Shane studied architecture at the Architectural Association, London, graduating in 1969 with his Dream City Thesis published in the AA125 Volume (1972). He continued with an M.Arch in Urban Design (1971) and then an Architectural and Urban History Ph.D. (1978) with Colin Rowe at Cornell University. Professor Rowe incorporated Shane’s Urban Patterns in London drawing into Collage City (1978). After Cornell Shane organized the First Year Unit 1 Urban Design studio for Alvin Boyarsky at the AA 1972-76 and then taught at Bennington College while completing his PhD., coming to Columbia in 1985. During this period he published widely in Architectural Design (London), Lotus International (Milan) and Artforum (NYC).
In 1990 he started teaching Urban Design studios and added UD seminars from 1991-97. He then switched to the Recombinant Urbanism Seminar in the Spring Semester 1998. During this period he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the Cooper Union, and at City College with Professor Michael Sorkin in the UD Program (2000-2005).
During the 90s Shane wrote about New York’s urban fragmentation, enclaves and heterotopias for many professional and international publications. He published his article the “Short History of Landscape Urbanism” in the Harvard Architectural Review in 2003. He published Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design and City Theory (2005) and co-edited with Brian McGrath the Architectural Design title Sensing the 21st Century City: Close-Up and Remote (2005). Urban Design Since 1945; a Global Perspective (2011). Since 1999 Shane has participated in the UD PhD program at the IUAV Venice with Professors Secchi and Vigano and is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Milan Polytechnic.
In 1999 he gave the Yokohama Bi-Annual Urban Design Lecture and has lectured widely in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing. He has published in architectural journals in Europe, the USA and Asia. Recent examples include Block, Superblock and Megablock; A Short History (2014) online at Archiduecitta, Chinese Rapid Urbanization and the Megacity in Cities in Transition (NAi, 2015) and A Short History of Hong Kong Malls and Towers in Stefan Als (Ed.) Mall City (2016).