The Growth and Spatial Structure of Cities

Aerial photos showing the growth and structure of Riyadh.

Aerial photos taken in 1972 (left) and 1990 (right), showing the growth and structure of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia over 18 years. (Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2005



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

This course features a full list of readings and assignments, as well as a selection of exemplary students' work.

Course Description

This course examines the economic, political, social, and spatial dynamics of urban growth and decline in cities and their key component areas (downtown, suburbs, etc.). Topics include impacts of industrialization, technology, politics, and social practices on cities. Students will examine the role of public and private sector activities, ranging from zoning and subsidies to infrastructure development and real estate investment, in affecting urban growth and decline. Readings are both theoretical and empirical, with considerable thought paid to comparative and historical differences.

Related Content

Diane Davis. 11.489 The Growth and Spatial Structure of Cities. Fall 2005. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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