Urban Design Overview

At the College of Architecture and Planning, we view urban design as the intersection of architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture and define urban design as:

  • The Design of the Public Realm that includes the form of the city and its places, focusing on the processes that produce thriving communities and shape public life over time. Thriving communities are sustainable and resilient and prioritize human-scaled design and result from inclusive and equitable design and decision processes.
  • An Integrative Discipline that requires strong leadership and collaborative skills to solve complex problems and guide multi-disciplinary work at various physical and temporal scales where design is the common thread. Urban designers must have strong skills in spatial and physical design as well as systems and process thinking.
  • An Implementation-Focused Practice that requires a clear understanding of the relationships between design, policy, regulations, and economics and the potential of collaborative partnerships and community engagement in the delivery and evolution of urban places over time that are sustainable and equitable.
Many people mingling in an alley looking at student projects
Three students in front of a glass wall.

Vision and Mission

Our vision for Urban Design education at the College of Architecture and Planning:

We are an international model for training the urban designers of tomorrow and for working closely with urban design professionals and the community to create places that enrich people and the planet.

Our mission is to:

  • Teach and train students to become exceptional urban design thinkers, practitioners, and leaders in their communities.
  • Collaborate with urban designers to advance the profession and position it at the intersection of the city-building disciplines.
  • Engage with the community to create great places that are sustainable, inclusive, equitable, healthy, and inspiring, while providing students with real-world learning experiences.
Many people mingling in an alley looking at student projects
Many people mingling in an alley looking at student projects

Our Program

Master of Urban Design

Learn More

Our Faculty

The Urban Design faculty are drawn from throughout the College of Architecture and Planning and from the community of talented urban design professionals who live and work in the region. Consequently, the Urban Design faculty bring to the classroom and studio environment a deep understanding of urban design theory and practice and multidisciplinary perspectives that distinguish our program as a leader in the design of cities, towns, and public places.


Alisha Hammett Headshot

Alisha Hammett

Jordan Block Headshot

Jordan Block

Lilly Djaniants

Lilly Djaniants

Nancy Locke Headshot

Nancy Locke

Ryan Sotirakis Headshot

Ryan Sotirakis

Samantha Suter Headshot

Samantha Suter