With over half of the world’s population living in urban areas and 28 mega-cities of 10 million or more inhabitants, the need to understand urban areas and propose solutions for urbanized and urbanizing areas is imperative [1]. Urban design is a specialized, multi-disciplinary field of inquiry and practice that encompasses multiple scales of analysis and potentials of implementation. The Master of Science in Architecture with a concentration in Urban Design is a three-semester interdisciplinary program led by a diverse group of faculty. The curriculum integrates research and design by allowing graduate students to learn methods in urban research; to understand the interdependencies among buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, public spaces, and society; and to design innovative solutions that improve the quality of life. Required courses introduce the study of urban, social, economic and environmental conditions; visual simulation, and urban design, history, and theory. Elective courses permit students to pursue individual interests related to urban research and design, such as sustainable urbanism, housing, transportation, and contemporary urban theory. Students interested in pursuing the Urban Design option may have a professional degree in architecture or landscape architecture or have the capacity to engage in focused urban research.

[1] United Nations, “World’s population increasing urban with more than half living in urban areas” July 10, 2014 (accessed October 7, 2016)

Core faculty:

The majority of the core faculty teach in the School of Architecture but their experience, research, and course offerings reflect a wide range of interests and areas of expertise in urban design and urban theory.

Courtney Crosson

Courtney Crosson is an architect and assistant professor in the School of Architecture.  Her work has spanned many scales and locations including Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America while working for Foster+Partners and BuroHappold Engineering.  From 2004-05, she completed the socio-economic mapping baseline research for the Kibera Slum Upgrading Project for UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.  From 2007-08, she was the project manager and lead designer of a rural secondary girls boarding school in Muhuru Bay, Kenya. Courtney’s current research focuses on the potential of decentralized infrastructures to realize urban scale regenerative energy and water solutions.

Susannah Dickinson

Susannah Dickinson is an architect and an associate professor in the School of Architecture. Her professional experience includes work in the offices of Terence Conran, Frank Gehry, Cesar Pelli, and SHoP Architects where she collaborated on urban designs for various sites, including London’s Docklands, the Canary Islands, The Liverpool One Project in the UK, and Governor’s Island, NY. Her research and scholarship connect theories of complexity, biomimetics, and digital processes with design pedagogy, in an attempt to bring more life and sustainability into the built environment. Dickinson is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the European Graduate School in Architecture and Urbanism and recently was on the board of directors of ACADIA.

Eduardo Guerrero

Eduardo Guerrero is an architect, urban designer, and assistant lecturer in the School of Architecture where he teaches studios and courses related to social housing, urban design, and Latin America. Trained in architecture at the University of the Republic in Chile, and in urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, Eduardo has worked on architectural, community, and urban development projects in Chile and the United States. His work includes the design of social housing in the Atacama region, a collaboration with ELEMENTAL, and the oversight of an UN-Habitat award-winning neighborhood revitalization plan for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning in Santiago. Eduardo’s research spans housing, interdisciplinary design methodologies, and “sombra urbana.”

Bill Mackey

Bill Mackey is an architect and lecturer in the School of Architecture. Mackey is the principal of Worker, Inc., an art and architecture firm that specializes in exploring the human relationships to the landscape utilizing the theories and practices of the social sciences, urban design, art, and architecture. When not engaging in the practice of architecture in the Tucson region, through Worker, Inc. he produces exhibits, books, and other ephemera about the landscape. His work is funded through private commissions and grants from the Graham Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Arts Foundation of Southern Arizona. Bill teaches design studios with a focus on investigating civic and public space.

Clare Robinson, Ph.D.

Clare Robinson is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture where she teaches courses in modern architecture and urbanism. She received her Doctorate in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley; Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Bachelor of Art from Smith College. Recipient of several awards and grants, including a Graham Foundation Grant, Bancroft Fellowship, the James and Sylvia Thayer Research Fellowship, her research examines the architecture and planning of the mid-twentieth century. Guided by questions about class, race, and aesthetics, her work looks to social environments on college campuses, suburban typologies, and regional planning efforts, to understand intersections between modernism and society.

Robert Vint

Robert Vint is an architect and adjunct lecturer in the School of Architecture where he has taught urban design courses since 2011. Robert studied urban geography at the University of Chicago and architecture at the University of Arizona. He has lived in Chicago, Boston, Mexico City, New York, and Tucson. His practice is focused on historic preservation and urban infill design. Robert received a grant from the US Department of HUD to study the applicability of traditional regional building materials and typologies to contemporary affordable housing, which resulted in the government publication Southwest Housing Traditions: Design, Materials Performance.

Affiliated Faculty

Arlie Adkins

Kelly Cederberg

Arlan Colton

Christopher Domin

Dennis Doxtater

Ladd Keith

Valerie Lane

Arthur C. Nelson

Gary Pivo

Drew Sanderford

Lisa Schrenk

Philip Stoker

Beth Weinstein

Adriana Zuniga-Teran