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Syllabus for

Academic year
ARK142 - Spatial morphology design studio
Urban morfologi och design
Syllabus adopted 2018-02-22 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPARC
22,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Architecture, Architecture and Engineering

Course selection in architecture has a separate process. Please contact Director of Studies Anna Knutsson if you have questions.
Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 20

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0117 Project 9,5 c Grading: TH   9,5 c    
0217 Project 13,0 c Grading: TH   13,0 c    

In programs



Meta Berghauser Pont


ARK140   Urban design and development 2C ARK141   Spatial morphology studio

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In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites


The aim of the course is to (1) strengthen students understanding of how urban form and the physical structure of cities provides a framework and creates conditions for various urban processes (social, economic and environmental), and (2) apply this actively in a design project.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

Knowledge & Understanding

1. The student should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the field of urban morphology, including its history and position within the broader field of urban morphology and the central theories and methods used to better understand the intrinsic logic of urban form and its impact on other processes (social, economic and environmental).
Main course component: Literature seminars
Examination form: written assignment in the form of an essay

2. The student should be able to apply the methods and theories central to the course in a design assignment where the design choices are supported by spatial analysis and argumentative texts.
Main course component: Design project
Examination form: Oral presentation midterm and final critics

Skills & abilities

1. The students should be able to use GIS and PST software to analyse cities and neighbourhoods according to the theories and methods central to this course: Space Syntax and Spacematrix.
Main course component: GIS laboratories
Examination form: Written assignment in the form of a lab reports

2. The student should be able to apply the methods and theories central to the course in simplified design assignments.

3. The student should be able to formulate an argumentative text of the design choices made using the methods and theories central to the course.
Main course component: Workshops
Examination form: Written assignment in the form of a workshop reports

4. The student should be able to communicate results convincingly in text, drawings and maps.
Main course component: all
Examination form: course booklet, posters and exhibition


Theories and methods in spatial morphology and spatial analysis will be introduced, especially network analysis (using Space Syntax) and density analysis (using Spacematrix). After the course the students should have basic knowledge of the field of urban morphology and be able to discuss and analyse texts and plan drawings, use the analytical tools and apply the knowledge actively in a design project. The design project is divided in two parts focusing on two scale levels of urban development. During the first half of the semester students work in teams on a comprehensive plan and during the second half they individually continue with development projects.


The studio is organised around a sequence of workshops, GIS laboratories, lectures, literature seminars ¿ and the design studio with each its own set of learning outcomes and assignments. Workshops give room for experiments, lectures transfer knowledge and inspire, GIS laboratories give the technical knowhow to conduct advanced spatial analysis, literature seminars deepen your understanding and critical reading of the central theories and methods of the course, and the design project synthesises all this.
  • GIS laboratories. The use of quantitative GIS (Geographic Information System) data is central for the work in the studio and the skills are learned during the GIS laboratories. Software and tutorials are provided. Written assignment in the form of a lab reports.
  • Workshops. During the workshops the advanced spatial analysis and theoretical knowledge are applied in simple design problems and enable the students to quickly go through a ¿design loop¿ of analysing, designing alternatives and evaluating effects. Written assignment in the form of a workshop reports.
  • Literature seminars. Central theories addressing the relation between urban form and urban life are discussed based on the reading of a selection of relevant papers and book chapters. Written assignment in the form of an essay.
  • Design project. The skills learned during the GIS laboratories and workshops and the knowledge of the literature seminars will be synthesised and applied. Design project presented in drawings, texts and an oral presentation at the final critics.
  • Lectures. Throughout the whole semester a series of lectures are scheduled given by experts from Chalmers, but also guests from other universities and practice. The lectures support the other course component.


Berghauser Pont, M. and P. Haupt, 2010, Spacematrix. Space, density and urban form, NAi Publishers.
Gibson J., James, 1979, "The theory of affordances" in The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (New York and London: Taylor & Francis, [1986] 2015), pp. 119‐137.
Hanson, Julienne, 2000, "Urban transformations: a history of design", Urban Design International, no. 5, pp. 97-122.
Harvey, David, 2006 "Space as Keyword", in, D. Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism - Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development, Verso, Londres, pp. 119-148.
Hillier, Bill, 1996 "Cities as movement economies", in B. Hillier, Space is the machine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 149-182.
Marcus, Lars, 2015, "Interaction rituals and co-presence - linking humans to humans in space syntax theory?, Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium, UCL, London UK.
Martin, Leslie & Lionel March, 1972, "The grid as generator", in, L. Martin & L. March, Urban space and structures, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Examination including compulsory elements

The grade is a weighted average of the following aspects:
  1. Results: the result of the work for each element and the overall result. All assignments are combined in what is described as ¿Portfolio¿ in the course description. The separate elements taken into account are: Design project, Workshop reports, GIS laboratory reports and Essay literature seminar.
  2. Communication and presentation, including Oral presentation, Booklet and Exhibition.
  3. Process: how the process, ongoing work, has been carried out.
  4. Progression: how much you have developed during the semester.
  5. Attendance: obligatory attendance, less the 70% attendance pulls down your grades in all judgement criteria.
  6. Attitude: in the studio, towards the work, fellow students, and tutors.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.