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Difference between urban design and urban designer?

Andrew HammondsAndrew HammondsLet's look at a case study, do I call myself an urban designer?

The short answer is no – the long answer has been germinating for a few years. There are two key words here – urban design and urban designer. Successful urban design involves a collaborative and multidisciplinary process of place creation (more on this later) involving users, community, stakeholders, developers, builders, professionals. In my view an urban designer needs to deliver urbanism through buildings, streets and landscape and have training and experience in design. Many good urban designers have dual qualifications in design or planning. There are also planners in Queensland who have the skills and experience to take a design leadership role without having formal design training. They, like me, benefitted from a planning degree with design teaching and integrated learning with design students. Since Uni I have honed my project facilitation and placemaking skills rather than design. Facilitation of the collaborative process is equally important as design – have a look at the marshmallow challenge at http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_build_a_tower.html.

This is why I call myself a planner (urban design), rather than an urban designer. Keep in mind that there is no accreditation for urban design or ‘urban designer’ in Australia (although AILA is considering a proposal).

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