Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Urban planning graduate student interested in urban design

  1. #1

    Registered
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    6

    Urban planning graduate student interested in urban design

    I have a B.A. in political science from USC and am currently applying to masters programs at UCLA, UC Berkeley, U of Michigan, USC, and UC Irvine. Though I am applying for an urban planning program, I would ultimately like to get a joint master's degree in either urban design or landscape architecture. I am first going into urban planning because I find it fascinating and would like to help Los Angeles communities. Since my college background is political science, a mostly theory- and writing-based curriculum, I did not know what to compile in order to create an urban design portfolio for the admission's committees. Does anybody have ideas about how I might eventually transition from urban planning into urban design? I am a very gifted artist, great with pencil and ink sketching, and I have a keen eye for design. I have been practicing sketching since childhood -both self-taught and trained in art school.

    I would like to help reshape communities and, either simultaneously or at some point, actually design streets and portions of cities and neighborhoods. Is is possible to build an urban design or landscape architecture portfolio while pursuing an urban planning master's degree? Let me reframe that...I know it is possible...but how would one learn how to create this urban design portfolio? Would I take urban design classes as electives while pursuing the urban planning degree? My goal is to help rebuild communities, beautify them, and use my artistic skills to do this.

    Any positive advice would be much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    As far south of SoCal as I Will Go
    Posts
    5,456
    Welcome! I think you might want to stating my entering a grad program that puts your design skills to work, so instead of focusing on programs that further refine theory such as UC Berkley, UC Irvine and UCLA, trying going to a school that has an architecture program that is closely interwoven. USC definitely has a good urban planning and design program, as well as Cal Poly Pomona, as well as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Some of these programs like Cal Poly encourage cross pollination between the architecture program, landscape program and ensure you have a good "eye" for design.

    http://planning.calpoly.edu/deptinfo/index.html<---shameless alumni plug

    If you stayed on your present course, than i would suggest taking undergrad course in architecture, urban design or LA. Although they won't count towards the degree, it definitely provides the much need portfolio you are seeking, and design firms like mine desperately need people who have design skills but understand the realm of planning and how to apply that to the built environment.

    Rebuilding communities and beautifying communities is a daunting task and remember it takes baby steps, so you always have to be patient, so glad you have a goal and keep it mind for your thesis. Good Luck and Welcome!
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loma Linda's
    Posts
    1,471
    Hi! My partner is a UC Berkeley Urban Design Grad and former faculty and I'm sure can give you some good advice. Send me a pm and I'll get you in touch with him, if you'd like.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    4
    First, two quick recommendations:
    1. Pick a program in an architecture school
    2. If you want to work in California, I suggest going to school there. You don't absolutely have to but it will be easier to get a job and you'll be focusing primarily on Cali in your classes.

    I am/are in a similar situation. My undergrad was in poli sci and history but I really want to work as an urban designer. I'm in my second year at Michigan now and I'm kinda regretting it. The design concentration is very weak. MUPs cant take MUD classes which is a little frustrating. There is an urban design capstone (semester long project) but other than that its all theory. You can take classes in landscape architecture though, which is in a separate school.

    The MUD at Umich already expects you to have design skills. They emphasize hand drawing so you may have an advantage there. However, I don't think they accept people without design degrees/or a MUP. Not sure. So you may have to apply in your second year. I was thinking of applying but financially it just doesn't make sense for me.

    You can build a portfolio while being an urban planning student. I would recommend that you take as many design related courses as you can. If your design classes are too theory based, then take a class at a community college. I took Autocad at a community college over the summer and it was great. I'm also taking a class in landscape architecture which will add to my portfolio. I guess the moral of the story is that you may have to be proactive in your search for design. But it is possible.

    Sorry I wrote you a novel but I think you're in a great position to do design whatever path you choose. You have the drawing skills which is great. Just add some computer to that, ie. sketchup, photoshop, indesign, illustrator. Good luck and if you have any Michigan questions feel free to pm.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,822
    I would agree with Gredi's comments. Personally, I would just apply for a MArch program that has an urban design focus, of just apply to an MLA program that emphasizes site design. These programs will take anywhere from 3 to 4 or more years versus 1-2 years for an urban planning or urban design degree/certificate. However, after you put in your time in school, you will come out with MArch or MLA which is a MUCH more versatile tool for design jobs than an MUP or MUD.

  6. #6

    Registered
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    6

    Thank you for your information..it really helped!

    Thanks for all the info., guys...and sorry for the late response...I've been really busy with work.

    But....

    I got into UCLA and USC! UCLA has great urban planning and design programs! Hopefully, the department counselors will be able to help me craft my own concentration to include design and architecture studies!

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 0
    Last post: 04 Jan 2013, 3:14 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last post: 11 May 2011, 10:19 AM
  3. Replies: 13
    Last post: 23 Apr 2006, 9:52 AM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last post: 20 Sep 2005, 11:24 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 27 Jul 2005, 10:55 PM