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Regular version of the site

Urban Histories

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
1 year, 2 semester


Chichagova, Maria

Course Syllabus


Through comprehensive exploration of the most ambitious urban visioning coming from various epochs students learn to gather and analyse information and knowledge related to both urban development theories and urban realities. Students are encouraged to read texts and use audiovisual material to develop their understanding of the cases, and represent it to the group in ways that evoke discussions and lead to the understanding of the urbanism as creative and critical practices. By carrying out such analysis students will be able to produce their own critical texts on the urban future by the end of the course. Block 1 will guide students through the history of urban and regional planning, explaining how—in various moments across history—ambitions to improve the living environment and solve the most acute social and economic problems helped to formulate effective socio-spatial concepts for the city. Block 2 is an advanced seminar in history and theory of urban design and urban planning in Russia within the larger context of Russian culture and politics. The goal of the course is to highlight key ideas and attitudes that shaped the design of Russian cities; understand their relationship to the global theory and practice of urbanism; examine their origin and nature, and their relationship with the built projects.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to frame the city form within a historical perspective; to present the key socio-spatial concepts for the cities and explain their origins; to critically assess urban and regional planning policies
  • to familiarize students with the history of Russian and Soviet City Planning within the larger cultural and political context of the country
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • to understand key socio-spatial concepts and a basic repertory of urban and regional development in Global North
  • to recognize the relationship between urbanism, politics, urban governance, economy, and other associated fields
  • to understand key policies and debates that affected the shape of European and American cities
  • to have an informed opinion about Soviet urban history, and be able to identify different periods and key ideas
  • to understand the context, forces and ideas that shaped Russian cities
  • to make an intellectual connection between global and Russian history of urbanism
  • to acquire familiarity with the form and history of Russian cities and their unique features
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Planning genealogies and visionary ideas of urban development
  • Planning after WWII: regional and urban planning policies and the new social movement
  • Planning in the age of agglomeration economies and global warming
  • The city-forming function of the World Expo
  • The Byzantine Roots of Russian Culture
    Russian Christian Tradition. Early towns and the Theory of City Form.
  • Affinities with the West, Love of the East
    The Silk Route. The Hanseatic League. The Story of St.Petersburg. Regulating Russian Cities before 1917.
  • Town and Revolution. The Russian Avant Garde
  • European Architects in the USSR
    European Planning Concept and the USSR
  • The Socialist City
    The New Economic Policy. Cooperatives and other forms of communal living.
  • The Cold War
    Americanizm in the USSR. Cultural Diplomacy: On Two Sides of the Iron Curtain.
  • The Khrushev Era
    Art and Architecture of Advanced Socialism. Architectures of the Socialist Countries.
  • The end of Central Planning and the Architecture without Ideology?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Attendance
  • non-blocking Seminar participation - Block 1
  • non-blocking Essay - Block 1
  • non-blocking Seminar participation - Block 2
  • non-blocking Individual visual research work
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 semester)
    0.15 * Attendance + 0.15 * Essay - Block 1 + 0.25 * Individual visual research work + 0.2 * Seminar participation - Block 1 + 0.25 * Seminar participation - Block 2


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Emily Talen. (1999). Sense of Community and Neighbourhood Form: An Assessment of the Social Doctrine of New Urbanism. Urban Studies, 8, 1361.
  • Hall, P. (2014). Cities of Tomorrow : An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design Since 1880 (Vol. Fourth edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=761791
  • Hall, P. G. (2002). Urban and Regional Planning: Vol. 4th ed. Routledge.
  • Harvey, D. (2014). Rebel Cities : From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (Vol. Unabridged). [S.l.]: Verso. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=729943
  • Jacobs, J. (1992). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1280725
  • John Friedmann. (1986). The World City Hypothesis. Development and Change, 1, 69. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.1986.tb00231.x
  • Sassen, S. (2004). The Global City: Introducing a Concept. Brown Journal of World Affairs, 11(2), 27–43.
  • Seghezzo, L. (2009). The five dimensions of sustainability. Environmental Politics ; Volume 18, Issue 4, Page 539-556 ; ISSN 0964-4016 1743-8934. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644010903063669
  • Zachmann, K., & Oldenziel, R. (2009). Cold War Kitchen : Americanization, Technology, and European Users. MIT Press.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • David Harvey. (1970). Social Processes And Spatial Form: An Analysis Of The Conceptual Problems Of Urban Planning. Papers in Regional Science, 1, 47. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1435-5597.1970.tb01477.x
  • Le Corbusier. (2013). Towards a New Architecture. Dover Publications.