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AG2115 Contemporary Trends in Urban Planning and Design 15.0 credits

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus AG2115 (Autumn 2009–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

One of the major difficulties and problems with contemporary urban design theory, debate and practice is the sense that urbanism is ‘architecture, only at a larger scale and within an urban context’. This results in far too much emphasis on the ‘design’ and not enough of an understanding of the ‘urban’ factors. The course focuses on conscious design choices in the urban scale and examines selected aspects of urban planning and design and the results of contemporary theories and ideals. The basics of city-making and urban analysis is presented in a set of exercises where students first, as a group work, will apply a chosen contemporary trend in urban planning and design in the project area. The idea is to illustrate and get ‘hands on’ knowledge of the practical consequences of different trends and ideals. In the following, individual proposals are developed, based on the students individual programmatic or ideological standpoints. As a basis for this, students will present an individual design essay based on assigned contemporary readings, which will include a discussion of selected literature and specific design comparisons. The course is divided in two consecutive design project studios, with two different major exercise areas, one urban and one suburban.

Intended learning outcomes

The course will adopt a critical perspective towards contemporary trends in urban planning and design, in order to develop an in-depth approach toward a more meaningful urban design for the future. The objective of the course is to stimulate students to formulate their own viewpoints by sharpening their critical thinking and enabling a provocative debate into the inquiry of the conceptual nature of urban design. The course concentrates on urban design studios where students will investigate the complex nature of ‘successful’ urban design trends (those that are at the leading edge of practice today) and attempts to identify and evaluate examples of programmatic and experimental urban design on macro, meso and micro levels. The course also includes selected films (motion pictures) on global cities (Europe & North America). This tool and analysis sessions as follow-up will enable the students in learning how to observe, analyze, problematize, discuss and criticize as well how to best design cities.

After completing the course the students will:

  • Comprehend more clearly the relation between theory and practice in urban planning and design and other akin disciplines involved in bridging architecture and planning on micro and meso scales.
  • Understand theoretically and practically the complexities of urban design issues in not just designing, but also retrofitting suburban or central city urban areas.
  • Discuss and apply lessons from contemporary planning approaches and urban design trends to everyday urbanism problems.
  • Express own urban planning and design ideas & results, as well as other viewpoints in a coherent and qualitative way by the way and means of drawings, sketches, essays and ad-lib/oral manner.

Course disposition

Urban Design Studios & Critique Sessions.
Lectures, Film Presentations and Interactive Discussions.
Literature Readings, Short Paper Critique Writing and Plenum Sessions.
Study Visits to Urban Design Sites in Greater Stockholm Area.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Compulsory for Urban Planning and Design MSc. Program students and for others: 120 credits from architecture, landscape architecture or urban and town planning programmes (Permission of Instructor).

Recommended prerequisites

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Compulsory Contemporary Trends Course Compendium.

Suggested readings (Books):

Shane, David Grahame. 2005. Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design and City Theory. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Lance Jay Brown, David Dixon, Oliver Gillham. 2009. Urban Design for an Urban Century: Placemaking for People. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Haas, Tigran (editor). 2008. New Urbanism & Beyond: Designing Cities for the Future. New York: Rizzoli.

Douglas Kelbaugh, Kit McCullough (Editors). 2008. Writing Urbanism: A Design Reader. London: Routledge.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO3 - Studio Project I, Critique Presentation, 7.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • PRO4 - Studio Projec II, Critique Presentation, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • ÖVN2 - Analysis, Discussion, Sketching, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Urban design studio project I & critique presentation, (PRO3; 7,5 cr).
Urban design studio project II & critique presentation, (PRO4; 4,5 cr).
Learning from Film Analysis, Discussion and Sketching, (ÖVN2; 3,0 cr)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Tigran Haas

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

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Offered by

ABE/Urban and Regional Studies

Main field of study


Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

Master Thesis Option I or II; Elective Courses in Architecture, Urban Planning or Urban Design;


Tigran Haas,, Tel. 08-7908504

Supplementary information

First prio: Students within TUPDM-program.
Andra prio: Architecture students year 4.