Reading the City. Urban Design and Its Epistemes

Tom Avermaete, Hans Teerds
Seit 2019

In this research project we explore the ways that urban designers initially approach the urban or territorial conditions in which they are going to intervene. Their ways of “reading” cities and territories are not neutral. Rather, they are connected to certain frames of thought, which philosopher Michel Foucault calls “episteme”. These epistemes are linked to specific value frames and are often long-lasting. Although highly operative in urban design thinking and practice, they habitually stay mute and implicit. This research project aims to make some of the epistemes with a long-lasting impact on the analysis of the urban landscape explicit and thus open to discussion and further thinking. It focuses on such an epistemes as typology (Durand, Muratori, Rossi), phenomenology (Choisy, Sitte, Prost, Lynch), semiology (Cullen, Venturi and Scott-Brown) and praxeology (Henard, CIAM, Ecochard). These are evaluated and confronted with instances of urban epistemology in literary, artistic and visual cultures.


Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete
Dr. Ir. Hans Teerds