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Thread: From planning to urban design - through landscape architecture?

  1. #1
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    From planning to urban design - through landscape architecture?

    Hello peeps,
    I'm currently in the last semester of my BA in City & Regional Development at the University of Manchester. Before I came to uni all I knew was that I wasn't interested in individual buildings, and I didn't wanna become a gardener so therefore Architecture and Landscape Architecture wasn't an option for me. I have later found that Urban Design is what I really wanna get into, and ironically it seems that both of those degrees would have served me better than my what I chose (started out on a 4 year MA Town & Country Planning but changed to get more focus on Urban Design).

    Now I'm facing the dilemma of trying to trick myself into becoming an Urban Designer. I have found several MA Urban Design degrees around that I could get into straight from my BA, but I'm unsure which of these really offer a good and proper design education.

    My question is, how much of a disadvantage would I have in the Urban Design field with my undergrad degree? I have also found a PGDIP in Landscape Architecture that I'm considering to gain some more design skills, would doing that extra year be advisable?

    My graphical skills are relatively good, especially with the Adobe Suite, and I can pick up software pretty easily. My degree has had quite a lot of focus on Urban Design, both theoretically and practically as well. So is the Landscape Architecture route worth the money or should I just jump in at the deep end? Or are there any better options, I'm really open for whatever can give me the best possible prerqeuisites for working with what I want to do.

    Mariuss

  2. #2

    :)

    I'm slightly in the same dilemma as you. During my undergrad in Urban Planning I came to love Urban Design. I was lucky enough to eventually gain some site planning/urban design skills. I have come to realize that a Masters level degree will help me so I'm applying to grad school for a Master in Environmental Design. I almost applied for MLandscape Arch but changed my mind.

    I think a good place to start is to research the requirements of Urban Design jobs. Some only require an undergrad degree in urban planning, architecture, design or landscape architecture. Most require design experience and some require a professional masters level degree. It really varies.

    Look for internships. They are normally about a year or so and would give you some experience so you could make a more informed decision without wasting time or money in grad school.

    Find out if the Urban Design programs are accredited. Also see if you can talk to students or better yet professors. I'm sure the programs would be happy to answer your questions.

    In the end you have to make the right decision for your needs. It might be worth spending the money for a Masters degree. But it might not. There are soo many routes to take.

    Sorry if I was vague. Hopefully others can give their opinion. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your input! It seems like a master would be benificial. I've heard about people who have had internships/got a job without an urban design masters and they've all gone back to uni to get one part-time.

    Also, I would have to a masters anyway to get accreditation as a town planner, if I was to follow that route, so a masters has always been part of my financial plans. My main concern now is really if the diploma in Landscape Design is worth the extra year and 6000. And where I get in for the MAs in UD.

    Also, do anyone have experience as to how much emphasis is put on grades vs portfolio and references?

    Thanks again!

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