Early History of Geographic and Planning Thought (PLAN 392.3)

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A lecture/seminar on the origins of urban planning and geographic thought, from prehistory and early Antiquity to late Renaissance. Relationship between inventions of copper age technology, wheeled objects in particular, and myths of the environment, along with the founding of settlements, is reviewed, leading to discussion on archaic notions of the Earth, the universe, and the Ideal City. Origins of geography and planning as scientific disciplines are further examined in the outlook of classical Greece and Rome regarding the natural and the built environments. Subsequent Medieval withdrawal in rigorous thought, particularly as reflected in various Flat Earth notions, is discussed in context of environmental myths of the Middle Ages. Emergence of rigor in environmental thought during the late Medieval period is juxtaposed with the onset of the Little Ice Age and the subsequent urbanization on the European continent. The Age of Discovery along with New World explorations, as related to Thomas More's Utopia, and to the founding of New Towns in Europe at the onset of the Renaissance, is shown as leading to early modern concepts of geography and urban planning.


24 credit units in geography.


Students with credit for GEOG 392, GEOG 405 or GEOG 495 may not take this course for credit.

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