Theory and Practice of Urbanity

Subject ABPL90097 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3-4 hours of lectures and/or seminars per week
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours (estimated)

Admission to a Masters program in the Melbourne School of Design and completion of 702-421/621 Urban Design Theory, or permission of the subject coordinator.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

This research-led subject introduces the concept of urbanity, its history and key theoretical foundations, ideas and controversies associated with the term and its use. It focuses on the concept of urbanity in culturally diverse contexts, invites critical thinking and discussion of urban essence and its cultural specificity. the subject is conducted in two parts/formats. The first is lecture-based, connecting established definitions of urbanity with contemporary thinking about urban phenomena. It also aims to establish an atmosphere of heuristic and critical thinking within the class. The second part of the subject is a series of seminars based on an established creative and critical atmosphere within the class. The emphasis shifts from the adoption to the production of ideas.


Students are expected to define, present and discuss urbanities of their own cultures and cities, explore the potential of cross-cultural comparisons, critically address issues such as cultural specificity and differences of urbanity and the possibility/impossibility of translation of the term, and to contribute to knowledge about chengshi shenghuo, gradskost, kwan pen muang, l'urbain, l'urbanite, toshisei, urbanitaurbanity.


Class contribution (10%), one-hour class test focusing on the material covered in the first part of the subject (35%), an essay of not more than 3000 words which presents students' own research on an approved topic in pre-publication format (55%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students develop an understanding of the concept of urbanity in a variety of cultural contexts, and the ability to think critically about the issues it raises. Students will also develop the following skills:

  • Analytical skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • High level oral and written communication skills.
  • Understanding of cross-cultural issues.
  • Ability to retrieve and analyse information from multiple sources.
Related Course(s): Master of Architecture
Master of Architecture
Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Urban Design
Master of Urban Design

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