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Thread: Is Urban Design the same as Physical planning?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Is Urban Design the same as Physical planning?

    I am so confused I did all my research, and some schools have a seperate degree of Urban design, and I don't know. Can someone please explain to me the difference between the two?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    It seems to me that Urban Designers stick to structures and are closely aligned with the Romulan's (aka architects) They tend to work for consultants that handle large scale inner city redevelopment....

    Physical Planners deal with other things outside of just buildings (street scape, light poles, landscapes, engineering issues, other general design stuff....) and are closely aligned with the Ferengi Engineers and Landscape Architects

    The Urban Designers at Grad School were ALWAYS Mired with those cool little foam core models of buildings....each of them trying to outdo the others....oh and they ONLY associated with the Architects and Landscape Architects...not us policy pimps ..

    ......The One is Gearing up for the Comedy Central Roast of Bill Shatner
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3

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    There are definitely distinctions, but they, like most planning efforts, are not mutually exclusive. Usaully where urban design and physical or land use planning co-exist in a program urban design is more related to architecture and may require a background in architecture. I wouldn't get to caught up in the definitions. Decide what you are intereted in and go from there.

    I found these descriptions helpful:

    The practice of urban design spans the fields of architecture and planning and deals with the aesthetic and the perceptual character of the urban environment.

    Physical planning is concerned with the orderly, efficient, and equitable development and arrangement of human activities on the land. Physical planning deals with issues such as land use regulation, recreation, housing, resource management and environmental conservation, public policy, zoning, and transportation

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by derive
    I found these descriptions helpful:

    The practice of urban design spans the fields of architecture and planning and deals with the aesthetic and the perceptual character of the urban environment.
    I would replace "planning" in the above statement with "building sciences" .....the other thing I've noticed is that Landscape Architects seem to want to jump ship into Urban Design and Planning ALL of the time.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally posted by derive
    There are definitely distinctions, but they, like most planning efforts, are not mutually exclusive. Usaully where urban design and physical or land use planning co-exist in a program urban design is more related to architecture and may require a background in architecture. I wouldn't get to caught up in the definitions. Decide what you are intereted in and go from there.

    I found these descriptions helpful:

    The practice of urban design spans the fields of architecture and planning and deals with the aesthetic and the perceptual character of the urban environment.

    Physical planning is concerned with the orderly, efficient, and equitable development and arrangement of human activities on the land. Physical planning deals with issues such as land use regulation, recreation, housing, resource management and environmental conservation, public policy, zoning, and transportation
    I can't thank you enough for this response. It elucidates exactly what I've been struggling with - I am a Materials engineer and I think I like Urban Design, Physical Planning, and Architecture! I am going to take Planning classes through UC-Berkeley extension soon so I'll find out whether I really like Planning or one of the other three. I'm inclined to say that I will like Planning most out of the 3 because I thought that Physical Planning deals with the items you mentioned above, which is what I want to practice. SO, sounds like my understanding was not way off and I have hope!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Scope of works

    Quote Originally posted by Magnetica
    I can't thank you enough for this response. It elucidates exactly what I've been struggling with - I am a Materials engineer and I think I like Urban Design, Physical Planning, and Architecture! I am going to take Planning classes through UC-Berkeley extension soon so I'll find out whether I really like Planning or one of the other three. I'm inclined to say that I will like Planning most out of the 3 because I thought that Physical Planning deals with the items you mentioned above, which is what I want to practice. SO, sounds like my understanding was not way off and I have hope!
    To add, Physical planning is a broader scope or on a macro level among the other 2. Physical planning also involves socio-economic and visioning the future growth of a planned environment. Architecture and Urban Design contributes to the aesthetics and vertical structures of the new city.

  7. #7
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    Which of the two, between urban design and physical planning, is the more practical choice when considering career opportunities and future demand for planning work? I have a strong interest in both areas, but at this point, I want to specialize my degree in whichever field is going to provide the broader range of skills and the most job opportunities when I start my career.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by thavsmith
    Which of the two, between urban design and physical planning, is the more practical choice when considering career opportunities and future demand for planning work?
    I would argue it doesn't matter as long as you have a strong foundation in the legal aspects of planning and can apply those laws to real world situations.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Physical planning or Urban Design

    To give you more appreciation of the 2, examples of their outputs are;
    A. Physical planning-land use plan
    B. Urban Design-Design of a landmark for a neighborhood.
    Since architecture was part of the original thread, I would include its output-Design of a 2-storey country club.

    How they are done? All pass the same process on conceptualization, design development and finalization of plans for implementation.
    Who got the higher fee? -Negotiation skills come in here, plus talents, creativity, and your character towards your clients.

  10. #10
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    Do you need a technical background to go into physical planning? I'm a public administration major w/ a city planning emphasis. I'm afraid I'm going to spend too long in grad school "catching up" on classes like calc and physics. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by tosborn
    Do you need a technical background to go into physical planning? I'm a public administration major w/ a city planning emphasis. I'm afraid I'm going to spend too long in grad school "catching up" on classes like calc and physics. Thanks.
    Sorry. Didn't mean to hijack your thread, I don't know why I didn't make this a new topic.

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