Urban Design Theory

Subject ABPL90017 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture + 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Entry into the Melbourne School of Design or approval from the subject coordinator.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

702-421 (ABPL40010) Urban Design Theory

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Elek Pafka


Email: pafkae@unimelb.edu.au

The Eastern Precinct (building 138)
(between Doug McDonell building and Eastern Resource Centre)

Current Student: http://ask.unimelb.edu.au/
Web: http://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/

Subject Overview:

This subject explores contemporary theories and modes of critique relating to the design of the urban public realm. Emphasis is on how urban physical form responds to the economic, cultural, political, social, aesthetic and natural forces of an urbanised area. Assignments and class papers require students to critically engage with a broad range of theoretical positions, and relate them to local conditions.

Learning Outcomes:

Having completed this subject the student is expected to:

  • Develop an understanding of contemporary theories of urban design,
  • Be able to think critically about a range of theoretical positions,
  • Have the intellectual capacity to develop innovative approaches to urban design practice.

Written and graphic assignments equivalent to 5000 words. Students must demonstrate a high level of engagement with and/or critical analysis of the subject content.

1. Journal, due end of semester (preliminary submission due mid-semester). Requires approximately 6 hours of input per week (2500 words equivalent), 50%.
2. Multi-scale urban analysis (graphic and written) 2xA3 sheets , due mid-semester 20%.
3. Essay 1500 words, due end of semester 30%.

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 contemporary theories of urban design and the ability to think critically about a range of theoretical positions, including development of the following generic skills:

  • Urban design analysis;
  • Urban design fieldwork;
  • Essay writing;
  • Verbal presentation.
Related Course(s): Master of Architecture
Master of Architecture
Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Urban Design
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point Master of Architecture
300 point Master of Architecture
Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects

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