A Global History of Urban Design II

Lecture A Global History of Urban Design II (052-0802)
Organizer: Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design
Lecturers: Prof.dr.ir. Tom Avermaete
Time: Thursdays, 09.45-11.30
Location: HIL E4

Madelon Vriesendorp, The City of the Captive Globe, 1972 © Madelon Vriesendorp

Course description

This course, together with Eine Geschichte des Städtebaus I / A Global History of Urban Design I that was offered in the HS 2022, provides an overview of the development of cities and urban design from the very beginning until today. It specifically challenges students to value this history on a broader, global scale, highlighting cross-cultural developments. The course aims to extend this field of knowledge beyond the focus on urban developments in Europe and North America, taking into account the various instances of cultural cross-fertilization that build up a global history of cities and urban design. From the earliest human settlements in India, Turkey and the Near East, the survey examines the traditional, pre-modern and modern concepts that have historically had a bearing on urban development, up to and including the dynamic growth of contemporary cities in Asia and Africa.

This course was developed together with Prof. Janina Gosseye (TU Delft).

Time and Location

The course will take place on Thursday mornings from 09.45 to 11.30 in room HIL E4.

Corona Measures

Please make sure to respect the ETH Coronavirus guidelines. Current rules and regulations can be found here.

Course overview

23.02.2023 2.01: The Long 20th Century and Its Challenges - SCRIPT 2.01 
02.03.2023 2.02: Housing and the Industrial City - SCRIPT 2.02 
09.03.2023 2.03: Cities and Ideologies - SCRIPT 2.03 
16.03.2023 2.04: Envisioning Urban Utopias - SCRIPT 2.04 
23.03.2023 No Lecture (Seminar week)
30.04.2023 2.05: Reconstructing the City, Constructing New Towns - SCRIPT 2.05 
06.04.2023 No Lecture
13.04.2023 No Lecture (Easter break)
20.04.2023 2.06: New Capitals for New Democracies, New Institutions for Old Democracies - SCRIPT 2.06 
27.04.2023 2.07: Rethinking Masterplanning - SCRIPT 2.07 
04.05.2023 2.08: Countercultural Experiments with Urbanity - SCRIPT 2.08 
11.05.2023 2.09: Finding Meaning in the Postmodern City - SCRIPT 2.09 
18.05.2023 2.10: Open-ended Strategies for Imploding Cities (online lecture) - SCRIPT 2.10  Global History of Urban Design: A History - Chapter 9 
17.08.2023 Colloquium - Slides 


Attendance to all lectures is expected and strongly recommended.
The lectures will be recorded and made available through the ETH Video Services.
For each lecture, a script can be downloaded from the Avermaete Chair website two days before the lecture.
This script is conceived as a working tool and we recommend you bring a print-out to the lecture to use in your note-taking.

Further / Additional readings

At the end of each lecture-script you will find the list of further readings in relation to that specific lecture.
As additional reference material, the recently published book by Prof. Tom Avermaete and Prof. Janina Gosseye (TU Delft) is recommended: Avermaete, Tom, and Janina Gosseye. Urban Design in the 20th Century : a History. Zürich: gta Verlag, 2021. It covers in great depth the individual projects and time periods taught in the lecture series. A book-sale will be held after the first lecture on February 23rd, 2023. Students can also purchase the book directly from the ETH Store on Hönggerberg.


Assessment by written examination.
Questions will cover the compulsory scripts and lectures.

Exam for the BSc Architecture Students

Students from the Bachelor of Architecture will do one examination that covers both courses (A Global History of Urban Design I and II) in the Sessions-Prüfungen FS2023 (2 hours).
The date of the mentioned exam is Tuesday 29th August 2023. The colloquium will be on Thursday 17th August from 10:00 to 11:30.

Exam for the GESS Students

GESS students that only follow the course in the second semester also have their examination in the Sessions-Prüfungen FS2023 (1 hour).
The date of the mentioned exam is Tuesday 29th August 2023. The colloquium will be on Thursday 17th August from 10:00 to 11:30.


The lectures are held in English.
The scripts supporting the lectures are offered in English.
The exam questions will be bilingual (English/German). Students are free to write the exam in English, German or French.


Chair for the History and Theory of Urban Design
Prof.dr.ir. Tom Avermaete
HIL D 75.2

Student assistant:

Pierre Eichmeyer (eichmeyer@arch.ethz.ch)