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Urbanization is an increasing and constantly changing condition of contemporary society. This presents enormous opportunities for—and challenges to—the creation of resilient, livable, and healthy urban habitats. Cities are the largest consumers and producers of global resources and our greatest agents of social change. Through the design of our cities, we address the potential of the urban world.

At the Sam Fox School, students focus on how to transform cities for the 21st century as active and informed participants. Our innovative structure allows students to pursue advanced design and research while developing a rigorous theoretical and professional foundation. Studios integrate concepts of architecture, landscape architecture, and infrastructural and ecological urbanism. They are research-oriented, yet speculative and exploratory.

Founded by Fumihiko Maki and Roger Montgomery in 1961, our program provides students with opportunities for experiential immersion learning—the best form of education for an urban designer. Work is deeply engaged with place—in St. Louis, throughout the United States, and abroad. Locally, students collaborate with agencies and communities on real initiatives to create more equitable and environmentally conscientious strategies, systems, and cities. Internationally, they travel to select major metropolitan cities in North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia, working with Washington University faculty and renowned, local practitioners in intense, mega-growth developments to address evolving urbanization across the globe. Through this hands-on experience, students obtain a great appreciation for a range of cities and different approaches to the making of cities.

Urban design takes an expansive view of the built environment. It unifies the social, political, economic, and environmental forces in our cities. Students who graduate from our program are prepared for global leadership in the development of humane cities for a more sustainable world.