Careers & Courses

A wide variety of people call themselves urban designers. In one sense anyone who is involved in making places is active in urban design. Even if you do a university course in ‘urban design’, exactly what you learn will depend on which university you choose, as on other courses. The various urban design courses have different emphases, some focus more on practical design skills, others on policy and theory.

It is important to understand that urban design is not an accredited profession. There is no professional body that decides what should be on the curriculum of an urban design course, or what expertise and knowledge you need to be able to practise as an urban designer.

An urban designer needs a broad understanding of cities, towns and villages, and ways of making them work better. This involves understanding how the planning system operates, how developers make their sums add up, how to assess what makes a particular place special, how to make places easy to move around by foot and vehicle, how to bring life to places that have become run down, how to conserve historic buildings, how to make the most of the landscape, how to think about the future of small and large development sites, how to involve local people, how to make sure that projects actually happen, how to communicate effectively, how to negotiate, and how to write design policy and guidance.

That sounds like a lot of subjects! But they are all related, and each explains a bit more about how urban places work. The urban designer is not expected to be an expert on all of them, but it is essential to be able to see the whole picture.

Urban Design Jobs (View All)

Wakefield Council
Salary: £40,221 - £43,421


Hours: 37 per week
Contract type: Permanent

We have an exciting opportunity to join Wakefield Council as an Urban Designer as we implement our new Local Plan and progress as a Design Code Pathfinder authority. Within the Planning Policy and Environment Team this new role will work with a range of specialists in the historic environment, landscapes, planning, ecology and arboriculture.

Closing Date: 4/8/2024
New Forest District Council
£42,810 - £45,930 (potentially increasing to £46,925 for exceptional performance) (pay award pending)

Help us shape the future of the New Forest   

Are you seeking a fresh challenge? Are you a design professional looking to make a real difference to the quality of the built environment?  

New Forest District Council is looking for an enthusiastic professional to take a lead role in delivering our Design Code and supporting other key development projects.  

Closing Date: 28/7/2024

JTP is an award winning, international placemaking practice of architects and masterplanners.

From our studios in London and Bristol we undertake placemaking projects at every scale, from cities and towns, to neighbourhoods, streets and the design of individual buildings.

Closing Date: 9/8/2024