Course Title: Urbanism: History and Theory

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Urbanism: History and Theory

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


320H Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: Graham Crist

Course Coordinator Phone: Contact via email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 100.09.02

Course Coordinator Availability: Contact via email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

ARCH 1396 Case Studies in Urban Design

Course Description

Urbanism: History and Theory introduces you to the key ideas, precedents and theoretical discourse in urban design, both current and historical. It provides a critical understanding of the discipline and an intellectual framework through which you can establish a position on future urban design practice. Seminal texts, key practitioners, exemplary projects and speculative proposals are curated to highlight critical issues in urbanism historically and currently. These issues include: design process and urban morphology; economic and political frameworks; technological, industrial and infrastructural development; and socio-political policies in design.

Course content provides you with a comprehensive overview of urban design practice and a detailed understanding of the mechanisms producing and affecting urban space. Examples from local and international contexts are presented. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
Identify, analyse and interpret key practices and projects in urban design history, theory and contemporary discourse;
Interpret and evaluate urban design theories and practices at abstract and practical levels;
Evaluate the intellectual frameworks and design methodologies applied to urban design practice;
Apply and effectively communicate intellectual and practical urban design methods, theories and projects graphically, verbally and textually.

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes in this course:

Identify key urban design projects and practices from a variety of historical and geographical contexts and communicate their significance;

Comprehend the relationship between urban design projects and ideas through key precedents;

Interpret analyse and critique a selection of intellectual frameworks and projects in the history of urban design

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities including:

Lectures and smaller group tutorials

Reading assignments and written essays

Formal presentations, in-class discussion and peer feedback

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.
More specifically, a list of key reference texts and online resources will be provided and regularly updated.

Relevant material will be placed on reserve through the RMIT Swanston Library during semester in which this course is offered.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Tasks:

Short critical reflections - 50% You will prepare 8 x 400-word critical texts responding and exploring two or more of the key areas discussed in each lecture appears, observing how these play out in specific cities, towns or buildings. Sketches, Diagrams, Images may be included.    Project - 50% This project will summarize your precedent study as well as reflection. You will select a city (or urban project) and link it to a critical idea in the discourse of urban design theory.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Equitable Assessment Unit if you would like to find out more.

An assessment charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which are described and referenced in a single document:;ID=ln1kd66y87rc