aerial view of new york city

The American City, Part 4: Complexity and Pattern in the City

Understand how sustainable urbanism can be a crucial component of the urban pattern, or otherwise subverted by government regulations and business models.

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Course Info

  • Duration 10 video lessons (53 Mins)
  • Published Published
  • 4.22
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Browse Course Chapters

  • Chapter Locked
    Chapter Duration 2 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Static vs. Dynamic
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
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    Movement and Visibility
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
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    Where We Are and Where We Can Go
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    The Strip Effect
    Chapter Duration 5 mins
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    Distinctive Neighborhoods
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    City Center and Edge City
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
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    Rudimentary Hierarchies
    Chapter Duration 5 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    'One Size Fits All'
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    The Ticking Time Bomb of Cities
    Chapter Duration 4 mins

Course Description

The course discusses the design of the urban pattern in several American cities (Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, St. Louis, Orlando, and Phoenix). The courses examines: 1) the synergy between different scales of movement patterned into the urban grid, which contributes to the "urban buzz" of distinctive neighborhoods and places; 2) the large role that local topography plays in allowing, limiting, or denying certain possibilities for urban growth, due to the massive horizontal scale of American cities and the practical necessity of overcoming topographical conditions; and 3) the consequences of government regulations, Euclidean zoning, modern transportation planning, and suburbanization during the post-war period in generating a hierarchal grid logic to the American regular grid planning tradition. The implications of development patterns and land consumption unseen during history of city building over the previous 10,000 years are discussed.

Learn these skills

  • History
  • Land Use
  • Pedestrian Planning
  • Plan Making
  • Transportation
  • Urban Design
  • Walkability
  • Zoning Codes


This is 1 LU.

Meet Your Instructor

Mark David Major

Mark David Major

Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A is a Professor of Urban Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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