Course Title: Urban Design Professional Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Urban Design Professional Practice

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


320H Architecture & Design


Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Jan van Schaik

Course Coordinator Phone: Contact via email please

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: B100

Course Coordinator Availability: Appointment via email please.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no formal prerequisite courses, but it is assumed that you have some experience working in an architecture, landscape or urban design or related field and a basic understanding of stages involved in the delivery of project.
This course includes a work integrated learning experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where input from industry and/ or community is integral to your experience.

Course Description

This research based course begins by looking at urban development and major projects from outside the design professions to understand the complex context within which the city is shaped. You will be introduced to and asked to explore in detail aspects of law, development economics, politics, procurement and social forces which impact this sphere. The aim of this course is to develop your deeper and expanded understanding of urban design and related fields as professions and to look critically at their relationship to social, economic and political environments. It will exercise your ability to research and integrate key areas of professional knowledge through your own work and asks you to establish and defend your position on key issues facing urban design and the city.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Urban Design Professional Practice introduces you principal aspects of practicing as a designer on urban-scaled projects. Fundamental to this is collaborative project and team structures, and working within a multidisciplinary context. Designing these collaborations is an essential skill, and will be examined through case studies of various urban design projects.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

• Describe and discuss a general knowledge of the economic, social and political forces at work in the built environment;
• Identify and analyse how major and urban scale projects are financed across a variety of sectors and key concepts such as feasibility, life-cycle costing and project cost appraisal;
• Recognise and classify key stakeholder and community consultation processes as they relate to major projects and city making;
• Define the relationship of the urban designer to other professional consultants, contractors, clients, and stakeholders;
• Apply research skills which to integrate and extend knowledge introduce in the course and through independent research;
• Critique and make professional judgements on a range of internal and external social, political and economic factors shaping urban design as a profession;
• Propose and argue a researched position in response to a number of issues relating to current and future practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

Professional Practice is taught in blended mode through a combination of lectures, guest lectures supported by online resources and communication. The lecture/seminar learning modes are extended with group projects and regular feedback and review sessions.
You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities including:
• Self-directed research and presentation of findings
• Attending lectures, tutorials and participating in class discussion
• Interviews with key participants in the development of the project
• Research through library holdings and online sources, indirect and primary sources
• Written, visual and verbal presentation of research presented in progress and through a detailed final report
• Critical and constructive feedback to peers
• Online communication

The Urban Design Professional Practice course incorporates high levels of work integration through assessment tasks and learning activities. Students simulate the resolution of practice and professional issues in design projects with assistance from industry tools and documents. The course includes external lectures from professional architects and consultants. In addition, the core staff and sessional tutors are predominately practitioners.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.
More specifically, a list of key reference texts and online resources will be provided and regularly updated. Relevant material will be placed on reserve through the RMIT Swanston Library during semester in which this course is offered.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.