National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Dean Saitta

Affiliation: University of Denver

Dean Saitta is professor of Anthropology and director of the Urban Studies program at the University of Denver. He researches ancient city planning and design, comparative architectural and urban form, and North American archaeology. He is co-author of Denver: An Archaeological History (2001), and author of Intercultural Urbanism: City Planning from the Ancient World to the Modern Day (2020).  He also blogs for Planetizen, a public interest urban planning website, where he advocates using archaeological knowledge to expand the vision of modern urban planning and design. 


The discipline of archaeology has generated many excellent studies of cities in the ancient world, from their origins six thousand years ago in Mesopotamia to more recent manifestations of urbanism on every continent.  Ancient cities were diverse in physical layout, in the extent to which they were formally planned and governed, and in their histories of development. In recent years we’ve gained valuable insights into how urban life was experienced by a broad cross-section of ancient populations, including immigrants and refugees. This lecture will highlight the most significant of these findings about ancient cities of the Old and New Worlds, and discuss the utility of this knowledge for city building and placemaking today.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Saitta, D. 2020.  Intercultural Urbanism: City Planning from the Ancient World to the Modern Day. Bloomsbury/Zed Books, London.

Saitta, D. 2016. Planning Sustainability: The Evolution of Green Urbanism. CityGreen 13:64-73.


support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.