The scope of this page is to allow MAUD students to share knowledge, experience and opinions by answering questions asked by various people including undergraduates, graduates from other institutions and young professionals. The page could also provide MAUD students with an opportunity to ask questions to be answered by the page’s users, enabling more interaction and ownership.
Q: What is Urban Design?
A: Urban design is the process of arranging the physical setting for life in cities, towns and villages, in particular the shaping and uses of urban public space. It involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, and establishing the processes that make successful development possible. It has traditionally been regarded as a disciplinary subset of urban planning, landscape architecture, or architecture and in more recent times has been linked to emergent disciplines such as landscape urbanism. It also brings together issues of planning, transportation, architectural design, economics, landscape and engineering to create a vision for an area and making a place for people. Good urban design is essential to deliver places which are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.
Q: How do Urban Designers spend their days?
Given the multi-faceted nature of urban design, the day to day activities of an urban designer include collaboration with various professional and community entities. At the office, the urban designer prepares master plans, analysis and assesses the way and means to improve the livability of a place whilst responding to inquiries from citizens, developers, and public officials. It is also important for urban designers to spend time in the field, taking surveys, talking with citizens, and observing physical situations. Urban designers also spend their time preparing for meetings and presentations. As MAUD students, the latter task becomes quite important since we are constantly developing our presentation skills based on the received feedback. Learn more by visiting the ‘MAUD Survival Tips’ page.
Q: What knowledge and skills do Urban Designers need?
Urban design brings together knowledge and skills from various subjects including architecture, planning, landscape architecture, land economics and sustainable development. This requires multi-disciplinary collaboration, where in many cases; one has to be flexible in his approach to urban design, able to listen and understand other people’s ideas and determined to seek the best ways of enhancing social, environmental and economical development in a sustainable manner.
The MAUD programme at Newcastle University allows students to explore the dynamics of such relations by bringing together students with a different educational background including urban design, architecture, planning, sustainable development, geography and arts. In many cases, we found this mix of students beneficial since one’s opinion is generally confronted by others’, enriching our perceptions and thinking skills.
Urban designers are therefore trained to take a broader view of any issue, to deal with complexity and uncertainty as well as interpersonal and group dynamics needed to resolve disagreements.
Strong communication skills, both oral and written become crucial in expressing one’s ideas. Urban designers need to be effective in communicating with many different kinds of people in a range of contexts.
Q: What is the emphasis of the MAUD programme at NCL?
The MAUD Programme at Newcastle University emphasises the importance of sustainability and sound urban design principles.
This is achieved by a collaboration with various local councils and organizations within the North East of England, allowing students to experience the real issues and challenges they would be facing once they move on to a professional practice.
Members of the teaching staff including tutors and lecturers are also very active in the networking aspect of urban design, presenting students with the opportunity to learn from a broader pool of knowledge and skills from other students across the UK.
Q: What are the advantages of studying urban design at NCL?
Studying in Newcastle has presented many advantages in terms of studies, but also in terms of quality of living.
Newcastle is currently England’s most sustainable city, a title that is eagerly defended through constant efforts and a proactive attitude to development in the area. This allows MAUD students to learn from the latest achievements in this sector and experience the effects of such measures.
The ‘Bridging Newcastle-Gateshead’ campaign, the assistance and organization provided for the creative, business and technological sectors, together with continuous lessons regarding regeneration in inner city areas and run down industrial sites, make Newcastle the ideal location for first hand exploration and understanding of these various issues.
In Newcastle, students’ perceptions are truly transformed not just by theoretical best practice, but by everyday living itself.
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