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Digital Modelling for Urban Design

ISBN: 978-0-470-03477-4
272 pages
December 2008
Digital Modelling for Urban Design (0470034777) cover image


While there is a rich array of urban theory, design, and representation books available, there is currently no book which brings together, in a single volume, urban design theory and new digital technologies in urban information mapping, modeling, and 3D simulation. Based on two decades of practicing and teaching architecture, author Brian McGrath's Digital Modelling for Urban Design explores the new theories and technologies of digital modelling, focusing on how to create moving and interactive 3D drawing, skills useful in the context of urban theory, and design and representation. Fully illustrated with original maps, 3D models, and drawings and photographs, this innovative work introduces digital modelling to students, architects, designers, and planners interested in the processes key to shaping the urban environment.
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Table of Contents


Digital Modelling for Urban Design.

Flattening Urban Design.

Modelling Discourse.

Development of the Book.

Organisation of the book.

Archaeology and War.

Genealogy and trade.

Schizoanalysis and Desire.

Possible Urban Futures.



The Spectacularisation of Urban Design.

Ground Zero.

Preliminary Design concepts.

Innovative Design Study.

The Design Exhibition Spectacle.

Transit Hub, Memorial Design and Freedom tower.

Other Representations.

Beyond the Spectacle.

Chapter 1. Archaeology.

1985-1995: Transparent Cities.

1995-2005: An Archaeology of Globalisation.

From Transparent Cities to Archaeological Modelling.

1893-1901: Forma Urban Romae.

1915-1928: The Iconography of Manhattan Island.

Manhattan Island.

1890-1932: The Geo-body of Bangkok..

Assembling New Urban Design Models.

Collateral Space.

Correlative Space.

complementary Space.

Multiplicities and Seriality.

Chapter 2. War.

1801-1893: The Emergence of Scientific Archaeology.

50BC - AD 203: Modelling the Spoils of War.

Urban Design as Triumphal Model.

300-1300: The Recycling City Model.

Churches: The New Urban Artefacts.

1300-1944: Urban Design as representation and Destruction.

The Dispersed City Model.

Destructions and Dispersals.

Chapter 3. Genealogy.

Descent and Emergence.

Three Urban Design Genealogies.

Rome: A Genealogy of the Master Plan.

New York: A Genealo9gy of the central business District.

The Urban designer as Organisation man.

Bangkok: A Genealogy of Lifestyle Centres.

Bangkok's CSD.

The Dispersal of Power.

Chapter 4. Trade.




Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling.




Back to Ground Zero.

Urban Design as the Production of Difference.

Chapter 5. Schizoanalysis.

1745-1778: A Schizoanalysis of War.

1978-2008: A Schi8zoanalysis of Trade.

2000-2005: A Schizoanalysis of desire.

Spectacular Feedback.

Chapter 6.Desire.


Pathumwan Intersection.

Siam central Interchange Station.

Ratchaprasong Intersection.

Chitlom Station.

Complementary Space.

Virtual Itineraries.

Attentive Circuits.


Modelling Urban Design Futures in India and China.


Gentle Arrivals: Fatehpur Sikri and West Lake.

World Financial Capitals: Mumbai and Shanghai.

Governance: Delhi and Beijing.

Migration and Resettlement.

Short-and Long-Term Plans.

Happiness, Harmony and Sufficiency.



Photographic Credits

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Author Information

Brian McGrath is Associate Professor of Urban Design at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York. For many years, he also taught urban design at Columbia. He has taught internationally in Taiwan, Denmark, Hong Kong and Thailand, where he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1998-99. He recently completed a research fellowship at the India China Institute at the New School. McGrath is co-author with Jean Gardner of Cinemetrics: Architectural Drawing Today (2007) and co-guest-editor of Sensing the 21st-Century City: Close-Up and Remote (2005), both published by John Wiley & Sons.

‘Brian McGrath is that rare writer and teacher who can portray the complexity of the city without reducing it to simple stereotypes.’ Grahame Shane, Adjunct Professor of Architecture, Columbia University.

‘Brian McGrath is an urban inventor who has developed nuanced
techniques to approach the impossible complexity of representing the
city. This book shares those techniques while also transporting the reader deep into some of the world's most intricate urban fabric.’

Keller Easterling, Associate Professor, Yale School of Architecture.

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Digital Modelling for Urban Design (US $150.00)

-and- Urban Design Since 1945: A Global Perspective (US $125.00)

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