MSc Urban Design & Planning
Urban design lies at the interface of architecture and urban planning, with both disciplines contributing complementary but contrasting approaches to urban design theory and practice. This Masters programme is focused on the role of urban design in the context of urban planning, and is delivered with an emphasis on the distinct methodologies, professional perspectives and pedagogies of that discipline.
It provides specialist knowledge and skills in: urban design theory; urban conservation; risk, resilience and sustainability; as well as social science research methods applied to the built environment. The programme will enable graduates to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to create better places through urban design. Students will also have the opportunity to draw upon the Schools specialist research and teaching in environmental policy, to place urban design centre-stage in tackling wider environmental risks.
This programme will equip planners and others working in related areas with the capacity to develop urban design solutions, to analyse them critically and to provide guidance in regards to their implementation one for which there is a growing demand. This includes traditional urban design concerns surrounding the urban public realm, residential quality etc., but also emerging challenges surrounding the role of urban design in mitigating or adapting to climate change, the role of design in promoting healthy cities or neighbourhoods, and the incorporation of nature into design (e.g. bio-mimicry) to address biodiversity loss.
The MSc Urban Design & Planning is accredited as a specialist qualification by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
The MSc Urban Design and Planning will be delivered via a mix of: traditional lecture formats, seminars, field-based learning, studio-based teaching (intensive, interactive, practice-based labs), student-led seminars, as well as a thesis, and professional development skills training. Planning and architecture practitioners will be involved in the programme delivery (e.g. attending studio presentations, providing real world challenges to inform teaching) to maximize relevance for professional skills development.
Indicative modules are listed below.
Core modules in urban design context and theory provide students with foundation knowledge in urban design.
- Conservation, History Theory and Politics
- The Urban Environment: Risk, Resilience and Sustainability
*Graduates of teh BA Planning, Geography and Environment programme who register for the MSc Urban Design & Planning, and who have already taken the module Placemaking, will take the modules Introduction to Urban Design in its place.
Three major studio modules will be undertaken by students to ensure the effective application of knowledge to design challenges. The first will focus on developing a strategy for a small to medium-sized town. The second focuses on applying urban design theory in a practical setting to explore design concepts and urban development processes.
- Interdisciplinary Studio
- Urban Design Studio
- Nature-based Solutions
Core modules in research skills are designed to enable students to undertake an effective Masters thesis, to apply research skills to other modules (e.g. studios), and to act as a foundation for students wishing to pursue PhD study. These modules comprise:
- Geographical Information Systems for Policy and Planning
- Research Design and Methods
An MSc thesis will be undertaken over the summer semester. Graduates will have the opportunity to choose either a traditional research thesis, or to complete the thesis element through preparation of a design thesis. The design thesis option involves the application of research in developing an innovative urban design project appropriate to the site and to the specific complex urban design challenge(s) being investigated and addressed.
Continuing Professional Development Skills will be both embedded into modules (e.g. communication, graphic, research skills) and delivered where appropriate in the form of one-off workshops (e.g. interview/job search skills).