Architecture (ARCH) 400

Urbanism (Revision 2)


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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

ARCH 400: Urbanism is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course also contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

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Architecture 400: Urbanism introduces the study of urban character—built form, social realm, and natural systems—through a historical overview that contextualizes contemporary issues related to urban form and development. Students will be introduced to the theories, language, and vocabulary of urbanism through readings, web-based lectures, directed observation, and critical thought. The course highlights key individuals (practitioners, scholars, and patrons) whose interventions and intentions shaped cities. Issues currently facing society, such as conservation and sustainability, will be addressed and debated.

Course Outline

The Study Guide for Architecture 400: Urbanism consists of an overview and six units.

Overview: The Morphology of the City

Unit 1: Cities of Antiquity

  • 1.1 The Origins of Cities
  • 1.2 Greek City States
  • 1.3 Rome and Empire

Unit 2: The City as an Economic Stage

  • 2.1 The Medieval City
  • 2.2 The Renaissance City
  • 2.3 The Spread of Classicism

Unit 3: Transformations of the 19th Century

  • 3.1 The Industrial City
  • 3.2 Haussmann's Paris
  • 3.3 The City Beautiful Movement

Unit 4: Reformist Roots of the Modern Movement

  • 4.1 The Reformers
  • 4.2 Garden and Park
  • 4.3 The Modern Movement

Unit 5: The Post-WWII North American City

  • 5.1 The 20th Century Suburb
  • 5.2 New World Capitals

Unit 6: Contemporary Issues of the City

  • 6.1 The Contemporary City
  • Conclusion

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Define urban morphology and its component elements through the evolution of the city with an emphasis on the emergence and creation of archetypal urban space.
  • Describe the characteristics of the typology of urban space based on a familiarity with historic examples.
  • Distinguish among traditionalist, modernist, and postmodernist approaches to (or theories of) urbanism, with a particular emphasis on the late-19th to late-20th century changes to the North American city.
  • Analyze existing urban conditions and urban issues through the application of conceptual and graphic tools typically used by the contemporary urbanist/architect.

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for Architecture 400 you must achieve an overall grade of C+ (67%) for the entire course. The passing grade for each quiz is 60%.

The weightings for the course assessments are as follows:

  • Five quizzes = 30% of the overall grade. Each quiz contains five multiple‑choice questions.
  • Six Collections = 70% of the overall grade. You are assigned six collections. Once you have completed them, you will have researched nine topics, thereby compiling your own resource on urbanism.

There are no exams in this course.

Course Materials


LeGates, R. T., & Stout, F. (2016). The city reader (6th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Bacon, Edmund N. (1976). Design of Cities. New York: Viking Penguin

Morris, A.E.J. (1994). History of Urban Form: Before the Industrial Revolutions (3rd ed.) Harlow, Eng.: Longman.

Online Materials

Course Home Page (online): The course home page houses all the online components of your course.

Study Schedule (online): The study schedule on your course home page includes the Course Information, the seven units of the Study Guide, links to the online readings, and links to your assignments.

Course Information (online): The Course Information provides specific information about how to proceed through the course. Read the Course Information carefully before you begin reading the Study Guide.

Study Guide (online): The Study Guide units are embedded in the Study Schedule on the course home page.

Assignments The assignments for this course take the form of Collections; you will find instructions on the course home page. Also, be sure to read all elements and links in the Tips for Making a Great Collection on the Collection 1 page.

Forms: Forms you may need are available through the myAU portal.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, June 9, 2017.

View previous syllabus