The concept of "urban design" is just about 50 years old, amking it a relatively new concept. This new undergraduate program aims to expand the concept of urban design beyond being a specialty of planners and architects.
"This year, Parsons The New School for Design is launching the nation's first undergraduate degree in urban design, which prompted us to ask the program's director, Victoria Marshall, what exactly is being taught and what exactly it means for the training of a new generation of urbanists with a different relationship to the urban realm than the designers that came before. Marshall says she is most interested in teaching "how to see the city as a designer" rather than, say, how to design the city or its spaces. And from the diverse coursework offered, the education the program provides is, indeed, much closer to an overview of urbanism - the history, the theory, the social science - mixed with fundamentals of design - section, plan, model, 2D layout - than it is to a foundation course in how to propose physical interventions to shape the constituent elements of urban space. With that in mind, there's a chance a degree offering such as this just might respond to the tremendous civic interest in cities and how they work, especially on the part of young people less and less interested in the traditional disciplinary alignments of the 20th century."