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The University of Southampton

CENV3057 Urban Design

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the discipline of Urban Design. Students will be able to develop outline design proposals for the urban realm that integrate an understanding of contextual analysis, place making techniques and urban design theories at various scales. This module builds on knowledge and skills introduced in Design 2, and provides important requisite knowledge and skills to the design projects in the fourth year.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Distinct theories of urban design.
  • The ingredients of high quality public space at a range of scales
  • The process by which design proposals are successfully developed, and communicated.
  • The relationship between urban design proposals and their physical, cultural and social context
  • The ways in which public space and peoples engagement with it can be transformed through urban design
  • The ways in which research and analysis of an existing context can inform an appropriate basis for its future development.
  • The ways in which design projects are derived in reference to their context
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Criticise the character and performance of an urban context and use this as a basis for developing a design proposal for its transformation.
  • Identify and apply urban design theories appropriate to solving specific design problems at an urban scale.
  • Critically develop a creative and deliverable vision for a places transformation.
  • Appreciate the relationship between cultural and the physical aspects of the urban realm.
  • Identify and interpret existing urban design proposals that are relevant to your own work.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Research and study independently
  • Communication
  • Group Work
  • Solve urban design problems
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate design proposals convincingly by critically selecting and applying appropriate presentation techniques. These will include computer visualisation, graphic, written and oral skills.
  • Use analysis/research techniques to more objectively understand existing places and the ways in which they might be changed.
  • Critically apply an understanding of urban design theories and techniques to the adaptation, improvement and creation of new and existing places at the urban scale.


• The history of city form • How to build a city - The Roman Model • Urban Design theories - the power of an idea • The ingredients of high quality public space • Detailing the place • Making the connections – local distinctiveness and contextual design • Understanding the context – techniques for the analysis of an urban realm • The sustainable city • The development process – Planning, viability and delivery.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course begins with a series of lectures on core subjects, with an expectation of further private study. These provide student with an understanding of the subject and form the intellectual framework for the project work. The taught courses include – 10 lectures, 1 x 3 hour seminar on urban design theories, 1 site visit, 11 hours of tutorials in support of the assessed project work and 9 hours of collective crits and feedback. There will be three learning activities that apply and test the students' understanding of the theory presented in the lecture programme. In the first students will prepare a succinct presentation comparing and contrasting the defining characteristics of two cities of their own choosing. These presentations form a shared learning experience. The second is a group investigation into a public space or neighbourhood, applying research techniques that provide insight into the place and provide a basis for deriving recommendations for its future transformation. The final exercise is an individual design proposal for the redevelopment of that location and focuses on master planning specific changes in direct relationship to an understanding of the wider context and established urban design theory. A variety of verbal and graphical presentation techniques will be required including the use of CAD and computer graphics software.

External visits4
Preparation for scheduled sessions6
Completion of assessment task90
Wider reading or practice16
Follow-up work4
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

English Partnerships ‘ Urban Design Compendium, The image of the city'.



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

Students are expected to cover the costs associated with the printing of drawings and graphic presentations. These are typically expected to be of the order of £50 per group (typically five students per group), also depending on the quality of printing chosen.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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