Advanced Seminar: Urban Nature and City Design

a photograph showing a canal lined with Greek revival style buildings, and showing the Philadelphia skyline in the background.

Philadelphia Waterworks. Photograph by Erica Simmons, MIT Master in City Planning, 2013. Used with permission.


MIT Course Number

11.308J / 4.213J

As Taught In

Fall 2012



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

Assignments contain examples of student work from the course.

Course Description

This course will explore the mutual influences of ideas of nature, theories of city design and planning, and practices of urban design, construction, and management. We will investigate how natural processes shape urban landscapes (from the scale of street corner to region) and how to intervene strategically in those processes in order to achieve certain goals. We will examine cases of cities that adapted successfully to natural processes and those that did not. Students will then have the opportunity to research a case of their choice and to present their findings for discussion. The subject may be historical or an an example of contemporary theory and practice. Additional information is also available at Professor Spirn's class website.

Related Content

Anne Spirn. 11.308J Advanced Seminar: Urban Nature and City Design. Fall 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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