Urban Design

Urban Design is a strength of our School of Architecture faculty. The Master of Architecture concentration in Urban Design permits students to study a variety of issues related to the building of urban fabric from approaches grounded in the New Urbanism to parametric permutations of large-scale infrastructural relations.

Cities are built over long time spans. Aldo Rossi often wrote about “cities of history.” Yet, in the 21st century in China and the Middle East, entire metropolises are being built ex novo.

Our Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism brings a new focus to an already strong faculty focus in this area. Philip Enquist, consulting partner and former leader of the City Design Practice at Skidmore, Owing, and Merrill, is the sixteenth UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory‘s Governor’s Chair and together with select researchers in the college, administers research and applied research projects. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill is one of the world’s leading urban planning, architecture and engineering firms.

The Governor’s Chair studios are held in our Fab Lab, a state-of-the-art digital and robotic manufacturing facility located in downtown Knoxville.


Potential Resources:

  • Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments (Energy + Urbanism)
  • Cumberland Region Tomorrow
  • East Tennessee Community Design Center
  • Greater Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Knoxville Area Metropolitan Planning Department
  • Metro Nashville / Davidson County Planning Department
  • Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
  • Urban Land Institute Nashville District Council
  • Vanderbilt University Real Estate Development Program


The Urban Design concentration offers opportunities for topical study such as

  • Urban Design History and Theory
  • Walkable Urbanism
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Urbanism, Landscape and Infrastructure
  • Urban Typology
  • Urban Context

Course Requirements

Any one of the following:

ARC 583 Advanced Architectural Design: Urban Context (6)

ARC 593 Advanced Architectural Design: Independent Study

(in Urban Design) (6-9)

ARC 599 Design VII: Diploma Thematic Studio (in Urban Design) (6)

ARC 500 Thesis (in Urban Design) (9)


Plus 6 elective hours from the following list of courses in approved urban design topics:

ARCH 410 History and Theory of Urban Form (3)

ARCH 515 Seminar in Issues in Urban Design (3)


Of the 6 elective hours, up to 3 hours (pre-approved as related to urban design topics) may be from:

ARCH 525 Special Topics in Architecture (1-3)

ARCH 526 Directed Readings in Architecture (3)

ARCH 551 Research Methods (3)

ARCH 589 Urban Site Planning Workshop (4)

ARCH 591 Foreign Study (1-9)

ARCH 592 Off-Campus Study (1-9)

ARCH 593 Independent Study (1-9)


Of the 6 elective hours, up to 3 hours may be from approved courses in other departments, such as:


GERM 416 Metropolis Revisited



GEO 441 Urban Geography of the United States

GEO 442 Urban Social Geography

GEO 449 Geography of Transportation

GEO 541 Topics in Urban Geography

GEO 641 Seminar in Urban Geography



LAR 515 Directed Readings in Landscape Architecture (3)