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Summer Semester 2021

Wednesdays, 10h-12h

• webinar


Elements of the City: History & Theory of Urban Planning

Carsten Ruhl

In history catastrophes and crisis but also political paradigm shifts initiated gigantic urban campaigns both trying to adopt to the new situation and likewise taking this as an occasion to reorganize the society. Take for instance the Great Fire in London (1666), the earthquake in Lisboa (1755), Haussman’s modernization of Paris in the second half of the 19th century and of course the effects of industrialization, war, colonialism, pandemics and even terrorism had on city planning. With the reunification of the German states and the general change in global politics which made this possible, urban planning again entered a new chapter in the history of urban planning. At present we are witnessing a fundamental change in the way we are approaching urban space due to the pandemic crisis.

This online seminar is conceived as an introduction into the history and theory of urban planning. It is going to focus on case studies (London, Lisboa, Paris, Berlin, LeHavre, Los Angeles, New York etc.) but also takes seminal writings on urban planning as a point of departure. Participants are expected to prepare for every single session and of course to engage in the discussions we are going to have on the materials presented. At the end of the semester an essay on one of the topics discussed must be submitted. Please note there will be no „Referate“ in the classical sense due to the online format. This seminar is rather based on joint discussions and exchange.

The Chair of Architectural History of the Art History Department of the Goethe University focuses in the Summer Semester 2021 on the question of the city and on urban studies. It invites students to consider urban history as an important interdisciplinary field of knowledge that shall not be detached from the histories of art and architecture.