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GAP3034 - Urban Landscapes


Modernism and Urban Planning


Analysing Urban Morphology






This module will expand your knowledge and understanding of how urban landscapes change in shape over time. It uses urban morphology, the study of urban form, as a basis to explore geographical, archaeological, architectural and historical transformations in towns and cities. Using case-studies the module interprets various architectural and planning influences that shaped European urban landscapes in the past, and their symbolism and meaning. This requires a retrospective look at the history of urban form in Europe covering the period from Antiquity to the present day, focusing on the forms that urban landscapes take and the influences of changing fashions in urban design and planning. The module’s intellectual basis is provided principally by the work of cultural-historical and urban geographers, particularly ‘urban morphologists’ who have long engaged with understanding the processes that shape towns and cities. The module material requires students to engage themselves with these scholarly debates, but also to think about the policy implications of this academic research on urban form, and especially its uses and applications in contemporary urban planning, in areas such as development control and the conservation of historic built environments. The emphasis throughout the module is therefore placed on exploring scholarly discourses on historical urban landscape formation and linking these with the policy and planning demands and requirements of twenty-first century Western cities.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing the module you will be able to: Identify the principal formative periods of European urban design and planning; Assess the contribution of particular urban designs and plans, past and present, to debates on how urban landscapes should be formed; Understand social and cultural processes that shape urban landscapes, both in historical and contemporary contexts through case study examples; Understand how historic urban landscapes are managed in contemporary contexts; Critically evaluate what academics (ie. geographers and historians), and practitioners (ie. architects and planners), have written on urban landscapes; Synthesise interdisciplinary concepts and ideas used in the study of urban landscapes.


Dr Keith Lilley


Characterise the built form of European urban landscapes; Recognise cultural processes that shape urban landscapes; Understand why urban landscapes require management and control; Evaluate the work of academics and practitioners who study urban landscapes; Synthesise key concepts and ideas used in the study of urban landscapes; Think and argue critically; Undertake problem-solving; Work collaboratively independently; Communicate effectively, both visually and in writing; Apply theoretical (abstract) ideas to practical (life-like) scenarios; Work as part of a team; Be creative and imaginative. Manage time effectively, meeting deadlines and commitments; Prepare for further study in fields of urban planning.



Supplementary notes

It will be assumed that students taking this module are familiar with and understand the material addressed in one or more of GGY1005, ARP1003, ARP 1004, ARP2004, GGY2041 or GGY2042. Students who have not taken ANY of these modules are advised to undertake additional preparation prior to taking this module.