SO451      Half Unit
Cities by Design

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Suzanne Hall STC.S212


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Cities Programme, MSc in City Design and Social Science and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

SO451 is a capped course and we can only accept 32 students. If you are not registered on the MSc City Design and Social Design please submit an e-mail to Suzanne Hall motivating your inclusion on the course, ONCE you have attended the first introductory lecture where we will be available to respond to individual questions.

Course content

The course examines the relationship between built form and its political, social and cultural relations in contemporary urban landscapes. By introducing students to established and emerging approaches to design, the course investigates how the design of our complex urban environments shapes and is shaped by  the people who live in them, and the urgencies of time and place. The course focuses on current urban research across diverse urban contexts and attempts to reconcile the often complex inter-connections between urban theory, research, policy and practice. A range of contemporary cities form the base for the course, and these are explored through urban design milieu and architectures including: design as ideology, design as observation, and the architectures of infrastructure, evidence and insurgency.


10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Reading week: week 6

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Written feedback is given within two weeks of the essay submission, and in addition a writing seminar is incorporated in the course in preparation for the summative assessed essay.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course. We simultaneously engage with literatures by architects (as a broadly defined practice) and a range of social scientists. These include architects exploring new modes of practice and research, for example: Bremner, Burdett, Davis, Easterling, Hall, Hernandez, Lokko, King, Kurgan, Mehrotra and Weizmann, as well as social scientists exploring design and city space, for example: Datta, Hayden, Holston, Jacobs, Madden, Roy, Sennett, Scott, Simone, and Tonkiss.


Essay (75%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Presentation (25%) in the MT.

An illustrated course essay of not more than 5,000 words to be submitted by 4pm on the first Tuesday of LT. Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to all copies, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S116. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.Attendance at seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 10.5
Merit 67.1
Pass 19.7
Fail 2.6

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2017/18: 28

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 100%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)