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Urban design is the process of shaping the physical setting for life in cities, towns and

villages. It is the art of making places. It involves the design of buildings, groups of
buildings, spaces and landscapes, and establishing the processes that make successful
development possible.

It is the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process of shaping the physical setting for
life in cities, towns and villages; the art of making places; design in an urban context.
Urban design involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and
landscapes, and the establishment of frameworks and processes that facilitate
successful development.

Urban design is an inter-disciplinary subject that utilizes elements of many built environment
professions, including landscape architecture, urban planning, architecture, civil and municipal
engineering.[2] It is common for professionals in all these disciplines to practice in urban design. In
more recent times different sub-strands of urban design have emerged such as strategic urban
design, landscape urbanism, water-sensitive urban design, and sustainable urbanism.

Urban design is about making connections between people and places, movement and urban form,
nature and the built fabric. Urban design draws together the many strands of place-making,
environmental stewardship, social equity and economic viability into the creation of places with
distinct beauty and identity. Urban design draws these and other strands together creating a vision
for an area and then deploying the resources and skills needed to bring the vision to life.

Public agencies, authorities, and the interests of nearby property owners manage public spaces.
Users often compete over the spaces and negotiate across a variety of spheres. Urban designers
lack control in the design profession; this is offered to architects. Input from engineers, ecologists,
localhistorians, and transportation planners is required to offer a balanced representation of ideas.
Urban designers are similar to urban planners when preparing design guidelines, regulatory
frameworks, legislation, advertising, etc. Urban planners also overlap with architects, landscape
architects, highway engineers and industrial designers. They must also deal with place
management to guide and assist the use and maintenance of urban areas and public spaces.
There are professionals who identify themselves specifically as urban designers. However,
architecture, landscape and planning programs incorporate urban design theory and design subjects
into their curricula. There are an increasing number of university programs offering degrees in urban
design at post-graduate level.
Urban design considers:

Pedestrian zones

Incorporation of nature within a city


Urban structure arrangement and relation of business and people

Urban typology, density and sustainability - spatial types and morphologies related to
intensity of use, consumption of resources and production and maintenance of viable

Accessibility safe and easy transportation

Legibility and wayfinding accessible information about travel and destinations

Animation Designing places to stimulate public activity

Function and fit places support their varied intended uses

Complementary mixed uses Locating activities to allow constructive interaction between


Character and meaning Recognizing differences between places

Order and incident Balancing consistency and variety in the urban environment

Continuity and change Locating people in time and place, respecting heritage and
contemporary culture

Civil society people are free to interact as civic equals, important for building social capital


Urban Design involves the design and coordination of all that makes up cities and


Buildings are the most pronounced elements of

urban design - they shape and articulate space by
forming the streetwalls of the city. Well designed
buildings and groups of buildings work together
to create a sense of place.

Public Space
Great public spaces are the living room of the city
- the place where people come together to enjoy
the city and each other. Public spaces make high
quality life in the city possible - they form the
stage and backdrop to the drama of life. Public
spaces range from grand central plazas and
squares, to small, local neighborhood parks.

Streets are the connections between spaces and
places, as well as being spaces themselves. They
are defined by their physical dimension and
character as well as the size, scale, and character
of the buildings that line them. Streets range from
grand avenues such as the Champs-Elysees in
Paris to small, intimate pedestrian streets. The
pattern of the street network is part of what
defines a city and what makes each city unique.

Transport systems connect the parts of cities and
help shape them, and enable movement
throughout the city. They include road, rail,
bicycle, and pedestrian networks, and together
form the total movement system of a city. The
balance of these various transport systems is what
helps define the quality and character of cities,
and makes them either friendly or hostile to
pedestrians. The best cities are the ones that
elevate the experience of the pedestrian while
minimizing the dominance of the private

The landscape is the green part of the city that weaves throughout - in the form of urban parks,
street trees, plants, flowers, and water in many forms. The landscape helps define the character
and beauty of a city and creates soft, contrasting spaces and elements. Green spaces in cities
range from grand parks such as Central Park in New York City and the Washington DC Mall, to
small intimate pocket parks.