Urban Culture and Public Space


Course Objective

This course will make students:
1. become familiar with the theoretical notions of urban culture and
public space, and with the design aspects and the implicit methods of
inclusion and exclusion that are connected to these notions.
2. learn to analyze urban space, the objectives of its designers and the
ways in which citizens put public space to use.
3. learn to connect historical, sociological and anthropological
with primary sources. You train how to analyze public space through
4. improve academic skills by writing an annotated essay and by
presenting your findings to peers.

Course Content

Public space is omnipresent in our daily existence. An important part of
it takes place in our cities’ streets, squares and public buildings.
This is where we meet friends and strangers, encounter new ideas and
products, commemorate and celebrate, discuss our worries us or enjoy the

This course focuses on the multifaceted relationship between public
space and urban culture by taking into account the (historical and
contemporary) intentions and experiences of designers, commissioners and
users. We will ask ourselves what the terms urban culture and public
space can mean in different times and cultures. Next, we will look into
the relationship between the intentions and ideals of the ‘makers’ of
public space – architects, urbanists and commissioners - and the
perception and ideals of its users - the public itself.

The course offers a kaleidoscopic journey into the past and present of
our everyday living environment, probing into the question what public
space can be, how it comes into being and how it is transformed. We will
study prevailing writings on urban culture and public space and
investigate case studies, both in lectures and on site.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, seminars and excursions.

Method of Assessment

Matching of assignments and course aims:
Course aim 1 will be assessed through written assignments and a final,
annotated essay.
Course aim 2 will be assessed through oral presentations and written
Course aim 3 will be assessed through: will be assessed through oral
presentations and written assignments
Course aim 4 will be assessed through: oral presentations, written
assignments and an annotated essay

Entry Requirements

Students must have followed Academic English MADA (L_EABAALG102) and be
subscribed as a Bachelor student MKDA, history, planning,
(landscape)architecture or urbanism


Digital reader provided by your tutor in advance.

Target Audience

2nd year MKDA bachelor students; students with backgrounds in history or
For exchange students approval of the coordinator is requested to be
admitted to the course.

Additional Information

This course is compulsory for all MKDA students in their second year.
Attendance is compulsory: Missing two meetings usually means expulsion
from the course. This course is a prerequisite for finishing the MKDA
bachelor programme.
Written assignments can be submitted in English or Dutch.

Custom Course Registration

For exchange approval of the coordinator is requested to be admitted to the course.

General Information

Course Code L_AABAMKD207
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator drs. I.S. Burgers
Examiner drs. I.S. Burgers
Teaching Staff dr. L.R. Egberts
drs. I.S. Burgers

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: