Pompeii ruins with Mount Vesuvius in the background

Introduction to City Planning 1: Ancient Times to the Modern Age (7,500 BC to 1900)

This course explores the development of the city, and city planning, from ancient times until the birth of the modern city. Learn about key developments, innovations and debates in early planning.

  • English
  • 53 Mins
  • Published
What You Will Learn
  • Understand the evolution of contemporary planning by comparing previous movements and the origins of modern design, social reform, policies, and politics.

  • Identify key global shifts in the cultural, economic, political, and industrial relationships and hierarchies between and across different cities.

  • Recognize how city planning as a discipline emerged from the ideas of writers, politicians, architects, designers, and social reformers.

  • Compare and contrast the ways that technology and innovations change cities and the way planners must plan for cities, from the aqueduct to the railroad and the automobile.

  • Critically evaluate how historical planning movements succeeded, but also how they failed, and how and why some cities rose and fell over time (and the relevance of these lessons for cities today).

  • Recognize and assess the relationships between planning, the economy, politics, and societythe way that industrial innovation gave rise to revolutions and transformative social movementsand link those relationships to the contemporary urban world.

This course explores the development of the city, and city planning, from ancient times (7,500 B.C.) up to the birth of the modern city and the official birth of planning as a practice and school of study (late 19th century). This journey travels from the 'first' city, Catal Hayuk, through some of the great ancient cities of the world, Angkor, Tenochtitlan, Rome, and Athens, and concludes in Manchester’s factories and Chicago’s railyards. Students will learn about key developments, innovations, and debates in early planning, such as how to deal with sanitation and public space; the advent of the boulevard and the grid of streets; and the dramatic and, in some cases, violent urban transformation of the industrial revolution. We will overview the birth of reform movements and the ways that “planning” began to bring architects, politics, writers, theorists, and social activists together into a coherent discipline, practice, and field of study.


This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit.


This course is approved for 1 CNU-A credit.