Recent data and predictions on the forthcoming rate of urbanisation make cities the most common living environment now and in the future. What kind of life will it be for the seven billion people who will live in existing or developing cities? Cities hold tremendous potential, but at the same time are sources of stress, inequalities and pollution.
In 2015, the United Nations recognised this through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Goal 11 is dedicated to urban settlements, with the aim to 'Make Cities Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable'.
This means that getting the design of cities right has never been so important. The questions are: what kind of design should we adopt, and who should be in charge? Our course explicitly addresses these questions, and teaches how to design responsive, resilient, sustainable cities for all their inhabitants, thus preparing socially responsible urban design professionals of the future.
Designed for both students and practitioners, the course treats the city as a complex, dynamic system.
The course is closely linked to the Urban Design Studies Unit research agenda. Everything taught in classes and the studio is based on our excellent research record and helps advance it.
Your course is delivered through studio work, lectures, seminars and a research project.
The major topic of studio is the design of the resilient city. We will address this at all scales, from the metropolitan to the neighbourhood with all its special places. We normally work on a authentic client commission, therefore the work is real; you will work against deadlines, and in multidisciplinary teams, employing professional methods. Your designs will be based on UDSU’s approach to city design called ‘Masterplanning for Change’.
Taught classes give you the theoretical grounding for everything you do in studio and inform the next phase of research. They take you through the history and theory of ideas that shaped cities up to the present day. They illustrate the current challenges faced by cities, with all the approaches available to tackle them This culminates with the very unique principles behind our Masterplanning for Change approach to the design of the city. These classes also aim to provide you with the basic skills to develop and express urban design ideas at best. Finally, they provide you with an understanding of the political, economic and practical realms of urban design.
The Masters thesis is a substantial piece of student-led work on a topic of particular personal interest, or suggested by staff to advance the Urban Design Studies Unit agenda. It is the completion of this piece that grants students the RTPI accreditation.
There are two fully-networked design studios; one dedicated to student self-study, the other to interactive design teaching.
In addition to the main University library, we have our own, on-site, reference library. Our collection is developed in direct response to the teaching delivered in the department.
A full range of hand and portable power tools are available (complete with instruction).
We offer plotter printing, scanning and laser cutting services.
The course receives Specialist Accreditation from the Royal Town Planning Institute, an important professional recognition from one of the largest planning bodies in the World.
Our department works in a joint Partnership Board with Glasgow University’s Department of Urban Studies, a world-class department whose renowned teachers and researchers contribute real estate and policy and practice teaching to our course.
Taught classes take place over Semesters 1 and 2, and include compulsory and optional choices. Compulsory classes will teach you the basic principles of what makes a sustainable and resilient city. Urban Design History and Urban Theory provide a historic overview of all major changes in the form of cities, with a focus on their social, political and economic contexts. The principles and theories of Sustainability are explored as well as the role of Development Processes and the practice and policy of Urban Design (theory) on the shape and density of cities
Optional classes offer you the chance to specialise in an area of interest. These include Urban Landscape Design, Urban Design Representation and other classes which you might find useful from the wider Faculty of Engineering offering.
The course director helps each student build up their curriculum on the basis of their background and interests.
Courses are taught through lectures, seminars and studio work as well as a piece of research (MSc students only).
Lectures and seminars are delivered through a variety of modes including short intensive sessions to allow for flexible booking by CPD and part-time students. There's also occasional site visits.
The taught element of the course starts from a solid grounding in urban design history and theory. It then concentrates on current urban challenges, from climate change to the pressures for development in both developed and developing countries. It culminates with the research work carried out in the Urban Design Studies Unit and teaches you the unit’s ethos and approach to urbanism.
Assessment criteria are linked to the learning outcomes set for each individual class and these are published in the modules descriptors which are available to students. The criteria is also explained by staff at the start of each class, to make sure that you're comfortable and clear with what is expected of you.
The assessment of studio work is developed collaboratively between staff and students. Learning outcomes are linked to criteria and performances. This increases your sense of ownership of the learning process and is integral to the course.
On successful completion of studio and classes you’ll be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. If you complete an additional research element you’ll receive an MSc in Urban Design.
Now more than ever, more emphasis has been placed on the environmental management and planning of our cities. Graduates must acquire knowledge to solve problems and reshape the quality and performance of cities around the world.
Gain access to a wide range of career pathways in the natural and built environments with a Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning at Bond. Graduates will receive theoretical and practical skills to undertake environmental management, and urban and regional developments.
The Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning is delivered in intensive mode. Intensive mode delivery is a compact and time efficient way to complete a postgraduate qualification with minimal impact on professional and personal lifestyles. Each subject is delivered over two weekends during the semester. There are two sets of three-day sessions per subject, generally scheduled Thursday to Saturday (approximately six to eight contact hours per day) with a break of four or five weeks between session one and session two of each subject.
Participants will receive 40 hours of combined lectures, discussion groups, case studies and workshops during contact hours. International students are required to be on campus every week.
The program is also professionally recognised by some of Australia’s leading professional bodies. This allows graduates to differentiate themselves within the industry.
The Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning program focuses on Environmental Management as well as Urban Design & Planning. The Environmental Management component provides an in-depth examination of environmental management, including field work. The content is globally focused, providing qualifications that are in demand worldwide. Students may apply for a postgraduate industry internship in the final semester of the program. This includes the option of being involved in a client based environmental management capstone project or research dissertation. The Urban Design and Planning curriculum equips graduates with the theoretical and practical skills required to undertake the design, appraisal and management of urban and regional developments. With this qualification, professionals from a built environment background will be able to undertake urban planning and development at a professional level.
The structure of the Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning comprises both theoretical and practical subjects. This program is designed in close consultation with prominent industry professional boards to ensure the integrity and contemporary relevance of the degree.
This program enables you to exit after four (4) subjects with a graduate certificate, after eight (8) subjects with a graduate diploma or complete 12 subjects for a master’s degree.
Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Environments and Planning (4)
You must complete four (4) of the following subjects:
Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Environments and Planning (8)
If you have obtained a cognate undergraduate degree and seek accreditation by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) you must complete the following eight (8) subjects:
If you are not seeking accreditation from PIA you may complete eight (8) subjects from the following:
Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning (12)
To complete a Master of Sustainable Environments and Planning, you must complete all of the following subjects:
Students choose any two electives from the FSD list of postgraduate subjects.
The production, reproduction and transformation of urban space via socially, economically, and environmentally just methods presents a complex challenge for professionals. This MSc combines cultural, social, economic, political and spatial analysis to recalibrate the urban design project, presenting a holistic response in which informality and marginality are central features.
The programme will equip students with a political economy understanding of space; a comprehension of the needs, abilities, aspirations and forms of resistance of urban dwellers; the ability to respond with strategically co-ordinated proposals to leverage local abilities to meet local needs; and an ability to critically engage with the practice of urban design and architecture in developmental processes – particularly in the Global South.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a development and planning dissertation (60 credits).
Please note, the availability of some modules may be dependent on student numbers
All MSc students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures, seminar presentations, group exercises and workshops. The BUDD studio includes a fieldwork project in an urban reality of the Global South, developed in partnership with local organisations, networks of communities, slum dweller federations, universities and governments alike. Students are encouraged to explore different tools, concepts and ideas throughout the programme and test these during the field project. Assessment is through coursework, design work, written examinations and the 10,000-word report.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Building and Urban Design in Development MSc
The programme enables graduates to work in NGOs and local government – facilitating community organisations and households to improve their living conditions. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors, to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, which operate in a development capacity in the South. Recent graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies and architectural and design practices. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in urban design and architecture practice, teaching, or research of urban development there; others have successfully sought employment away from their own countries.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The UCL Bartlett is the UK's largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, bringing together dozens of scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.
The Development Planning Unit is an international centre concerned with promoting sustainable forms of development, understanding rapid urbanisation and encouraging innovation in the policy, planning and management responses to the economic, social and environmental development of cities and regions, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Its programmes are supported by international agencies as well as by national and provincial governments.
The Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) programme in particular reflects on the necessity of design practices to contribute to changing the mainstream paradigm of working with the urban poor, with communities and the city itself.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Development Planning Unit
81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Jointly delivered by Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society at Heriot-Watt University, this programme builds upon the expertise and knowledge developed in both institutions.
The MSc in Urban Strategies & Design is taught by academic researchers with international research experience, links and interests, in a range of urban areas. This wealth of knowledge and the use of contemporary pedagogies is integrated into the programme’s delivery.
The programme encourages the adoption of a comprehensive approach towards the delivery of socially sustainable urban transformation, from local-specific to global-regional interventions. You will study the wide and diverse range of social, economic and political processes that influence the development of the contemporary urban environment. The course also seeks to enable you to acquire the tools and skills to propose urban projects of diverse scales and specificities.
Students on the programme come from a range of multidisciplinary backgrounds and work collaboratively to understand how urban design approaches respond to contemporary urban transformations. This analysis is framed not only from a Western perspective but acknowledges that urban transformations in the urban north are increasing interlinked with activities in the urban south. Course pedagogy involves traditional lectures, seminars, excursions and other relevant group activities.
The city of Edinburgh offers a unique laboratory for exploration of current urban design issues. The city’s renaissance to ‘Geddesian’ planning history, and more contemporary international planning pedagogy and consultancy links to urban institutions and bodies, particularly in the global south, provides a good platform from which to support student-led, location-based dissertations.
The programme seeks to address the gap between architecturally driven urban design and higher-level, spatial planning-driven, urban design;, bringing together a range of approaches relevant to urban design that are currently being developed within different professional and disciplinary practices, ranging from engineering to human geography.
You will study four compulsory courses at Heriot-Watt University in semester one, then study one compulsory course and one option course at the University of Edinburgh in semester two.
Should you wish to write an Africa or Latin America focused dissertation, you will choose African Cities or Latin American Cities options within the USD programme. Otherwise you can select any option course being offered at Edinburgh University which fits with your second semester timetable.
Once all coursework is completed, you will go on to write your USD dissertation, over a ten-week period, on an urban theme topic of your choice. Defined dissertation support will be provided, and submission formats discussed.
An MSc in Urban Strategies & Design enables you consider career opportunities from local to international contexts in a range of disciplines: architecture, planning, landscape architecture, urban planning strategies and development planning. These career opportunities exist in the formal, (public and private) voluntary, and international development sector. There are also opportunities to proceed to further academic research at masters or doctoral level.
This Master's programme has a unique focus on urban design as a creative planning tool and the interface between urban design and city planning. It offers a comprehensive understanding and exposure to urban design theory and practice, and also the complexity of its interface with the city planning field.
The programme equips students theoretically and practically, engaging academically and in practice with urban design and related fields of knowledge. Students will learn how to think critically, creatively and in analytical ways across the different city scales, from strategic to local, and across urban design, city planning, place-making, real estate and sustainability arenas.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of eight compulsory modules (120 credits), and a research dissertation or major research project (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma, eight modules (120 credits) full-time nine months and part-time 2-5 years, is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate, four core modules (60 credits), full-time nine months is offered.
MSc students have the choice between a 10,000-word dissertation or 8,000-word final major research project in planning; the dissertation being by nature a rather more analytical exercise and the project a rather more propositional one.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of individual and group project work, skills-based practical and IT work, lectures (including some by visiting practitioners), tutorials, student presentations, seminars, field trips and direct practitioner involvement. Student performance is assessed through individual and group work, essays, examinations, project work, other skills-based practical work, and a dissertation or final research project report.
Graduate students from the Bartlett School of Planning have been very successful in gaining subsequent employment. There is growing demand for our Master's graduates from a wide range of both public and private employers. On completion of this programme the majority of graduates will work in either the public or private consultancy sectors. A minority will continue in higher degree studies and research.
The Urban Design and City Planning MSc is an opportunity for students seeking to further their professional careers to specialise in urban design and, within that broad arena, to engage deeply with both the theoretical debates and practice methodologies, with particular research agendas of direct relevance to the future of their professional practice.
The Bartlett School of Planning has a strong history of teaching and research at all levels. The school has been at the forefront of planning research and teaching for more than 100 years and is one of the foremost planning schools in the United Kingdom, with an international reputation.
This programme is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The Bartlett School of Planning is situated in the heart of London, which offers unique opportunities to study the complexities of contemporary urban design and planning processes, and engage with practitioners, alumni and academic guests through seminars, site visits and workshops.
Urban design brings together professionals from a range of backgrounds who share a passion for improving the design of our urban environments. Whether you have studied town planning, geography, fine art, engineering, architecture or landscape design, this course will give you the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment, questioning conventional assumptions about urban design.
You will study the latest methods and design theories relating to urban environments, exploring the development and resolution of projects and focusing on achieving environmental sustainability. We will build your understanding of ecological, management, social and economic principles that contribute to environmental and sustainable development.
You will be encouraged to apply your design skills to live projects. Working with landscape architecture and town planning students, you will address briefs provided by real clients, developing your ability to work as part of a team and making a significant contribution to innovative designs. Previous students have explored the potential for promoting urban agriculture and developing green spaces in collaboration with community groups in Leeds.
This is a flexible studio-based course which will give you the opportunity to work with and learn from students from a range of backgrounds, sharing experiences and building professional networks. It is also accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and will prepare you for professional membership.
We are proud to be celebrating 50 years of landscape architecture at Leeds Beckett University. Find out more on the Landscape at 50 website.
The INSIDE/OUT lecture series offers historical, theoretical and critical analyses of art, architecture and design and welcomes internationally recognised practitioners to come and talk about their practice. Find out about forthcoming events on the INSIDE/OUT webpage
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Research Excellence Framework 2014: our University's results for the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning unit, which it entered for the first time, were impressive with 37% of its research being rated world leading or internationally excellent.
Our strong links with industry will provide you with plenty of opportunities to network with practitioners during your course, and we will keep you up to date with job vacancies in private design consultancies, local government agencies and environmental organisations in the UK and overseas. In addition, we will also provide research opportunities working with our academic staff.