Founded by Fumihiko Maki and Roger Montgomery in 1960, the Master of Urban Design is an innovative post-professional program that focuses on the design of the interventions into the metropolitan environment. It is a three-semester program that allows students holding first professional degrees in architecture, landscape architecture or planning with an emphasis on physical design of the built environment to pursue advanced independent design and research work while acquiring the theoretical and professional foundation for contemporary urban design practice. The program is also open to architecture students in the Master of Architecture program who wish to enhance their professional education with a joint degree.
The MUD program prepares participants for practice in the private and public sectors, and for leadership roles in the design and development of the built environment. Recent graduates have found positions in major planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design practices, and the program has a large network of alumni, many of whom are in important urban design positions around the world.
Urbanization is one of the main contemporary processes affecting human existence, and it is not currently producing healthy and sustainable environments. From the viewpoint of the metropolitan landscape, this program addresses the multiplicity of urbanizing environments occurring in local, national, and global cities. The intention of the program is to promote the development of healthy and sustainable environments and communities. Urban conditions investigated in the program include suburban intensification and densification, edge cities, new development related to infrastructure on the metropolitan periphery, the transformations occurring in older, more formal urban environments, and informal urbanism within the metropolitan landscape.
To this end, the program integrates concepts and principles of architecture, landscape, and infrastructure into a core sequence of urban design studios. At the same time, through a balance of required and elective course work, it provides an introduction to social, political, economic, and environmentally responsible principles of development and the history and theory of contemporary urbanism. Course work and associated research serves as a base for the more speculative and exploratory nature of the design studio experience. During their course of study, students will be challenged to explore their role as active and informed participants in the transformation of cities.