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Urban Design and Physical Planning

View of Buffalo's City Hall

In the specialization in urban design, students examine the framed perspective on a monumental scale, along the avenue approaching Buffalo's City Hall.

Urban designers study the design of the built environment, from the scale of the details on a street sign up to a bird’s eye view of the structure of a metropolitan region. The urban design specialization bridges architecture and planning, focusing on each discipline as a form of critical inquiry into the other.

Studios, seminars, and community-based learning formats cover theories, methods, and case studies in urban design, physical and spatial planning, sustainable design, landscape design, and tools for financing urban design proposals.

Curriculum (4 courses are required to complete the specialization)

Intro Course (required)

  • URP 565 Urban Planning & Design I: Understanding Good Urban Form (Fall)

Methods Course (required)

  • URP 566 Urban Planning and Design II: Methods and Case Studies (Spring)

Elective Courses (minimum two)

  • URP 525 Financing Urban Development (Spring)
  • URP 528 Historic Preservation (Spring)
  • URP 558 Design Inclusive Environments (Fall)
  • URP 562 Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form (Spring)
  • URP 564 Infrastructure Planning (Spring)
  • URP 571 3-D Visual and Urban Simulation (Fall)
  • ARC 588: Design Theory: The City in Film (Fall)

A Word about the Required Planning Studio Not all of the planning studio courses offered by the faculty contain urban design content. MUP students who are completing a specialization in Urban Design must take a studio which does have such content. Appropriate studio sections will be identified by the department staff at time of registration.

  • URP 581 Planning Studio (with design content) or

Note: M.Arch/MUP dual-degree candidates must take their dual-studio under a different number designation:

  • URP 580 Planning Studio, co-enrolled in ARC 609

Culminating Exercise:

As part of the requirement for graduation with an MUP, students seeking a specialization must prepare a professional project or at thesis related to that specialization.  In rare cases, students may believe that they are unable to fit their specialization topic into the professional project.  If so, they must still complete the professional project, but must consult with their Specialization Director about an additional class (most likely independent study) through which to demonstrate synthetic knowledge of the specialization.  This may be done only with the Specialization Director’s approval.  

Specialization Director:

Hiroaki Hata