New Urban Grid
Open Form for City Design

Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Sept 2015 - June 2016
Academic Independent Study
Advisor - Joan Busquets

  • The foundation of a capital. Symbolic values and functional prescriptions.
  • Towards a publication targeted for December 2016


Gridded cities had been experimented in many cultures and responded to many different development strategies.
Main research focuses on understanding the
“project” features that make some grids –its design and/or the construction of the city- relevant or interesting to the current issues of the cities. Their historical development and sequential development can discuss questions like:

- Are they adapted to new programmatic demands of mixed uses and flexible spaces?
- Are they responding to the urban growth requirements, and in what extend they can be paradigms for the fast growing cities?
- Are they able to adopt the new forms of mobility? What are the references for it?
- Are they able to establish better relationships with open territory, by means of intelligent infrastructures and/or by green corridors? 



Research main aim is to discover and represent the “design components on each type of “project or projects” in any given city: layout; relationship with geography; blocks size; land parcels forms; building types; special buildings; and their evolution... to learn how this open design form” allows cities to incorporate changes and to be resilient to society demands. By “redesigning” the key aspects of the original project or the transformation process we can raise some conclusions about what we can still learn from grid cities. Probably some of these conclusions can contribute to enhance current “grid culture” which is embedded in the city design and make its specific capacities stronger and more visible. Re-visiting the grids is already in place but perhaps it lacks a new academic understanding of its potentials.



Independent study will look at a well defined type of gridded cities according to specific strategies.
By selecting few cities as samples of each strategy, research will try to understand main design features of gridded cities and confront them with today city design priorities.
As initial hypothesis research will consider several groups of strategies.