• University of New South Wales

Re-Enchanting the City: Designing the Human Habitat

Most people now live in cities. With populations growing, how do we make these dense future cities green, liveable and poetic?

9,174 enrolled on this course

Two buildings which are part of One Central Park, Sydney
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

The city is humanity’s most complex and extraordinary artifact. As the world population grows and becomes ever more urban, the making of future cities is no longer just about aesthetics or convenience. Questions of sustainability and culture are more and more crucial. In fact, it can be said that, the future of the city is the future of the species.

Understand how cities are made

This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of city making. The focus will be on a cutting-edge, high-density urban infill project, Central Park, in contemporary Sydney. We will use this project to explore the interdependencies of the professions at play; urban design, architecture, construction management, planning, landscape architecture, interior architecture and industrial design.

We will investigate the entire development process from the earliest planning and site purchases through to completion, and from the broad contextual scale through to the design intricacies. In so doing, we will examine design innovations in green technologies, structure, construction, environmental and building service, framing this within the wider context of infrastructure, governance and the political economy.

Explore the impact of cities

You will engage in critical discussion from different perspectives including design and sustainability. You will also analyse the cultural, environmental and political conversations that drive the development, as well as gaining an understanding of how key players interact in city making. Throughout the course you will see how different built environment disciplines relate in this process of planning and creating a city.

Drawing on designers, thinkers and developers that are leading their professions, this course will investigate a key question facing global cities today: how do we engage local democracy to make urban density both sustainable and poetic?

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds The city is a complex and awe inspiring feat of humanity. But what does it take to make a great city?

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds More importantly, what does it take to make a great city today? How do we keep our heritage while creating a green and sustainable future? It’s a fascinating fusion - collaboration of professions. Architects, planners, designers and developers working together with politicians, artists and the community. It’s where design meets construction and landscape meets technology. Now we’re examining this intricate network to ask ourselves the crucial question. How do we plan and design our cities to inspire and entice ourselves to truly living green for our environment, for our future? How can we harness and protect our natural environmental assets to reduce impact and address the global urban issues facing all cities today?

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds Engaging some of the finest urban thinkers in our faculty, Australia and the world, we’ll examine the bigger picture and also the smaller picture of an eco-minded urban future.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds So in the end, the core question is this: How do we design our way into an ultra-green, ultra-urban future?

What topics will you cover?

  • The professions which makeup the built environment, in the context of the urban case study, Central Park, Sydney.
  • Hyperdensity and considerations of affordability, open space, public health and joy.
  • The built environment in the planning process, including how planning works in relation to developments on the ground, the urban regeneration process from concept to masterplan, as well as influences from developers, community, and politics.
  • The nature of urban design and architecture, exploring design diversity and the role of ‘starchitects’ in city making.
  • Heritage architecture and adaptive reuse.
  • Strategies and approaches to greening our cities, including renaturing cities, water recycling, energy production and sustainability.
  • Technology in cites and the contribution of industrial design.
  • The design of interiors looking at the conceptual and spatial connections of inside and out.
  • The nature of enchantment in city-making and how each of the built environment professions contribute.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify and explain the roles and interaction of different professions within the built environment.
  • Analyse and evaluate the complexities of design and development processes in the urban context.
  • Reflect on the outcomes, successes and weaknesses of large scale urban development projects.
  • Formulate ideas on how hyper-dense cities of the future can be green, liveable and poetic.

Who is the course for?

You don’t need any existing knowledge to take this course, just an interest in how people live and how they might live in future.

Who will you learn with?

I am an Associate Professor in Industrial Design at UNSW Built Environment, in Sydney.

Susan Thompson is Professor of Planning and Director, City Wellbeing Program in the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the UNSW Australia. I am passionate about architecture and urban design and their role in solving problems related to the contemporary 21st century city.

I'm an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of New South Wales.

I'm a Sydney based industrial designer and design educator at UNSW Built Environment / UNSW, Australia.

Bruce is the Director of the Bachelor of Interior Architecture (Honours) Degree, School of Architecture + Design at UNSW Australia.

As an Associate Professor (Practice) in the Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW, Australia, I am passionate about the social, psychological and aesthetic implications of urban design and city planning.

Who developed the course?

UNSW Sydney

Established in 1949 with a unique focus on the scientific, technological and professional disciplines, UNSW is a leading Australian university committed to making a difference

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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