A recent, transformative gift to the Urban Design program established The Sinclair Black Endowed Excellence Fund for Urban Design. This endowment will expand opportunities for students in the program by funding travel studios, sponsoring visiting critics and lecturers, and providing research opportunities for students. The Graduate Progam in Urban Design is also pleased to announce that we have received a STEM designation from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board effective September 1, 2020.

Among the significant experiences that are now helping to shape the program is the redesigned foundation studio in urban design. Like all of the urban design studios in the program, this foundation studio will include a travel component. In Fall 2020, we will be traveling to Vancouver and Seattle as part of our six-year Cascadia Chronicles studio. Students will receive travel funding support from both the program and the school. The studio is taught jointly with faculty from both urban design and landscape architecture, and is comprised of students from both programs. The dilemmas we will be investigating join together the complex issues of architectural development, infrastructure, ecology, urban landscape, and public space.

Subsequent studios in the program have traveled and worked with faculty on urban issues in London, Berlin, Madrid, Mexico, and Brazil. This Spring we are working with Gehl Studios in Mexico, and next fall, second year urban design students will be working in London. These topical studios are supplemented with seminar courses from the diverse programs we offer in the School of Architecture. It is this broad range of opportunities that is one of the school’s strengths, and that provides a framework for students to expand their disciplinary foundation.

Another opportunity you will find here is the ULI Gerald D Hines Urban Design Competition, an urban development competition for graduate students from across the United States. The competition focuses on projects in a different American city each year. Students work with colleagues in the McCombs School of Business and with professional advisors from the design and development community. Since 2003, with a generous endowment from the Cogburn Foundation, the urban design program has led the school’s participation. In the last three years, we have won the national competition, had two additional national finalist teams, and we also have had two national Honorable Mentions.

Outside of the curricular structure of the program, many students also participate as graduate research assistants on funded projects through the Center for Sustainable Development, work as Teaching Assistants, or intern with various City of Austin agencies. Some also undertake their own research programs with assistance from travel grants.

We are excited about the new opportunities for the program and for our students. There is no more important work than that of delineating humanity’s future in cities.

Meet Our Students

Beatriz Vergara Aller 

Master of Science in Urban Design, First Year 

Hometown: Valladolid, Spain 
Educational Background: Bachelors + Master of Architecture 

Beatriz Vergara Aller

Kaitlin Schuette

Master of Science Urban Design, First Year 

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Educational Background: Bachelor of Architecture

Kaitlin Schuette

Student Research

A Redevelopment Scenario for the West End

ATX Redevelopment Scenario

The South Central Waterfront Redevelopment Scenario

South Central Waterfront Redevelopment Scenario