City in Theory. Urban Matters and Design

Seminar The City in Theory (052-0850-20)
Organizer: Chair of Prof. Avermaete
Lecturers: Dr. Hans Teerds
Time: Spring 2020, Fridays, 8-10 am
Location: ETH Zürich Hönggerberg, HIL C 10.2
 

Cities are the most common human habitat. While today more than half the global population lives in cities, it is expected that within the next few decades this amount will have increased to two-thirds. Not surprisingly, the development of cities forms the topic of discussion among a wide range of people. Politicians, activists, anthropologists, philosophers, economists, citizens, policy makers all made explicit statements about the development of cities (how to deal with heritage, with nature, with slums) as much as about their functioning (public infrastructure, public spaces, the government of neighborhoods). This discourse, although challenged by the current growth of cities, has a long pedigree in history. Already from the establishment of Greek and Roman city-states, the city has provoked theorists to think and write about its form and functioning, appearance and structure. Throughout the history theorists, artists, writers and social scientists have reflected on the city and the new societal developments it brings to light, both positive and negative.
Architects and urban planners have also made valuable contributions to these discussions, not only in writings but also in projects, proposals and designs. Due to their ability to read the material, functional, and phenomenological aspects of the city and their capacity to imagine alternative future scenarios, they have offered perspectives that consciously or unconsciously shape new urban environments, adapt to new societal developments, or offer better alternatives.
The ambition of this seminar-course ‘The City in Theory’ is to explore current discourses on (the future of) cities and urban developments, to understand how urban and architectural design is related to theory, and to help students reflect upon their own position regarding architectural interventions in the urban fabric. In the spring of 2020 the following topics will be discussed:
  • Smart City: the influence (digital) technology on the form and functioning of cities;
  • Public Space: the ability of citizens to develop a public life;

The handout for the course can be downloaded here .
The Word template for the reading paragraphs can be downloaded here .

STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE (and compulsory and further readings)

Seminar 01 – Friday February 21, 2020 - Introduction
Compulsory Readings:

Further Readings:

Lecture 01 Slides 

Seminar 02 – Friday February 28, 2020 - Smart City: Design
Compulsory Readings:

Further Readings:


Seminar 03 – Friday March 6, 2020 - Smart City: Theory
Compulsory Readings:

Further Readings:


Seminar 04 – Friday March 13, 2020 - Smart City: Drawing


Seminar 05 – Friday March 27, 2020 - Public Space: Design
Compulsory Readings:

Further Readings:


Seminar 06 – Friday April 3, 2020 - Public Space: Theory
Compulsory Readings:

Further Readings:


Seminar 07 – Friday April 24, 2020 - Public Space: Drawing

Seminar 08 – Friday May 8, 2020 - Public Space and the Smart City
Compulsory Reading:

Further Readings:


Seminar 09 – Friday May 15, 2020 - Final Presentation