to its planning and design, and its relevance to different contexts
  2. Understand the form and morphologies of cities across the world and in different cultural or development contexts
  3. Complete and present a systematic analysis of an inner city area using urban design principles and criteria
  4. Recognise and apply lessons from good practice in planning and design of a mixed inner city area with reference to a range of real world schemes
  5. Analyse and appraise a site and its context, including reference to physical, cultural, historical, social and economic and natural characteristics
  6. Develop alternative strategies for a new development and assess them in order to define a ‘preferred strategy’
  7. Design, justify and present a final urban design for a mixed use inner city area, to a professional standard and in an appropriate format

Skills that will be practised and developed

  1. An ability to analyse and discuss the design of cities with reference to matters of urban design theory, informed by aspects of culture, and other matters such as climate, affluence and stage of development;
  2. Explore the values and attitudes that underpin current theory and practice of design and development as localised and socially constructed values;
  3. Ability to understand, explain and engage with various cultures and their physical environments;
  4. Advanced site appraisal, design, plan drawing and presentation techniques;
  5. Designing quality spaces, fitting for people’s life;
  6. Sketching, 2D and 3D drawing preparation and presentation, report writing;
  7. Awareness of various cultural, professional and public values in relation to the design of the built environment, and the need for respect in discussions involving differences of values.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Presentation 50 Group Presentation N/A 1 N/A
Presentation 50 Individual Project Presentation N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

  • Banerjee, T. and A. Loukaitou-Sideris, (2011) Companion to Urban Design (Eds.) ; London: Routledge;  (307.1216 COM)
  • Bentley, I. et al (1985) Responsive Environments: A manual for designers, Oxford, Butterworth Architecture (711.4R main and short loan)
  • DfT, DCLG, CABE (2007) Manual for Streets, www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/sustainable/manforstreets/
  • Gehl, J (2010) Cities for People, Island Press
  • Gehl, J (2011) Life between buildings, Island Press
  • Gehl, J (2013) How to Study Public Life, Island Press
  • Hall, P (2013) Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism, London: Routledge
  • Knieling, J. und Othengrafen, F. (2009): Planning Cultures in Europe. Decoding Cultural Phenomena in Urban and Regional Planning, Farnham, Ashgate (307.1216 PLA)
  • Kropf, K (2017) the Handbook of Urban Morphology, John Wiley and Sons
  • Llewelyn-Davies (2000), The Urban Design Compendium, London, English Partnerships/Housing Corporation (711.4L)
  • Lynch, K. and Hack, G. (3rd Ed) (1984) Site Planning, London, Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press (711.6L).
  • Lynch, K (1960) The Image of the City, MIT Press
  • Lynch, K (1984) Good City Form, MIT Press
  • Urban Design Group (2002) Urban Design Guidance, Urban Design Frameworks, Development Briefs, and Master Plans, Thomas Telford (711.4U)
  • Whyte, W. H (1980) The Social Life of Small Urban Space, Project for Public Space Edition

Background Reading and Resource List

Syllabus content

  • Space of culture and cultural space. 
  • Quality of life/quality of space
  • Planning cultures as they relate to nixed neighbourhood planning
  • Cultural values and design principles
  • Residential building types and urban blocks
  • Urban Design Principles.
  • Opportunities and constraints and developing a spatial strategy
  • Movement, patterns of access and designing residential streets
  • Security and finding your way around
  • Social life in urban outdoor spaces
  • Mixing and delivering uses
  • Environmentally benign developments – landscape and ecology, biodiversity, water management and energy efficiency
  • Learning from great precedents
  • How to prepare a master plan
  • Development phasing.

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