The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design offers a pre-professional course of study grounded in the multidisciplinary traditions of the liberal arts and active intervention in community and regional environments through classroom activity, fieldwork, workshops, and internships.
We live in times in which our urban and built environments are undergoing unprecedented change. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Environmental Design degree provides students with the skills to understand, analyze, and solve problems associated with such change, with a view toward community vitality, social fairness, and the design of sustainable environments. Environmental design, offered by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, applies knowledge of social and behavioral science to plan and design community environments that affect, and are affected by, human behavior.
While concerned about humanity's use, misuse, and abuse of the natural environment, environmental design is also concerned with the planned environment which humans build - the "artificial" or designed physical environment - and its ability to meet community needs. More subtly, environmental design includes issues from our cultural, economic, physical, political, and social environments. The purpose of environmental design is to gain a better understanding of these community environments, and then apply that knowledge to plan and design improved surroundings.
Environmental design addresses the arrangement, appearance, and
functionality of towns and cities including the spaces used freely
on a day-to-day basis by the general public. This encompasses
streets and parks, together with public infrastructure, and
privately owned places. In addition, environmental design is
concerned with the way these places are experienced and used, as
well as other aesthetic elements that contribute to the quality of
community environments. Environmental design practitioners develop
long- and short-term plans and designs to use land for the growth
and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities, while
helping local officials make decisions concerning social, cultural,
economic, physical, and environmental issues.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers a breadth of knowledge through its degree programs on understanding urban and built environments, and teaches skills in information analysis, computing, written communications, and graphic techniques. In addition, the department offers specialized courses in land use, community design, property development, local government policy, economic development, environmental affairs, real estate development, historic preservation, legal issues, and geographic information systems. The preprofessional Environmental Design program utilizes the dynamic bi-national Buffalo-Niagara region as a laboratory for planning, design, and action.