VOL: 2,  NO: 1/2,  93-112,  2005-1/2


An assessment of urban designer identity in the 21st Century




Istanbul Technical University Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY


Received March 2005            Acceptance: October 2005




This article aims to contribute to a current debate in the field of Urban Design Studies concerning the identity of the urban designer. It addresses three questions around which much of the debate so far has focused: (i) Who is an urban designer? (ii) Who can be an urban designer? and (iii) How should an urban designer be trained?  The first question discusses the identity of the urban designer with regard to four elements of the discipline judged by the author to have been important over the last 50 years, the period over which the subject has been recognized as a separate discipline. They are: (i) the conceptual development of urban design, (ii) the developing theories for urban design and the changing trends in architecture and planning (iii) the professional authority limits of the interdisciplinary process and (iv) the level of development of countries. According to these elements, the limits of responsibility for the urban designer are forwarded. The second question discusses who can be an urban designer in terms of developments within the field of urban design. The final question assesses the training process with reference to the components of training programs offered to the urban design student. It defines the contents of the components of knowledge, skill and value attributable specifically to the urban designer, and forwards a profile of the urban designer for the future. I will argue that urban design studies is not independent of other disciplines, and that the urban designer is anyone who takes decisions which shape the urban environment. The urban designer of the future should be in possession of skills acquired through a specialized training process which offers the knowledge, skills and values necessary for the profession.



Keywords: Urban designer, professional authority limits (PAL), developing countries, educational -training- components.


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