Athens / Rome Planning and Structure:
The history and theories of city form traces how the shapes of cities have been generated by the prevailing contemporary social institutions and technologies of the times.
Both ancient Roman cities and ancient Greek cities were similar in that highly symmetrical buildings (based on Platonic geometries -- circle, square, rectangle) were placed onto a complex system of streets. Hence we have the Parthenon, placed on the highest hill in Athens, fed by the meandering Panathenaic Way, which passes through the chaotic agora (market place), defined by colonnaded stoa, serving as the covered, market stalls.
The point is that the shape of the public space was not symmetrical, and public spaces didn't become symmetrical until the Renaissance "discovery" of perspective and consequently, the "invention" of the public square in 17th century France (Place des Vosges).
Similarly, ancient Rome was a mixture of, what has become to be known as classical architecture, in the form of (governmental buildings), residential tenement blocks, villas, and a pantheon and coliseum scattered here and there.
The city of Rome around the beginning of first millennium had a population of 1 million. It also administered hundreds of Roman planned towns throughout the empire -- western and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Near East, and Britain. The Roman Empire had become the largest, most influential juggernaut of urbanization in the Western world.
The ancient Greeks established settlement "new towns," to alleviate the population pressure on centers, such as Athens. In part, this was in reaction to the idea that the ancient Greeks' particular form of democracy worked best if the population of any one city-state (polis), did not exceed 30,000 people.
Unlike the traditional city-states which grew organically, the new towns were some of the world's first planned...