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

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

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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