11.489 The Growth and Spatial Structure of Cities

Fall 2005

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.)

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.
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Prof. Diane Davis

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1 hour / session