New undergraduate course: ARTH 281C, From Rome to Batavia–City Planning before Haussmann

ARTH 281C REVISED: From Rome to Batavia: City Planning before Haussmann.

Fall 2014

Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1:15 pm – 2:40 pm


Professor: Richard Guy


Office: Fine Arts 220A. Office hours: Thursday 12-1pm

Deliberately planned, designed cities are often considered a modern phenomenon, with pre-modern cities being considered “organic” or “emergent” in their structures and complexities. But designed cities and theories of urban planning go back at least to Babylonian and ancient Chinese civilisations, while the conditions that lead to “organic” plans are often no less traceable, in legal codes, customary laws and the actions of rulers, who shaped their cities to reflect their ideologies.

This course uses historical planning documents and recent methods of architectural analysis to examine planned cities and the ideas that informed them. Examples will be diverse, from Roman theories of city placement to the foundational plan for Baghdad, from the “swagger architecture” of Amsterdam’s burgher elite to Batavia, the embattled colonial factory that paid for it. Issues will include urban space in daily life, the display and hazards of power, and meanings embedded in representations of the city.


Lecture/ discussions, supported by assigned readings.


2 short response papers, plus midterm and final exam essays, to be submitted electronically.

In addition attendance and active participation are required and form part of the final course grade.


No reading required for the first week.


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