Overview

The Master in Urban Design, is a three (optional four) 36 credit semester program that provides students with a design experience investigating the guiding principles for building regions, cities and communities. The degree is STEM-designated which allows international students to apply for OPT for up to 36 months after graduation.

Guided by imperatives of sustainability and resilience, the program conceptualizes cities as an extension of the ecological transect across the natural to human habitat, providing students with a range of experiences from rural to urban.

Program Director Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, recognized for her foundational role in the development of the movement called the New Urbanism, leads the program that invites students to explore design, policy and management tools for place-making as a vehicle for improving quality of life in a variety of urban settings. The impact of the built environment on health, retrofitting the suburban landscape, real estate development as community building, adaptation to climate change, and urban growth and revitalization, are topics prominent in course offerings and faculty research.

The three-semester curriculum begins in the fall each year with foundation courses in urban design and real estate development, in an Interdisciplinary approach structured by environmental, social and economic goals. The spring semester intensifies students' engagement with contemporary urban challenges such as climate resilience, healthy community design, and repair of suburban sprawl. The summer semester provides a concluding experience that aggregates prior topics in an international setting that challenges goals of sustainability and resource conservation. As part of the curriculum, students participate in the National Charrette Institute certification course, a training in public outreach and participatory planning, and collaborate with real estate development students in two special projects: a national design and development competition, and a local community revitalization plan. These experiences and the course work shared with the Master of Real Estate Development and Urbanism program provide a focus on implementation. The optional fourth semester of the Master of Urban Design program is a semester-long independent study design project or thesis. In recent years these have focused on topics such as greening a Brazilian City, socially integrated public housing in China, and an analysis of principles and metrics of Smart Cities and New Urbanism.

Other resources that enrich the urban design student's experience in the School include the Center for Community and Urban Design (CUCD), engaging students in community outreach projects in South Florida and The Caribbean, and the Archive of the New Urbanism, housed in the School of Architecture Library. The Archive is a growing resource of documents, with both texts and images that support research related to urban design. Also, Research Affiliates from around the world join the faculty annually to study the state-of-the-art in urban design and architecture.

Guiding the ever evolving program are faculty members Charles Bohl, Jaime Correa, Eric Firley, Jean Francois Lejeune, Victor Deupi and Joanna Lombard, internationally recognized in research, publication and design.

While the Master of Urban Design is a post-professional program, structured for students with a professional degree in architecture, those holding a degree in engineering, planning or landscape architecture may apply for admission. A preparatory summer course may be required for non-architects, to be determined by the admission process.

History of Program

Urban Design offerings at the School of Architecture emerged in the 1980's when a group of faculty members sought to have an impact on the urban growth of South Florida. The impetus was their study of Coral Gables, a Progressive Era new town, one of a series of Anglo-American Suburbs that can be found across the United States. George Merrick founded Coral Gables in 1923. He believed that for his city to be great it needed a university, and he set aside land for the University of Miami. The architects Merrick engaged in the building of Coral Gables founded the architecture program at the outset. Today, building on his legacy, the School of Architecture is renown for its dedication to preparing future professionals with an understanding of the larger context for their work in the environment and society.

In 1988, mentored by their city and their studies of its design, and by leading thinkers of the time such as Leon and Rob Krier, the faculty established a post-professional degree in urban design. The young faculty's design of Seaside, now an icon of new community design, challenged the planning and development conventions of its day. The new masters program established the precepts of Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) and of the Charter for the New Urbanism. The School's faculty and alumni are among the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and have been prominent contributors to the evolution of the movement, now a globally renowned approach to sustainable urban growth and revitalization.

Curriculum Requirements

ARC 601Urban Design Studio I6
ARC 602Urban Design Studio II6
ARC 603Urban Design Studio III6
ARC 621Housing, Infrastructure and Transportation3
ARC 622Urban Design History and Theory3
ARC 623Urban Design Competition3
ARC 690History of Cities3
RED 601Introduction to Real Estate Development and Urbanism3
RED 640Charrette Training1
RED 699Capstone: Real Estate Development and Urbanism Charrette1
Elective1
Total Credit Hours36

Curriculum Requirements

with Fourth Semester Design Project

ARC 601Urban Design Studio I6
ARC 602Urban Design Studio II6
ARC 603Urban Design Studio III6
ARC 610Architecture Design Degree Project6
ARC 621Housing, Infrastructure and Transportation3
ARC 622Urban Design History and Theory3
ARC 623Urban Design Competition3
ARC 690History of Cities3
RED 601Introduction to Real Estate Development and Urbanism3
RED 640Charrette Training1
RED 699Capstone: Real Estate Development and Urbanism Charrette1
Elective1
Total Credit Hours42

Suggested Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
FallCredit Hours
ARC 601 Urban Design Studio I 6
ARC 621 Housing, Infrastructure and Transportation 3
ARC 690 History of Cities 3
RED 601 Introduction to Real Estate Development and Urbanism 3
RED 640 Charrette Training 1
Elective 1
 Credit Hours17
Spring
ARC 602 Urban Design Studio II 6
ARC 622 Urban Design History and Theory 3
ARC 623 Urban Design Competition 3
 Credit Hours12
Summer
ARC 603 Urban Design Studio III 6
RED 699 Capstone: Real Estate Development and Urbanism Charrette 1
 Credit Hours7
 Total Credit Hours36
Plan of Study Grid
Fall IICredit Hours
ARC 610 Architecture Design Degree Project 6
 Credit Hours6
 Total Credit Hours6

Goals

  • To prepare students for professional leadership and lifelong learning in architecture, urbanism, and related fields. 
  • To preserve and develop knowledge for the profession through research and practice. 
  • To share knowledge locally and internationally through community service. 
  • To promote building and community design goals of environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic sustainability. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate the Ability to effectively use basic architectural and environmental principles in design.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak and listen effectively.