UQ launches new degree to develop stewards of our cities

23 Jun 2020

“We’re looking for the dreamers with drive.”

In a bold effort to prepare for the age of the Australian ‘megacity’, The University of Queensland has taken the progressive step of creating the state’s first Master’s degree in Urban Development and Design.

As one of the world’s most urbanised countries, with almost 90 per cent of all Australians living in urban centres, Australia’s population is set to double over the next 45 years, putting significant strain on our current infrastructure and planning modes.

UQ’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Executive Dean, Professor Vicki Chen said meeting the global megatrend of urbanisation head-on calls for a new style of professional.

“We want to develop people who are both highly technically skilled and highly creative; designers and thinkers who relish a challenge and who are ready to reimagine not just Australia’s cities, but cities across the globe,” Professor Chen said.

“Urban design until now has typically been undertaken as an add-on to other occupations, but at UQ we recognise its importance as a modern profession, and the expertise involved in engaging with decision-makers and leading change for the future of our global cities.”

A transdisciplinary masters

The new Master of Urban Development and Design will feature a transdisciplinary range of courses across several fields, including architecture, civil engineering, planning, policy, economics and business leadership.

The program is designed to provide professionals with a background in Architectural Design, Landscape Architecture, Regional and Town Planning or Urban Planning with the opportunity to accelerate their career, while working towards a broader goal of creating more efficient, sustainable and meaningful urban centres.

Australian landscape architect and Chair of the UQ Master of Urban Development and Design Industry Board, Dr Catherin Bull AM, said contemporary cities were complex systems that will be reconfigured over coming decades for a healthier human future.

“To meet this challenge, our region needs a bank of specialist professionals with advanced skills, schooled at a graduate level across a broader range of disciplines from the conceptual and theoretical through to the project based,” Ms Bull said.

“These will be the urban professionals who have earned the right to step up and lead the changes we need.”

UQ has built a world-class teaching team for the new program, featuring global names in urban design from both academia and industry.

Dr Julian Raxworthy, an Honorary Associate Professor at UQ, will lead the foundation course on contemporary urbanism, while the first studio, focused on urban futures, will be led by Peter Besley.

An internationally respected architect and urban designer and former Teaching Fellow at London’s world-leading Bartlett School of Architecture, Peter Besley promised students a mind-expanding experience at UQ.

“We’ll be teaching skills and knowledge that you can’t learn while in practice; things that will make you multi-dimensional at a senior level ­- we’ll be developing long-distance runners,” Mr Besley said.

Applications are now open to study the new UQ Master of Urban Development and Design in Semester Two 2020, including a limited number of Commonwealth Support Places.

Please visit the Future Students website for more information: www.eait.uq.edu.au/MUDD