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Urban Design - MA *

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: City Centre
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This forward thinking, exploratory, design focused MA, is rooted in a deep connection between theory and practice. In completion, you will know how to critique, create and experiment with the design of high quality, trans-disciplinary urban places.

As ‘an umbrella’ field of study and profession, Urban Design lies at the critical junction of an ever-increasing urban population that continues to add pressure to global systems, with effects that connect through scale, from political strategies right down to an individual's every-day personal experience. Now is the time we must be innovative and joined-up in our thinking. Whether you have a background in architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, or other fields; Urban Design is an acknowledgement that we need to work together to face the current global challenges and develop integrated responses that open new opportunities for all of us.

What's covered in the course?

On this course we embrace collaborative, creative processes, which connect and transcend traditional discipline boundaries, ‘silo’ processes and mentalities, to promote the dynamic diversity of human conditions. You will explore ways to refine the way we think about, and make, the places that represent and support our lives. We want to make places that can facilitate a happier and more sustainable world, supporting both the short- and long-term success of humanity and our fellow species.

This course is an integration of best practice and innovative learning strategies from the widely regarded Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, and the Department for the Built Environment. As a highly collaborative course, we bring expertise from a rich diversity of backgrounds.

Drawing on extensive experience in research and practice, this Master's in Urban Design provides a balance of practical and theoretical learning, within the following themes:

Design Process

  • Exploratory, iterative design creativity
  • Strategies and framework design processes
  • Life and Place: curating sustainability, value, character and function
  • Socio-economic and physical analysis across diverse contexts
  • Collaborative design strategy and the role(s) of the urban designer

Communication

  • Contemporary visualisation for urban design - best practice and innovation
  • Mixed-media design communication: explorations in interface and interactivity
  • Communicating with structure, character and precision

Practice

  • Professional and ethical evaluation
  • Transdisciplinary, participatory and inclusive practice
  • Sectors, trends and the targeted marketing of design
  • Time and process management

Theory and Debates

  • Contemporary global questions and debates
  • Between practical theories and theoretical practices
  • International urban-isms, people and design
  • Research practice and process

Why Choose Us?

  • Urban design lies at the critical junction of an ever-increasing urban population that continues to add pressure to global systems from political strategies to personal experience. Now is the time we must be innovative and joined-up in our thinking, to work together whatever the background, be it originally in architecture and design, planning, or other fields, which relates to global challenges and opportunities.
  • This design-focused Masters programme is rooted in a deep connection between the latest theories and practices. We blur and move beyond the traditional discipline boundaries of architecture, landscape architecture and planning, social and economic studies, responding to contemporary contexts and continuously striving to incorporate new ways of thinking.
  • You will learn how to critique, create and experiment with high quality, trans-disciplinary design of urban places. Through collaborative creative processes you will be encouraged to appreciate urban design as an umbrella profession and embrace the dynamic diversity of human conditions.
  • You will explore ways to refine the way we think about, and make, the places that represent and support our lives, looking to innovative strategies that facilitate happier and more sustainable places for both the short- and long-term success of humanity and our fellow species. In these ways, you will form a deeper appreciation of how places need to be successfully made and sustained.

 

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This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

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Subject to approval

The content of this course has been refreshed and updated to make sure you graduate with the skills employers need in an ever-changing job market.

Our quality control experts are currently reviewing the content and we anticipate receiving formal approval shortly.

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Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With continual and significant investments across our buildings and digital facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best collaborative learning environment to help shape your unique experience.

You’ll be based in the Parkside building, recently and regularly enhanced to keep resources at the cutting edge – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced our professional practice.

We offer facilities that push the boundaries of what is possible in design communication. These include a range of software and hardware that supports design process from creative to technical stages of design, skills, prototyping and fabrication, while also having access to a range of specialist workshops and social learning spaces.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

Staff have extensive and broad experience in practice and academia related to urban design and the traditional subject areas that feed into urban design. Staff also have additional qualifications and extensive experience in teaching for higher education, as well as research. We each strongly follow principles of reflective practice and continual professional development.

We strive to ensure that you will receive access to the latest thinking, activity and professional networks.

Lucas Hughes

Lucas Hughes

Programme Director, BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Lucas Hughes holds qualifications in landscape architecture and urban design. He has a broad range of interest and experience within several professional sectors linking across the built-environment industry. His core focus is to promote high quality, integrated, design-led processes for the creation of characterful and sensitive built environment solutions.

Read Lucas' full profile

Jieling Xiao Profile

Dr. Jieling Xiao

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Design

Jieling is a qualified Architect and Designer and makes contributions on most of the programmes associated with the the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. Jieling believes passionately that designers need to consider more than just how the hardware of architecture functions for its users. Jieling is particularly interested in theories and the creative practice of place-making and environmental design that interprets and plays with people’s sensory experiences, particularly in relation to soundscape and smellscape.

Read Jieling's full profile

Silvia Gullino

Dr Silvia Gullino

Associate Professor in City Making and Course Leader for the MPlan/BSc Property Development and Planning

Silvia holds a BA and MA in Architecture and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino. She gained her PhD in Spatial Planning at the Politecnico di Milano in 2005 and conducted postdoctoral research as a Senior Fellow in International Urban Studies at the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University from 2005 to 2006.

Since 2007, she has held academic positions at Kingston University, King’s College London, University College London and Salford University.

Silvia is currently Associate Professor in City Making in the Centre for the Built Environment at Birmingham City University, where she leads on the MPlan/BSc Property Development and Planning and teaches several of the MA Planning Built Environments modules (Placemaking, Development Project and Professional Practice).

She holds a MArch in Architecture from the Politecnico di Torino and a PhD in Spatial Planning from the Politecnico di Milano in 2005. In 2005-06, she conducted postdoctoral research as a Senior Fellow in International Urban Studies at the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Since 2007, she has held academic positions at Kingston University, King’s College London, University College London and Salford University.

She joined the School of Engineering and the Built Environment as Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning in 2017.

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Professor Peter Larkham

Professor of Planning

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society, Peter teaches on postgraduate courses in built environment subjects, and has contributed to a number of academic journal papers and other publications. He also supervises at PhD level.