blockitecture leaderboard

The Rise of Municipal Urban Design Departments

San Antonio City Design Center's Executive Manager Mark Brodeur describes his observations of the nationwide trend in cities establishing independent urban design departments.

San Antonio City Design Center Executive Manager describes his move from Southern California to the surprisingly progressive planning environment of Texas; and his discovery of the increasing nationwide prominence of semi-autonomous municipal design departments.  

"Cities in the USA have typically organized their urban design functions within their planning departments as part of the development review process. In recent years there seems to be a desire to elevate urban design activities beyond the review of site plans and architectural reviews. Giving these departments their own identities is something that I see as a growing trend."

Brodeur explains some of the reasons he believes are behind this trend, and concludes his essay by identifying 33 urban design departments he's found in public institutions across the United States.

Full Story: Urban Design Centers and Healthier Communities


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.