Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Design Cities
Code LARC501
Coordinator Ms J Muszbek
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 20


• This module aims to enable students to appreciate the relationship between urban planning and the concrete experience of life in the city.
• It seeks to develop the skills to construct a mature reading of a particular quarter of the city, bringing together observations on relevant issues such as its infrastructure, economy, topography, history, communities and social conditions.
• The module further aims to enhance design skills to address the transition from analysis to proposition in highly complex contexts, developing strategies in response to urgent needs and pressures.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will assess the physical, social and economic context of the city, demonstrating knowledge of the theories of urban design and the ways in which architects can contribute to the planning of communities

(LO2) Students will illustrate how urban design and development has influenced the built environment of the borough

(LO3) Students will appraise – with particular reference to social, environmental and economic factors – ways in which current planning policy and development control legislation influences the development of design propositions

(LO4) Students will illustrate ways in which buildings can relate to their local context, including history, scale, use and connections

(S1) Creativity & problem solving skills: analyse, evaluate and synthesise information, and present creative solutions

(S2) Research & information literacy skills: source, critically evaluate and attribute information with clarity and rigour

(S3) Communication skills: express ideas clearly, as well as listen to, present, challenge and defend ideas effectively both orally and in writing to meet the expectations of a professional working environment

(S4) Team work & interpersonal skills: work well in groups, be adaptable, able to discuss and debate and respond to constructive feedback, show respect for diverse values and beliefs

(S6) Critical thinking skills: open-mindedness, critical awareness, ability to question, reflect, propose



Commencing with a briefing to introduce key ideas about urbanism, planning and London, subsequent guided walks will orientate the direction of the work: examining techniques and strategies for uncovering and recording the city as found and attempting to find synthetic moments between different types of knowledge. From these rich internal inputs students will be asked to develop personal insights into particular aspects of the contemporary urban condition.

Working in groups, students will construct a document that synthesises multiple themes and perspectives, recording the physical manifestation of change in the area, including the role of city-scaled infrastructure, planning policy, economic change and development, cultural shifts and expectations, conservation and urban morphology. Arising from this, students will then develop individual propositions from a critical position on the work of the group.

Students will be expected to consider, communicate and appraise the ro le of the architect / urban designer in a complex, plural and dynamic situation, developing an understanding of urban design within the professional and legislative context, considering the influence of economics, and the morphology and typologies of a particular part of London.

The module will consider infrastructure and the planning of transport, public space, urban ecologies and the anticipated impact of climate change on resilience and adaptation of the urban fabric.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will learn through the following range of teaching and events –

• Briefing introducing the key learning principles of the module.
• Thematic walks each with a focused learning agenda.
• Tutorials developing group and individual work.
• Feedback from experts and peers at crits.

They are simultaneously working three days in Practice for an Architectural practice.

Scheduled learning and teaching –

Description – Briefing, thematic walks of city, group tutorials, crits
Learning hours – 25% – 50 hours

Guided independent study –

Description – Directed activities and self-managed learning
Learning hours – 75% – 150 hours

Total Learning Hours for the Module – 200 hours

Attendance – 100%

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           50

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 150


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Portfolio: Group mapping and design project Resit available – Yes, capped at the pass mark of 50%    50       
Portfolio: Individual design project Resit available – Yes, capped at the pass mark of 50%    50       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.