Urban Structure and Function
(UP 404)

Emily Talen
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana-Campaign, Illinois, USA

Spring 2002

Instructor Talen's Comments (H-Urban: 10 June 2002):
I think Spiro Kostof's two books are great for teaching the history of the physical city. I used them both for a semester long class. They can be tedious, but there are so many visuals that the students can usually keep interested. One drawback is the dated material (Dr. Kostof passed away in 1991).

Texts | Grading | Course Paper | Class Schedule

See also the Lecture Notes for the 2003 version of this course.

Course description
This course is about the analysis of urban form, pattern, and process. It will be structured as
both an historical as well as an international exploration of how cities are patterned and the
urban processes that have had a role in creating these patterns.

Because this is an immensely complex field, we will follow our two texts closely: Spiro
Kostof’s The City Shaped and The City Assembled. These books are exemplary, graduate-level overviews of urban form and urban process. Students will be expected to read these texts
thoroughly over the course of the semester.

The course will make use of many visual images. Most of these will be taken directly from
the two Kostof texts, although not all. Images not included in the text will be made available
to students on the course website. Students will be expected to be able to identify certain
issues discussed in class in relation to these images.

This is a reading-based course. It is imperative (i.e., required) that students keep up with the
weekly reading assignments. You will do well in this course if you attend the lectures and
keep up with the readings.


Course grading will be as follows:
Midterm Exam 1 - 20%
Midterm Exam 2 - 20%
Final Exam - 35%
Paper - 25%

There are two required texts for this course:
Kostof, Spiro. 1991. The City Shaped. London. London: Thames and Hudson.
Kostof, Sprio. 1992. The City Assembled. London: Thames and Hudson.

Course Paper
Each student is required to turn in a final paper worth 25% of their grade. This is a research
paper, and as such should be based on a number of different published sources, mostly
scholarly journals. The paper topic may be selected by the student, but I will also give a
number of paper topics to the class as we go along. Paper length is 6,000 – 8,000 words.

Note the following schedule for the course paper:
The following is due Thursday, March 14:
  • abstract of paper
  • 2-page detailed outline of main points
  • annotated bibliography of at least 15 references
The final paper is due Tuesday, April 23. Late papers will not be accepted.

Course schedule

1/15 - Introduction

1/17 - The City Shaped "Introduction," pp. 9-41

1/22 - The City Shaped "Organic Patterns," pp. 43-70

1/24 - Peter Swift lecture

1/29 - The City Shaped "Organic Patterns," cont., pp. 70-94

1/31 - The City Shaped "The Grid," pp. 95-124

2/5 - The City Shaped "The Grid," cont., pp. 124-157

2/7 - Film: Excerpts from Six Classic Films of Lewis Mumford

2/12 - The City Shaped "City as Diagram," pp. 159-189

2/14 - The City Shaped "City as Diagram," cont., pp. 189-207

2/19 - The City Shaped "The Grand Manner," pp. 209-248

2/21 - The City Shaped "The Grand Manner," cont., pp. 249-277

2/26 - Film: Two films on Paris

2/28 - Midterm Exam #1

3/5 - The Urban Skyline The City Shaped, pp. 279-309

3/7 - The Urban Skyline The City Shaped, cont., pp. 309-335

3/12 - The City Assembled "Introduction" and "The City Edge," pp. 7-39

3/14 - The City Assembled "The City Edge," cont., pp. 39-69
Paper outline due

3/19 - 21 Spring Break

3/26 - Film: Levittown

3/28 - The City Assembled "Urban Divisions," pp. 71-102

4/2 - The City Assembled "Urban Divisions," cont., pp. 102-121

4/4 - The City Assembled "Public Places," pp. 123-143

4/9 - The City Assembled "Public Places, cont., pp. 144-187

4/11 - Midterm Exam #2

4/16 - The City Assembled "The Street," pp. 189-218

4/18 - The City Assembled "The Street," cont., pp. 218-243

4/23 - The City Assembled "Urban Process," pp. 245-279;
Final paper due

4/25 - The City Assembled "Urban Process," cont., pp. 279-305

4/30 - Review for Final Exam

Syllabus prepared for the H-Urban Syllabus Archive 10 March 2003.