Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Urban designer

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4

    Urban designer

    Do I need to go to architecture school in order to be an urban designer? What is the deal with urban designers? I don't see very many job opportunities for just an urban designer. It's usually hidden within the job requirements of an urban planner. Or am I wrong? Just curious. Do any real-life urban designers have any comments?

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,609
    From what I know, most "urban designers" are architects operating under a different job title.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    America's Dairyland
    Posts
    73
    It is also common for folks doing urban design to be trained as landscape architects.

    Although it may sound as if they are one-and-the-same, urban planning and urban design are not the same thing. Most of us in the forums are urban planners. It is possible to get through planning school with no urban design training at all.

  4. #4
    hey, I'm also the one who gets confused about urban designer and urban planner. Can u guys tell me what the differences between these 2? I'm not a urban planner,though.
    Universe is not wide enough to be planned.

  5. #5
         
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    37
    I'm actually going the architecture/urban design route for grad school. The schools that offer a Master in Urban Design generally recquire a background in architecture or landscape architecture (for that degree).

    Some schools like the GSD offer a hybrid type of planning education some call "physical planning." You focus more on the physical aspects of planning and less on the policy aspects. In your studios you are often teamed up with architects and landscape architects.

    Schools like UPenn and Georgia Tech offer an urban design concentration/certificate program for the planners.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally posted by Mee
    hey, I'm also the one who gets confused about urban designer and urban planner. Can u guys tell me what the differences between these 2? I'm not a urban planner,though.
    At the risk of sounding like a noob out of line, my impression is that urban planning involves more social sciences (economics, demographics, public policy) and is more closely tied to government. They're primarily interested in promoting development that fits the goals of the community/county/etc. Urban planning is (in an ideal world) more oriented toward long-term goals. It's pretty obvious they need a solid understanding of architecture/civil engineering just the same, but they don't spend all day drawing.

    Urban design, on the other hand, is an offshoot of architecture (architecture on a different scale, really) dedicated to designing areas of development. Urban designers, I imagine, are more artistically oriented and take some guidance from what the urban planners and developers have in mind. Like any other kind of designer, they need to know about what they're designing for, and generally have a stronger sense of things like public policy that an architect specializing in office building design would have no need for. I would assume that designers make more, since they tend to be employed by private firms.

    It's not a simple form (urban design)/function (urban planning) dichotomy, but that's my general impression.

    If anyone who actually knows what they're talking about would like to have the final say, please ignore the noob.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by friars04
    At the risk of sounding like a noob out of line, my impression is that urban planning involves more social sciences (economics, demographics, public policy) and is more closely tied to government. They're primarily interested in promoting development that fits the goals of the community/county/etc. Urban planning is (in an ideal world) more oriented toward long-term goals. It's pretty obvious they need a solid understanding of architecture/civil engineering just the same, but they don't spend all day drawing.

    Urban design, on the other hand, is an offshoot of architecture (architecture on a different scale, really) dedicated to designing areas of development. Urban designers, I imagine, are more artistically oriented and take some guidance from what the urban planners and developers have in mind. Like any other kind of designer, they need to know about what they're designing for, and generally have a stronger sense of things like public policy that an architect specializing in office building design would have no need for. I would assume that designers make more, since they tend to be employed by private firms.

    It's not a simple form (urban design)/function (urban planning) dichotomy, but that's my general impression.

    If anyone who actually knows what they're talking about would like to have the final say, please ignore the noob.
    Thanks for your explaination. Urban design sounds more interesting to me.
    Universe is not wide enough to be planned.

  8. #8
         
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally posted by Mee
    Urban design sounds more interesting to me.
    If you decide to apply to arch/urban design programs be prepared to meet all the prerequisites for arch school admissions. The requirements vary by school.

    aspiring planner, since you are in LA you might want to visit UCLA--check out both the Dept of Architecture/Urban Design (in the School of Arts and Architecture) and the dept of Urban Planning (in the school of public policy) to see where your interests lie.

  9. #9
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Sunny, California
    Posts
    185
    Seems to me that regardless of your background/talent- whether you're a mere planner or an architect- any can pull-off the title of 'Urban Designer'. I know someone who was trained as a landscape architect who calls herself a planner and urban designer.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally posted by friars04
    At the risk of sounding like a noob out of line, my impression is that urban planning involves more social sciences (economics, demographics, public policy) and is more closely tied to government. They're primarily interested in promoting development that fits the goals of the community/county/etc. Urban planning is (in an ideal world) more oriented toward long-term goals. It's pretty obvious they need a solid understanding of architecture/civil engineering just the same, but they don't spend all day drawing.

    Urban design, on the other hand, is an offshoot of architecture (architecture on a different scale, really) dedicated to designing areas of development. Urban designers, I imagine, are more artistically oriented and take some guidance from what the urban planners and developers have in mind. Like any other kind of designer, they need to know about what they're designing for, and generally have a stronger sense of things like public policy that an architect specializing in office building design would have no need for. I would assume that designers make more, since they tend to be employed by private firms.

    It's not a simple form (urban design)/function (urban planning) dichotomy, but that's my general impression.

    If anyone who actually knows what they're talking about would like to have the final say, please ignore the noob.
    This is a very good summation of my understanding of the differences as well. Like rmulrew mentioned, Urban Design, as a degree program, tend to fall within the Architecture departments of many schools while Urban Planning usually falls in the political/social sciences. I'm sure each will included elements of the other, but the focus would be different.

    Nor Cal Planner Girl brings up an interesting point regarding the title. "Urban Designer", as far as I know, is not a regulated title like say, Architect, Planner, or Engineer might be. It would seem to me that it's entirely possible to have followed something like a landscape architecture, architecture, political science, or planning curriculum and, with appropriate experience in either public or private sector, find yourself doing urban design and using the title.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by friars04
    At the risk of sounding like a noob out of line, my impression is that urban planning involves more social sciences (economics, demographics, public policy) and is more closely tied to government. They're primarily interested in promoting development that fits the goals of the community/county/etc. Urban planning is (in an ideal world) more oriented toward long-term goals. It's pretty obvious they need a solid understanding of architecture/civil engineering just the same, but they don't spend all day drawing.

    Urban design, on the other hand, is an offshoot of architecture (architecture on a different scale, really) dedicated to designing areas of development. Urban designers, I imagine, are more artistically oriented and take some guidance from what the urban planners and developers have in mind. Like any other kind of designer, they need to know about what they're designing for, and generally have a stronger sense of things like public policy that an architect specializing in office building design would have no need for. I would assume that designers make more, since they tend to be employed by private firms.

    It's not a simple form (urban design)/function (urban planning) dichotomy, but that's my general impression.

    If anyone who actually knows what they're talking about would like to have the final say, please ignore the noob.
    I'd also like to thank you. Your post was very informative.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Quito, Ecuador
    Posts
    6

    Clarifications

    So how closely do they work together? It seems that if one is interested in promoting BRTs, or TOD, or sustainable development one should consider planning. However, how do planners and designers differentiate themselves from landscape architects? It seems to me, at least in this forum, people regard designers more highly than planners. Is this true professionally too?

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 21 Apr 2011, 10:17 PM
  2. Career as an urban designer
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 03 Apr 2009, 6:38 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last post: 04 Oct 2007, 11:18 AM
  4. Wannabe Urban Designer
    Student Commons
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 19 Oct 2005, 11:02 PM
  5. what does an urban designer do?
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 06 Apr 2004, 7:40 PM