ARCH 499D City and Town: Urban Analysis of Towns in the Campagna Romana


The purpose of this course is to develop a method for analyzing towns by examining different types of plans from different historical periods, followed by the application of this method to specific towns.

Recognition of patterns of planned versus organic growth, location of focal points such as government buildings and town centers, variations in urban density, and identifications of significant pathways through the street net will be used to develop this method. While socioeconomic aspects will be considered where such information is available, the main emphasis of the course will be on the physical morphology of the town in relation to its historical development.

Since we are in the city, Rome is the starting point of the course, but as will become rapidly evident, its layout is very complex. Consequently, after an introduction to the city and its tri-millennial development, as well as the discussion of the use of maps for the purpose of urban analysis, the focus will shift to smaller towns located near Rome. This will enable us to develop a method of urban analysis for simple towns which can then be applied to the study of more complex towns and cities, and specifically to Rome itself.

The area around Rome is known as the Campagna Romana (campagna=countryside). Located here are numerous towns, ranging from ancient to modern, representing a wide variety of Italian town types. Since many of these towns are easily accessible by public transportation, they lend themselves to a series of site visits which enables the student to experience them firsthand so as to discover the multiple town forms and to analyze their development over time. Analysis of these smaller towns helps with the understanding of the far more complex city of Rome.

Students will be expected to analyze town plans and to draw substantial conclusions based on the comparative method. These conclusions may be presented in different forms, but the common thread will be a series of analytical layers drawn over a base map of the town under study.