How to Become an Urban Designer

The work of an urban designer encompasses numerous tasks including writing and developing urban design policies and plans, performing feasibility studies and appraisals, and providing advice on design development. Additional job duties may include providing development guidance to local government officials and advising the public relative to urban design issues. Urban designers may work within both the private and public sectors. Preparation for entering the field of urban design requires a college degree. Some regions may require urban designers to obtain a license. Here are some helpful tips on how to become an urban designer.


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    Assess your abilities and aptitudes to become an urban designer. You must have strong visual conceptual skills and be able to use complex design software programs. Urban designers need strong communication skills and writing abilities.
    • Additional areas of required expertise include strong analytical skills and experience in using computer databases. Depending on the type of projects that you work on, you may also need to have skills in using geographic information systems (GIS) when mapping out areas of land.
    • As an urban designer you will need to have extensive knowledge of zoning codes, building codes and environmental regulations. Your job may also involve working with public officials and civic leaders in addition to land developers.
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    Get a Bachelor's Degree in urban design. Your curriculum should include coursework focusing on industrial design, architecture, town planning, geography, engineering and landscape architecture.
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    Decide if you want to specialize within a particular area of urban design. You can discuss a specialization with your academic advisor at college who will help you to design the right curriculum in preparation for entering the field.
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    Arrange an internship at an urban design firm while still in college. Consider it an opportunity to get a first-hand look at the type of work that urban designers do and to also acquire some key skills in the field.
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    Consider a Master's Degree in urban design if you are already working within the field and are seeking advancement. A graduate level degree will give you an advantage when applying for higher level positions with added responsibility and a higher salary.
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    Become certified to be eligible for promotion and advancement. Research professional associations within the area where you will be working to learn about the process to obtain certification as an urban designer.
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    Recognize that depending on the region where you will be working that a license may be required. As an example, within the United States some states may require that urban designers be licensed.
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    Explore services offered by professional associations for urban designers. Membership may provide you with access to specialized job listings for open positions that may not be advertised elsewhere.
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    Browse the many online job boards for openings as urban designers. Some may provide tools and tips for writing your resume and cover letter.
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    Register online to receive notices and alerts via your email for job openings as an urban designer. This is a common service popular with many job boards and similar resources that provide job postings.

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Categories: Architecture and Design Occupations