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AG2182 Histories and Contemporary Theories of Urban Form - Fundamentals of Urbanism 6.0 credits

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus AG2182 (Autumn 2015–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Lecture based theoretical urban design module, providing students with an advanced introduction to the history and theory of urban form leading up to the contemporary paradigms in urbanism, with a specific emphasis on urban morphology and the fields of knowledge pertinent to the students design investigation and current project work in the studios. Selected exemplary design approaches will be examined through lectures, readings, and seminars including historical paradigmatic change in urban form and design. This course is organized as an advanced seminar facilitating information exchange and discussions. It will focus on the thought, principles and places that have shaped the history, theory and practice of urban design and physical planning. Examples will illustrate how urban form is shaped by both strong blueprint planning/design interventions and incremental historicaal and morphological evolutions. The course will highlight fundamentals of shaping and composing cities and the main elements of urbanism - the neighborhood, the block, the square, the street and the building. The course also reviews the contemporary ideals in urban planning and design - current paradigms in urbanism.

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course requirements, students should be able:

  • To advance in the deeper understanding of urban history, theory, urban form of urban design at the scale of building types, and of the translation of these into regulating instruments, such as urban codes.
  • To identify main elements of urbanism, those that compose and shape cities and to suggest most appropriate ways to resolve multi-dimensional urban problems in different contexts and scales.
  • To explain the thought and design process (criteria) behind certain urbanisms, i.e. ideals, trends and paradigms in urban planning and design.
  • To understand the historical roots of urban design, criticisms of modern planning and design, concepts of space and place, urban sustainability issues, and urban design practice.
  • To independently assess and critically evaluate the dynamic forces and processes that are associated with urbanism, and have the necessary analytical skills to pursue such urban design and city planning solutions for sustainable urban growth and development as future urbanists - planners and designers.

Course disposition

Through lectures, discussions, readings, and case presentations, the course will focus on some of the significant themes in urban form and history of cities as well as the current urban condition of our cities.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Three years of studies in city urban planning, architecture, town planning, urban design or landscape architecture. This course is not open to international exchange students.

Recommended prerequisites

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A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Alexander, Christopher, Murray Silverstein, and Sara Ishikawa. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
Congress for the New Urbanism. Charter of the New Urbanism, New Edition, Edited by Emily Talen New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014.
Collage City, Rowe, Colin, and Fred Koetter. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1978.
Sitte, Camillo, City Planning According to Artistic Principles. Wien: Carl Graeser, 1889.
City Design: Modernist, Traditional, Green and Systems Perspectives by Jonathan Barnett, New York: Routledge 2011.
Cullen, Gordon. The Concise Townscape. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1961.
Kostof, Spiro. The City Assembled: The Elements of Urban Form through History. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992 + Kostof, Spiro. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993.
Lynch, Kevin. Good City Form, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1984
Space is the Machine: Configurational Theory of Architecture Hillier, 2007 London

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


  • INL1 - Essay Paper 1, 1.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • INL2 - Essay Paper 2, 1.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • SEM2 - Seminars, 1.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • TEN2 - Examination, 2.0 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

Examination (TEN2; 2.0 credits)
Paper 1 (INL1; 1.5 credits)
Paper 2 (INL2; 1,5 credits)
Seminars (SEM2; 1.0 credit)

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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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

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web AG2182

Offered by

Main field of study

Built Environment

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Ryan Locke Tigran Haas (