URBS 200—Urban Spaces People Places

Term: Fall, 2003

Instructor: Tony Filipovitch, 106d Morris Hall, xt.5035, 388-2264 (home)

Office Hours: MWF 9-10 & 1-2; R 5:30-6:00

NOTE: Supporting material for this course is available from MSU’s UCompass Educator site.



HEDMAN, R. 1984. Fundamentals of Urban Design. Washington, DC: Planner’s Press.

CHING, F.D.K. 1998. Design Drawing. New York: John Wiley & Sons.


Course Objectives:

This course is designed to sensitize you to the elements of urban places which make cities great and memorable.

By the end of the term you will be able to:

1.      Read and speak intelligently to others about the elements of urban space and the relationships among city people;

2.      Develop ideas of one’s own about “great good places,” and the pleasures of place in cities;

3.      Use a variety of techniques (visual as well as conceptual) to explore the city and test one’s ideas;

4.      Appreciate “beauty” and “place,” and be able to describe and defend them to others.


Instructional Methodology and Teaching Strategies:

A variety of techniques will be employed throughout the course. While there will be reading and lectures and tests, this course is heavily weighted to action and experience and capturing those experiences in written and visual terms. Above all, my teaching style is based on an "adult-centered" model which assumes that you are active participants, each responsible for your own learning, and I am a facilitator and resource who helps you advance your project. My goal for myself as a teacher is to "take you someplace you would never before have gone alone."




You are expected to read the assigned sections of the texts prior to their due date (see Calendar below). In general, one day of the week will be devoted to discussing your reading and to lecture & presentations, one day to field projects (and discussing what one is learning from them), and one day to working on your skills in visual presentation of ideas.. Notice that discussion is central—I would much rather have a good discussion than have you listen to a good lecture.

Design Journals:

If you are not already familiar with journaling, you will be by the end of this term. Each of you will maintain a journal of observations, ideas, reflections, and conclusions. For this course, the journal will focus on the elements of urban places and what makes them great and memorable. For many of you, this will be done mostly through words, but I expect each of you to practice and to develop your “eye” and your “hand”—the visual image and your ability to capture it. You must make at least one entry in your journal each week, although I encourage you to carry it with you everywhere and make daily (if not more frequent) entries. You will submit pages from your journals for review at least 3 times during the Semester (no later than September 29, November 3, and December 8). I will comment on the first two submissions, but the grade will be assigned only upon the last submission.


Yes, Virginia, there will be tests. Two of them (see Calendar below). Their purpose will be to provide a summary and review of the course. The tests will be computer-based (using UCompass—look under “Exams”) and can be taken at your convenience. They will be “open-book,” but be aware that they will also be timed (if you know what you are looking for and where to find it, the book might help; but if you have not previously read the book, you will run out of time).

Final Project:

The proof of what you have learned in this course will be your ability to envision a great, good place and make it real. As the final project for the course, you will work in groups of 3 to transform a (specific) classroom space on campus into a place that expresses what is good, true, and beautiful. The rest of the class will gather in and experience this place, and assess their experience of it. Your group will provide a written report, explaining what you did and why, how the users experienced it, and your assessment of the success of your project.


Course Expectations:

Attendance & Class Participation:

Students play an important role in educating and challenging each other. This can only happen if there is consistent attendance. I expect you to attend. I may take the class roll. Unexcused absence (prior notification is required—even if I am not available, my voice mail and e-mail always are) can result in loss of points toward one’s grade.


There are 100 points for the course, divided as follows:

1) Tests (2 @ 25 pts.) 50

3) Final Project 20

4) Design Journal 30


The final grade may be based on a curve, but students can expect at least an A if they achieve 90, a B with 80, etc.

Other Matters:

Extra Credit: In general, I do not encourage extra credit in this class. I would rather that you put the extra effort into your regular assignments. In the event of very unusual circumstances, a maximum of 10 points may be earned by prior arrangement with me.

All assignments are due on the assigned date. There will be no makeups except for very unusual circumstances. No extensions or makeups are allowed without prior permission.

You may use any resource for your coursework, as long as you identify your sources. (Failure to do so is plagiarism and could result in an F for the course). While you may work on an assignment with classmates, you may not turn in identical (or essentially the same) reports unless the project is specifically identified as a "group project."

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities. If you area student with a documented disability, please contact me as early in the semester as possible to discuss the necessary accommodations, and/or contact the Disability Services Office at 507-389-2825 (V) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY).

Course Calendar

Week of





Intro to course/syllabus

Elements of Design

Principles of Design (Clemence, Smith, Whyte)

DD Ch.1



Kinesiology (Hall, Festinger, Human Territories) & Urbanism as a Way of Life (Wirth & Chicago School)

DD Ch. 2

Landscape Evaluation


A vocabulary (Clay, Pattern Language)

DD. Ch. 3

Anthrophysical form


Fundamentals of Design

Context & Contrast

DD. Ch. 4

FUD pp. 1-33




DD. Ch.5

FUD pp. 34-51



Spatial Definition

DD. Ch. 6

FUD pp. 52-87

Journals due


Beautification & Recreation

DD. Ch. 6

FUD pp. 88-103




DD. Ch. 7

FUD pp. 104-135



Design Review

DD. Ch. 8

FUD pp. 136-143

Test 1

Design Review Standards


Great Good Places

Great Good Places

DD. Ch. 9

“Form as a Democratic Ideal”

A Place to Live, a Place to Hate


Social Conception of Space (Suttles, Hummons)

DD. Ch. 10

“The Design of Situations”

Journals due

Enclosing behavior


Sense of Place

DD. Ch. 11

“A Gentle Deterrent to Vandalism”

A Room with a View


New Urbanism

DD. Ch. 12

Prepare Final Project

Design a Walk


Images of Place

Present Final Project

Art Crawl


Timeless Way of Building

Present Final Project



Course Evaluation


Final Journal due

Test 2




This is a selection of books & articles I will be referring to in the course. It could serve as a starting point for your own further reading & research:


ALEXANDER, C. 1967. Notes on the Synthesis of Form. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


ALEXANDER, C., S. ISHIKAWA and M. SILVERSTEIN. 1977. A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford University Press.


ALEXANDER, C., H. NEIS, A. ANNINOU and I. KING. 1987. A New Theory of Urban Design. New York: Oxford University Press.


APPLEYARD, D. 1981. Livable Streets. Berkeley: University of California Press.


ASHIHARA, Y. 1983. The Aesthetic Townscape. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


BACON, E. 1974. Design of Cities, Rev. Ed. New York: The Viking Press.


BARNETT, J. 1982. An Introduction to Urban Design. New York: Harper & Row.


BECHTEL, R. 1977. Enclosing Behavior. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross.


BECKER, F.D. 1977. Housing Messages. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross.


BOWDEN, C. and L. KREINBERG. 1981. Street Signs Chicago: Neighborhood and Other Illusions of Big-City Life. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.


CHING, F.D.K. 1979. Architecture: Form, Space and Order. New York: VanNostrand Rheinhold and Company.


CLAY, G. 1973. Close-Up: How to Read the American City. New York: Praeger Publishers.


CULLEN, G. 1961. The Concise Townscape. New York: Van Nostrand Rheinhold Co.


DEASY, C.M. 1974. Design for Human Affairs. New York: John Wiley & Sons.


EDWARDS, B. 1989. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.


FISCHER, C.S. 1976. The Urban Experience. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.


FREEDMAN, J. 1975. Crowding and Behavior. New York: The Viking Press.


GELFANT, B.H. 1954. The American City Novel. Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press.


GREENBIE, B.B. 1976. Design for Diversity. Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co.


HALL, E.T. 1966. The Hidden Dimension. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.


HUMMON, D.M. 1990. Commonplaces: Community Ideology and Identity in American Culture Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


JAYE, M.C. and A.C. WATTS, eds. 1981. Literature and the Urban Experience. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


LOFLAND, L.H. 1973. A World of Strangers: Order and Action in Urban Public Space. New York: Basic Books.


LYNCH, K., ed. 1977. Growing Up in Cities. Cambridge: The MIT Press.


NEWMAN, O. 1973. Defensible Space: Crime Prevention Through Urban Design. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.


OLDENBURG, R. 1989. The Great Good Place. New York: Paragon House.


PICKERING, J.H., ed. 1977. The City in American Literature. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers.


PUSHKAREV, B.S. 1975. Urban Space for Pedestrians. Cambridge: The MIT Press.


SCHEFLEN, A.E. 1976. Human Territories: How We Behave in Space-Time. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.


SENNETT, R. 1974. The Fall of Public Man: On the Social Psychology of Capitalism. New York: Random House.


SHARPE, W. and L.WALLOCK, eds. 1987. Visions of the Modern City: Essays in History, Art, and Literature. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.


SIEGEL, A. 1981. The Image of the American City in Popular Literature 1820-1870. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press.


STEELE, F. 1981. The Sense of Place. Boston: CBI Publishing Co.


SUTTLES, G.D. 1968. The Social Order of the Slum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


SUTTLES, G.D. 1972. The Social Construction of Communities. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


VICKERY, R.L., Jr. 1972. Anthrophysical Form: Two Families and Their Neighborhood Environments. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.


WIEMER, D.R. 1966. The City as Metaphor. New York: Random House.


WEINSTEIN, C.S. and T.G. DAVID, eds. 1987. Spaces for Children: The Built Environment and Child Development. New York: Plenum Press.


WHITE, M. and L. WHITE. 1962. The Intellectual Versus the City. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


SHYTE, W.H. 1980. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Washington, DC: The Conservation Foundation.


2002 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 22 August 2002