2023-2024 / ARCH3328-1

Region 3 - theory and project of urban space


40h Th

Number of credits

 Master in urban planning and territorial development (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Bachelor in architecture5 crédits 


Martina Barcelloni Corte, Cédric Wehrle


Martina Barcelloni Corte

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course deals with models, concepts and techniques of urbanism between the 18th and 21st centuries, relating theoretical discourse to the project. The transition from the modern city to the contemporary city and the challenges related to the new urban transition will be described through the analysis of a series of key theoretical positions. The dialectic between, on the one hand, the conception of the city as a constructed artifact and, on the other hand, the attribution of a structuring role to open space, will constitute the guiding thread of the course. The relationship between open and built-up space has changed radically over the last 60 years, during which urbanisation has evolved significantly towards increasingly 'diffused' forms, dissolving old binary oppositions such as centre/periphery or town/country and producing urbanised systems of a previously inconceivable size. Large parts of the territory located outside historic centres, often in areas previously classified as 'rural', have undergone rapid urbanisation processes, leading some theorists to think in terms of 'planetary urbanisation' and allowing many neologisms to emerge. The "City-Territory" linking Geneva to St. Gallen, the "Città diffusa" of Northern Italy, the "Radiant Periphery" of Flanders or the "Desakota" in China, are just some of the figures capable of effectively describe the emergence of a radically new urban condition increasingly linked to the dispersion of the urban fabric in the agricultural landscape and where horizontal rather than vertical relationships characterise and articulate the territory.
"Anyone who compares today a portion of urban tissue built in the 20th century with one built in the 19th century or in previous times cannot but notice the radical difference in coverage ratios, resulting from an imposing expansion, in the 20th century city, of open space." (B. Secchi, Prima Lezione di Urbanistica, 2000)
In this perspective, the evolution of the city - even in the last four centuries - can be read through the evolution of its open spaces. Within the expanded spaces of the contemporary city, the architectural object assumes an 'autonomy' previously unknown, a freedom that destroys previous grammars and syntaxes, hierarchies and orders. Today, with the full recognition of open space as a structuring element of the city and the territory, this evolution takes-on a completely new scope and interest and lays the foundations for the construction of an innovative project for the city of tomorrow. The course will trace this path through the analysis of a series of key projects/figures such as :
* Les Grands Travaux / G-E. Haussmann (1853)
* L'Eixample / I. Cerda (1859)
* La Garden City / E. Howard (1898)
* La City-Region / P. Geddes (1915)
* La Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier (1930)
* Broadacre City / F. L. Wright (1932)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, through the actions and reflections carried out during the sessions, the student will be able to :
* Reconstruct the history of urbanism through its major phases;
* Analyze the factors that have influenced the evolution of cities and territories over the last centuries;
* Situate a series of urban theories and projects in their cultural and social context;
* Recognise the relationship between spatial principles, urban structures and social reproduction;
* Analyse and discuss an urban project;
* Develop a reflexive and critical view of contemporary urban and territorial space and design.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Territory 1/ Environment, Contemporary Issues (Q2)
Territory 2/ Territorial Analysis (Q4)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Course ex cathedra . The content will be presented in the form of interactive lectures and will be based on the reading of a series of key texts (available online). The different topics will be presented and supported by visual presentations (slide shows, videos, etc.) and written material.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Blended learning

Recommended or required readings

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Written work / report

Additional information:

Evaluation criteria: Knowledge of the subject matter. Clarity of theoretical understanding. Level of depth and richness of the material used.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Martina Barcelloni Corte, Prof. mbarcellonicorte@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs