Urban Design

The Urban Design Graduate Research Group promotes critical problem solving at the confluence of two scales: the scale of buildings and the scale of cities

Straddling the fields of architecture and planning, we critically examine the diverse parameters that impact contemporary urban form, including political, economic, environmental, social, and cultural forces. We investigate how to choreograph and negotiate the competing interests of urban actors and stakeholders in the shaping of urban projects. We work with various urban communities through research, teaching, travel and design-build interventions.

Several recurring themes and issues of the contemporary city remain in focus in both our research and teaching: theories and histories of urban form, techniques of mapping and representation, the challenges of post-industrial and shrinking cities, the local and global impacts of climate change, brownfield remediation and waterfront transformation, infrastructural and ecological urbanism, and questions of preservation and heritage. We address these topics both in the context of emerging mega-regions and traditional cities, as well as through the lenses of transportation, housing, urban institutions and ecology.

We build on the School of Architecture and Planning's legacy of engagement with the city and its urban renaissance. We also engage the US-Canada border, Buffalo-Niagara region, and the Great Lakes as a design laboratory for research and intervention. Established travel programs in the U.S. and abroad offer students the chance to experience urban design within a national and global context—from cross-country domestic tours to studio-based programs centered in rapidly urbanizing regions in China.

As a sequence of offerings within the school’s professional Master of Architecture program, students enrolled in the group will build on their existing knowledge and skill sets in representation and design. Students work closely with faculty in research-driven studios integrated with carefully coordinated seminars. In the final year, students have the opportunity to pursue a master’s thesis that engages independent interests, preparing our graduates for diverse careers that advance a thoughtful integration of architecture and urbanism.

Related Courses


This studio proposes to re-engage with “unoriginal things” that make up the urban landscape of weak market cities. We will look at both the traditional (housing, schools, shops, religious institutions, street, park, etc.) and non-traditional (vacant buildings and lots, informal paths, storefront churches, corner stores, etc.) components.


This interdisciplinary seminar examines precedents and principles of good urban design; Making cities legible, sustainable, healthy, equitable, and rich in human experience”

What is a good city? The city that is legible, healthy, resilient, sustainable and equitable? How is its urban form and organized? How can you recognize it when you see one? Intended as an introduction to the field of Urban Design, this interdisciplinary course fulfills partial requirements for both an MArc-GRG/Urban Design (Technical Method) and an MUP-Urban Design Specialization track.
In this class we will develop an appreciation for the interdependence of planning, architecture, landscape and design and the roles they play in successful site analysis and subsequent construction. 

Affiliated Faculty

Clinical Assistant Professor - Director of Recruitment and First Year Experience - Department of Architecture
gldelane@buffalo.edu - Hayes Hall 128 - 716-829-5884
Associate Professor - Department of Architecture
hata@buffalo.edu - 317A Hayes Hall - (716) 829-5891
Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture
eozay@buffalo.edu - Hayes Hall 317C - (716) 829-6912
Clinical Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture
bawales@buffalo.edu - 137 Diefendorf Hall - (716) 829-5928