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Master of Urban Design

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  • Course description
    The Master of Urban Design program is a post-baccalaureate Urban Design degree program within the College of Architecture and Design. The program consists of 32 credit hours, and is designed to develop a body of knowledge, skills, and experience in Urban Design with a focus on sustainable urbanism.

    The Lawrence Tech Master of Urban Design Program recognizes the critical need for understanding cities and their associated regions and aspires to design sustainable urban places. With interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach to place, integrating the built and natural environments, and layering culture, economics, history, technology and theory, the program capitalizes on the diverse global background of faculty and strong local connection of the faculty and prospective students to prepare graduates to be leaders in shaping sustainable urban environments. The program is intense, integrated studio-oriented (involving designers + non-designers), and far-reaching, emphasizing local understanding of global systems, reading, and design projects that engage Regional Detroit. The classical city, the industrial city, global city, and the post-industrial city, the town and suburban sprawl, and its social, economic and environmental systems are all subjects for study and design. The Lawrence Tech Master of Urban Design program takes advantage of the program's location in one of the most unique urban contexts for the theory and practice of sustainable urbanism.

     Statement of Educational Objectives

     The Master of Urban Design program is designed to develop advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in the growing field of sustainable urbanism to qualified incoming students.  The graduates will:

        * 1. Acquire and articulate (through written, visual and oral communication skills) knowledge of cities in general and participate in the process of making sustainable places that involves complex morphological, socio-economic, and environmental agencies.
        * 2. Employ problem solving skills and awareness of emerging sustainable systems understanding to create a culture for a responsive and integrative urban design process, building systems integration and sustainability, with leadership in urban place-making, to support the critical need for skilled urban designers in the evolving urban context.
        * 3. Lead design, development, and policy teams in the process and development of conceptual designs, design drawings, construction, policy formulation, investment, and management of urban projects for building sustainable urbanism in a global market.

     Employment Prospects for Graduates

    The Master of Urban Design, by virtue of its location in Regional Detroit, home of a unique urban context with historic urban infrastructure, with examples of many original urban design and planning initiatives, and with challenging urban forces, Lawrence Tech Urban Design (UD) graduates will have opportunity to develop understanding and expertise critical to practicing in the current global urban environment. The program will prepare graduates to work both in the public and private sector:

        * 1. Public sector

    There are approximately 160 local governments in the Southeast Michigan region including city governments, municipalities, charter townships, and communities in and around Regional Detroit, which includes Windsor, ON, CA. Within the local governments, urban design is becoming an important aspect of governance, policy formation, and spatial planning and infrastructure in the face of demographic changes, economic constraints, and social movements. Like many of the existing professionals working in the public sector are potential students of the Master of Urban Design program, the local regional and state/provincial governments will be a great opportunity for employment for the graduating students.

        * 2. Private sector

    Regional Detroit is also home to several prominent urban design, planning and architecture firms working on urban projects. This professional setting, committed and dedicated to the urban design discipline, will be a tremendous resource to keep the program current and viable. Professionals from many of these firms are involved on the Industry Advisory Board. Their involvement in designing coursework and possibly teaching will create an opportunity for them to ensure the current real world, practical component of the curriculum.  This would also ensure that there is a strong flow of recruitment of talented graduates from the Master of Urban Design program.  Having a pool of local graduates that they can retain and employ as immediate contributors to the organization will fulfill their needs to find local professionals with a solid foundation in urban design and sustainable place-making.

        * 3. Entrepreneurs, Non-Governmental and non-profit organizations

    Metropolitan Detroit is also a breeding ground for the informal sector, which has played and continues to play a vital role in shaping the future of the metropolis through their visions, imagination, associations, and actions on the ground and everyday. Both Community Development Organizations (CDCs) and Foundations offer unique employment opportunities for Master of Urban Design graduates. The program hopes that urban design graduates will have the opportunity to contribute to and participate in this process of entrepreneurial appropriation and uniquely sustainable movement.

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