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CODE 105095
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The aim of the course is to approach the themes of quantitative and qualitative urban and regional analysis, through a multidisciplinary approach capable of bringing out the structuring characteristics of the human habitat. Therefore, the processes through which physical-morphological elements together with social and economic processes tend to configure the city and the regional space will be deepened, moving in a very long time scale and ranging on a planetary level (even if the starting point of reference will still remain the western city). The education path has an eminently critical-descriptive character and contains both a "theoretical" part (the tools for interpreting the urban fact, at different scales and in different historical periods) and an "analytical" part (the interpretative description of cities and urban regions ), with a particular focus on the contemporary period, analyzed on a global-planetary level.



The aim of the course is therefore to bring the student closer to the themes of quantitative and qualitative analysis of the city and the territory, through a multidisciplinary approach: physical elements, processes, uses, practices, rules, aimed at achieving, as a final outcome, a 'planning' perspective. The use of urban and spatial analysis tools and techniques will allow the student to acquire a good level of knowledge and ability to understand the transformations that have taken place and to read and render the complexity of an urban system.


No specific prerequisites are required


The course will be articulated according to a threefold modality:

Lectures by the teacher, which will serve as a guide to introduce and deepen the various topics of the four modules provided
Field trip for the direct recognition of case studies: Genoa (walking lectures), Venice (study trip over three days) and/or Pompeii – Ostia Antica – Rome (study trip over three days).

Active participation of students (possibly divided into working groups) with practical exercises which will be organized as follows:
Critical reading of two basic texts (chosen from a list provided by the teacher) referring to each of these periods: prehistory and antiquity, the Middle Ages and the modern era, the contemporary period;
Critical rendering of the processes of formation and transformation of a city (a district or block of Genoa or Venice), from the beginning to the threshold of the contemporary.


The course is divided into four thematic modules.

The first module, transversal, concerns an introduction to the science of complexity and the analysis of urbanization processes. The tools of knowledge of the science of complexity will be the object of this module: fractals, network analysis, scaling and power laws, evolution / evolutions, self-organization, space syntax, some methods of artificial intelligence applied to the analysis of the territory (neural networks, cellular automata, multi-agent systems). 

The second module, transversal, focuses on the analysis of urban morphology and building typologies and has as its purpose the knowledge of the relationships that are established between a single building (mainly the house, both single and collective), the urban fabric and the city shape. The interest here is directed to the relationship between building type and urban form: how a single building, in its foundation on a logical structure of form and organization of internal relations and with the outside, conditions and determines the outcome of a shape of the urban organism and of the scenarios that characterize it. In particular, the concepts relating to the definition of type, the classification of building and urban types and the relationships between buildings and cities and between building types and urban form will be addressed. 

The third module focuses on the theories and investigations concerning the city of the origins of the urban phenomenon, covering a time a long period: from the Neolithic to the urban explosion first in the Mesopotamian area and then in the Mediterranean area (with hints also on the manifestation of the urban phenomenon in China, India and Meso-America). Agriculture, language, technology and settlement. The dualisms synoecism/foundation and spontaneous/planned. Ancient and pre-modern settlements: matrices, models, outcomes, with particular reference to the Hippodamean schemes and the territorial and urban planning of the Roman age. Territorial and urban phenomena in the Middle Ages: a long legacy. The urban cycles. The city-countryside relationship. Economics and geographies of the ancient and medieval settlement. 

The fourth module deals with the slow and long transformation of the urban fact  covering the period that starts from the formation of the modern city to the transition towards the contemporary city, starting from the great rupture - caused by the "industrial revolution" and by the process of urbanization – of the reference framework within which the city had been conceived and built in previous centuries. The change (still in progress) from the industrial city to the post-metropolitan territory, which led first to the process of formation of the great continental and global metropolises and finally (today) to contemporary urban mega-regions. Issues relating to the diffusion of the urban, deindustrialization and new urban economies, from metropolises to megalopolises, demographic trends and urbanization, global urbanization, areas in post-demographic transition (shrinking cities and regions) will be addressed here. .


First Module


Lombardini G. (2023), L'habitat urbano. Temi e questioni per una scienza dell'insediamento, Roma: Carocci. 

In-depth readings:

Bettencourt Luis M.A., 2021, Introduction to Urban Science, Cambridge (MA): MIT Press (capitoli selezionati)

Batty M., 2018, Inventing Future Cities. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press (capitoli selezionati)

General introduction:

West G., 2018. Scala, Milano: Mondadori. 

Second Module

Caniggia G., Maffei G.L., 2014. Interpreting Basic Buildings, Altralinea, Firenze

Caniggia G., 1986. Strutture dello spazio antropico. Uniedit: Firenze.

Cataldi G., 1977. Per una scienza del Territorio. Alinea: Firenze.

Third module

Lanzani Arturo, 2020, Cultura e progetto del territorio e della città, Milano: Franco Angeli.

Franchetti Pardo V., 2013. Storia della città occidentale (2 voll.). Milano: Jaca Book.

Fourth module

Dematteis G., Lanza C., 2012. Le città del Mondo. Una geografia urbana, Torino: Utet.

Kostof, S. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History, Thames & Hudson: New York.

Secchi B., 2000. La città del XX secolo. Bari-Roma: Laterza.

Soja E.W., 2007, Dopo la metropoli: per una critica della geografia urbana e regionale, Bologna: Patron.


Exam Board




Class schedule

L'orario di tutti gli insegnamenti è consultabile all'indirizzo EasyAcademy.



The exam will consist of an oral interview on the basis of the program developed in class and a discussion on the exercises prepared (reading of three of the texts in the bibliography, texts and description of the city analysed).

The delivery, through illustration and discussion with slides (15-20 max) of the three texts will take place at the end of the course, in May 2024.

The delivery of the descriptive document of the city (text + images) will take place during the exam.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
No poverty
No poverty
Zero hunger
Zero hunger
Good health and well being
Good health and well being
Gender equality
Gender equality
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable cities and communities
Life on land
Life on land