Urban/Landscape design career advice


Hi there,

I am a registered Architect and have been practising in the industry for 7 over years. It slowly dawned upon me that urban/landscape design and planning is a true calling to me and i do not want to miss that. As I am in the process of venturing out to this realm, I hope some kind souls here would enlighten me on the industry and the nature of works that entails. 

The things that I like about are dealing with spatial morphology of cities, street networks, zoning, urban blocks and typology, parks and public spaces in between buildings, examining the facades and form of the cities, pedestrian and cyclist pathways, social cultural history studies etc, producing perspective and 3D image of the cities...

1. Based on the broad interest above, which profession suits me better (urban design, landscape architecture or perhaps urban planning?) I understand that urban planning mainly deals with policy writing, no?

2. As I mainly deal with buildings in my daily job and do not have prior experience in all the above, is landscape architecture a good start for me to begin with? The market is competitive and most employers I spoke to require some fundamental city design experience. 

3. Urban design seems vaguely defined in the industry. There is no professional institute that represents urban designer. However, the Landscape Institute in UK does recognise urban design practitioner. How about the States? And Asia? 

4. Any Architects that have successfully ventured out into urban design? Please let me know that you are here! Hope to hear about your journey

5. Is it worthwhile for me to get another post graduate degree in MAUD/MLA or MUP? Is that the minimal criteria?

Please enlighten me on the above. Thank you!

Aug 15, 18 2:26 am

I've interviewed with a couple of the more known urban/landscape firms in the past. The general messaging I received from them was that they tend to look for people trained in architecture programs, primarily for the rigor of design-thinking it enforces in graduates from those programs. I got the impression that this is more desirable to them based on the fact that all aspects of the academic programs are based around design-focused means (ie, design as a methodology for a broad array of scenarios, from architecture to urban condition to landscapes to graphics to documentation, right across the board). Contrast that to LA or UD where a significant amount of time would be spent on policy, botany, economics, etc. - it makes for a less robust background in design thinking. Seems to be about 2/3 to 3/4 architecture gradutes (although they also had a more open minds to diversity in backgrounds and breadth of knowledge than some architecture firms).

Aug 15, 18 9:06 am


Just curious if you've searched threads here for"urban design," "urban planning," and the like.  Several of us have posted at some length on this great subject over the years.  I'm glad to post more but don't have time at the moment.  Regardless, welcome!

Aug 15, 18 4:28 pm

I went to school and did my Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture and Master's in Architecture.  I got registered in both and my office practices both but I have never made a distinction between either as it's all just a fluid relationship between the exterior of a building and interior.  It's been a great way to exercise better control over the entire project from large scale planning at the outset to detail design of buildings on site.  I did spend some time working in the public sector as a planner to understand subdivision / rezoning / DP/BP process which is really important if you are interested in large scale planning projects.... lots of administrative and regulatory stuff can get in the way of perfectly development plans so seeking solutions to that way before you get to the building phase has been incredibly important.

And yes, many clients fired architects and planners once they knew we could manage  / design the entire process from start to finish so we have never had to find work over the last 24 years, it's always found us.

Aug 15, 18 6:51 pm

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