The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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Patterns in Urban History and Development HIST5539A

Term 1, 2013-14 
Department of History, CUHK

Lecturer:Prof. Ian Morley
Phone: (852) 3943-7116
Office: Room 129, Fung King Hey Building

TA: Ms Hui Lin

Lecture Time:6.30-8.15 pm, Fridays

Lecture Venue: Sino Building, Lecture Theatre 2

Language: English

Course Description and Aims

This module provides an introductory survey of the history of urban development from the ancient period to the end of the twentieth century. It focuses on the forces that have led to the development of cities in the past, and achieves this through the lens of a multi-disciplinary perspective and the utilisation of various methodologies. Such a standpoint is adopted in order to allow for the exploration of the impacts of matters like politics, economics, culture and identity, art and architecture, intellectual thought, law, transportation, and military technology upon urban society at different times in history, and to recognise how they influenced the design and shape of the built environment, and so city living. Central to the programme is the use of comparative analyses which assist in identifying and contrasting patterns of urban change. As such differences in urban design that became evident in the past will be made clear. Furthermore such an approach helps illuminate and clarify the imprint upon urban space and the urban mind of agents affecting the urban development process, including visions and concepts (built and unbuilt) that have swayed social development. Importantly too in utilising this analytical perspective students are granted opportunities to test hypotheses under the guidance of their teacher about the causes and effects of urban transition, in so doing helping explicitly comprehend the narrative of historical urban development in both factual and conceptual terms.

The course is designed with particular outcome-based learning objectives in mind:

  1. To develop an understanding of the causes of urban development and the various agents that act upon cities (e.g. cultural, social, environmental, economic, legal, etc.) so as to expand already held knowledge about urban places across the world.
  2. To recognise the relationship between the evolution of the design of urban settlements and the nature of societies.
  3. To know how and why various contexts affect the shape and appearance of urban places within distinct historical periods.
  4. To train to see and read urban places through the use of maps and various visual sources in order to recognise distinct architectural and urban design styles belonging to particular eras of the past.
  5. To demonstrate historical knowledge via a small tutorial presentation.
  6. To exhibit critical thinking and basic research skills through the writing of academic essays.

By achieving these objectives students shall collect grades that contribute towards their end of term score. For further details of the how the course grade is given please refer to the section ‘Grading’.