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)

St Helens Borough Council
£47,420.00 - £50,512.00 per annum 37 hours per week

We are looking for a Lead Masterplanning Officer (Bold) who will lead work on the preparation of the Bold Forest Garden Village Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), and subsequent site delivery.

Closing Date: 5/1/2024
Thrive Architects

Thrive is looking for a dynamic and skilled Urban Designer/Senior Urban Designer to join our creative and collaborative Urban Design team in London or Romsey.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who has a passion for learning and creating high-quality, lasting places that foster a sense of community and healthy living.

Closing Date: 6/1/2024
Cherwell District Council
£52,380.50 - £55,756.50 per annum Full time & permanent,

Cherwell District Council needs an experienced Urban Designer is required to lead a new Urban Design, Conservation & Environment Team and be Cherwell District Council’s expert on design matters.

Closing Date: 5/1/2024
London and South East

We have an exciting opportunity for a talented urban designer to join our Design team, whose work is national in its reach and collaborative in approach.

Turley create places of quality that deliver development value through the intelligent and expert application of the UK planning system. We work with clients on interesting and compelling projects that deliver better places.

Closing Date: 5/1/2024
Place Services - Part of Essex County Council
London and South East
Up to £44,098.00 per annum - Permanent, Full-Time

Place Services is the leading public sector provider of environmental assessment, planning, design and management services. Our combination of specialist skills and experience means that we are uniquely qualified to help public organisations meet the requirements of the planning process, create practical design solutions, and deliver environmental stewardship.

Closing Date: 4/12/2023