aerial view of ancient city grid

The American City, Part 1: A Brief History of the Regular Grid

Learn why the regular grid has been a standard part of the town planning vocabulary around the world for nearly five millennia.

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Course Info

  • Duration 11 video lessons (47 Mins)
  • Published Published
    2016
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Browse Course Chapters

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    1.
    Introduction
    Chapter Duration 2 mins
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    2.
    The Ancient World
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    3.
    Medieval/Renaissance Europe
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    4.
    The Far East and Pre-Columbian America
    Chapter Duration 3 mins
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    5.
    The Bastide in the New World
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    6.
    Spanish Laws of the Indies and the American Midwest
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    7.
    Colonial America and Thomas Jefferson's 1785 Land Ordinance
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    8.
    The Problem of Words
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
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    9.
    Why the Regular Grid?
    Chapter Duration 3 mins
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    10.
    Generic Function in Settlements
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
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    11.
    The Myth of the Regular Grid
    Chapter Duration 5 mins

Course Description

The course is about the when, where, and why of regular grid planning around the world—from Ancient India to the New World—arguing that its independent emergence in different parts of the world is a generic consequence of placing dwellings in a settlement. The transmission of the regular grid, traceable from one society to another over the last 4,500 years, also demonstrates its effectiveness as a utilitarian tool of planning. The course concludes by reviewing the myths surrounding the regular grid, including its role in fostering the ideals of the American Dream.

The objective of this course is to understand how and why the regular grid has been a standard part of the town planning vocabulary around the world for nearly five millennia.

Learn these skills

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

AICP CM

This course is approved for .75 AICP CM credit

AIA CES

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.

Meet Instructor

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