The City Shaped:
Interpreting Urban Landscapes in Central Italy


Program dates 

May 5 - 24, 2019

About the program

This year's program will be facilitated by IKBSAS Geography Associate Professor Dr. Bernard Momer.

Cities are complex entities that tell stories, however, few of us know how to interpret them. This course explores how the transformation of urban landscapes over time and space can be understood as well as identifies the various concepts, methods and theories that contextualise these transformative processes. Students will be provided with the tools necessary to observe, analyse and interpret urban landscapes in a historical and contemporary context. By considering urban form as a receptacle of meaning, the rituals of everyday life, and the vagaries of history, students will gain an understanding of the forces that have shaped and still shape our cities today.

This course is of particular interest to students who are considering careers or with a strong interest in urban planning, urban geography, urban design, urban history or architecture.

Program Content (Learning Outcomes):

  • Define urban morphology
  • Identify the morphological components of the Renaissance and Baroque City
  • Describe the role of the Italian piazza in the evolution of urban spaces
  • Employ visual analysis to document urban landscapes
  • Interpret urban landscape as a form of cultural production linked to changes in economic patterns, social behaviours and technological innovations
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history of the Italian city
  • Demonstrate competencies in the analysis of urban structure
  • Understand the role of everyday activities on the formation of urban form

General timeline


The course is divided in two parts. The first two weeks of the course will be spent in Florence, capital of Tuscany and a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the group will examine the city of Renaissance and hone its urban landscape interpretative skills. For the third week, the group will travel to Rome where we will study the impact of Baroque urban planning on the current morphology of the city.

In Florence, the group will be staying at the heart of the city, in a small palazzo originally built for the powerful Medici family during the 15th century. Within walking distance, students will be able to explore famous museums and monuments such the Cathedral built in 1296, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti and the Ponte Vecchio. 

In Rome, the group will be staying in the heart of the historical district, within walking distance of the Trevi fountain, the Colosseo and many more monuments of interest.



GEOG 491: Selected Topics in Geography: Interpreting Urban Landscapes

An examination of the social, economic, cultural and technological factors that have shaped European cities from early Roman times to the contemporary industrial city. Students will be provided with the tools necessary to observe, analyse and interpret urban landscapes.


Eligibility and prerequisite

There are no strict course requirements to participate in this program. The professor will select applicants that are interested in Geography, urban planning, architecture, and/or landscape interpretation. This program is open to second, third or fourth year students from both campuses.

Program fees

Program fees – $3,000 - $3,400* 

NOTE: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (i.e., those students with a 70% average from their best 9 credits of the 2018-19 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program

INCLUDED in program fee

NOT included in program fee

  • Go Global Award is given to students who have 70% in their best 9 credits from Term 1 of the 2018-19 year
  • Accommodations
  • On-site group transportation
  • Some meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global Fee
  • Some Excursion costs
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Remainder of meals
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.


Application deadline


Deadline: Applications for this Global Seminar are now closed

Last reviewed shim1/31/2019 12:43:27 PM