Urban Geography: Planning the Modern City

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Urban Geography: Planning the Modern City

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may not take this course if enrolled in TI311, TI312, TI318, or TI344

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Outline

    The principal aims of this course are:
    (a) to recognize the city as a changing and complex environment;
    (b) to analyse the history of planning as a multi-facetted and ongoing process;
    (c) to analyse the changing structural properties of a host of different planned and unplanned public spaces; and
    (d) to use the history of one city ? Paris, France ? as a concrete backdrop to the ideas and concepts we explore.

    Central to the course is the idea of the modern city as a planned environment that is created by humans for a host of different reasons and to serve an array of different ends. ?Modern? here serves to differentiate older forms of urban development from our contemporary cities, which start to emerge in Western Europe about 500 years ago. Arguably, ?planning? is one of the key novelties in this move away from ?merely building? to ?consciously constructing? a city.

    In the course, we will trace three distinct phases of this drawn-out process, which we will analyse in turn: (1) the development of a free and humanist city, (2) the enlightenment introduction of ?reason? or rational discourse into the ways people thought about cities and (3) the capitalization of the built environment in the 19th century.

    I have chosen to teach this course by focusing on one city because the familiarity that emerges over the course of the semester helps to understand the complexity that each generation of planners faces when confronting a historically grown and growing city. Also, Paris is probably the most written-about city on earth; hence: there?s no shortage of reading material of whatever kind!

    Course Schedule, Content and Asssessment

    The main bulk of the material will be delivered in straightforward lectures, although we will examine readings as an integral part of the procedures. During the lectures, I shall introduce concepts, histories and ideas and we shall discuss these with the help of various media, like films, slides and advertisement material.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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