Theory and Lab
The course focuses on the methods of analyzing, evaluating, and recording the urban environment first hand. It emphasizes to the specific characteristics of Greek city in comparison with other urban environments (European, American etc). Students will review land inventory, analysis, and planning of sites and the infrastructure systems that serve them. They will also examine spatial organization of uses, parcelization, design of roadways and pedestrian roads, grading, utility systems, parking, traffic and off-site impacts, as well as landscaping, through a small scale field research in urban areas of Athens or other Greek cities.
The course presents both the structure of cities and ways they can be changed. Its scope includes historical forces that have produced cities, models of urban analysis, contemporary theories of urban design, and implementation strategies. Cities are studied to see how physical, social, political and economic forces interact to shape and reshape them over time. It analyzes current issues of city form in relation to city making, social structure, and physical design. Core lectures are supplemented by discussion sessions focusing on student work and field trips.
We also analyze the ways in which policies shape cities and investigate how governments implement urban design (through readings, discussions and presentations). Students gain a critical understanding of both the complex system of governance within which urban design occurs and the effective tools available for creative intervention. The class investigates the nature of the relations between built form and political purposes through examination of a variety of situations where public and private sector planning processes have been clearly motivated by political practices (or pressures), as well as situations where the political assumptions have remained more tacit.
In this point of view, the class will concentrate on the origins of the modern Greek city, focusing on the case of Athens. Planning of the urban and suburban areas, protected areas, town planning regulations and schemes, renovation and reconstruction, infrastructure networks, small scale urban interventions, public spaces, pedestrian roads and networks, and – especially – the phenomenon of illegal settlements are topics widely discussed and analyzed through the case of the metropolitan area of Athens (or other Greek cities).