MSc Urban Design at UCD

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MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Lyra » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:03 pm

Hi Everyone,

I’m in the process of applying for the postgraduate course in Urban Design at UCD (apparently the only course on the subject in Ireland) and was wondering if there is anyone out there who has done or knows someone who has been through this programme.

I have a degree in Architecture and still in full-employment for the time being. What would suit me best would be a part-time course that would allow me to keep the job and the programme in UCD ticks this box... the only concern I have is regarding the level of expertise of this programme and this concern is based solely on the fact that it’s a relatively young course (the course was introduced in 2005) and I’m wondering would it be the equivalent(or close to) of similar programmes in other European Universities with tradition in the field of urban design (Delft University of Technology comes to mind)?

Starting a 2 year long course is a big commitment and I would like to give my best but also would like to get into the best possible programme especially when looking at the fees for the UCD course being higher than similar programmes in other European Universities which have the bonus of being more established courses.

I would truly appreciate your opinion and views and if anyone has insight information about the Urban Design course in UCD I would be very grateful if it could be shared on this public forum as it would definitely help me solve my dilemma.

Cheers in Advance.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:10 pm

Lyra wrote:(apparently the only course on the subject in Ireland)


In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

***

To answer your question: The reports I've heard have been mixed. Delft has never been mentioned as a parallel.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Lyra » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:15 pm

Thanks for your reply... I’ve lost hope that someone will say anything.

ctesiphon wrote:
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.


Wisely said, funny it was a Dutch man whom you quoted.

ctesiphon wrote:
The reports I've heard have been mixed.


Does this mean the course is rather at the poor quality end? Could you be more specific?


ctesiphon wrote:
Delft has never been mentioned as a parallel.


I’ve picked Delft because I know more about it from people who have been 'exposed' to Dutch schools of architecture or urbanism, and the feedback was very positive. I suppose it’s not a very relevant comparison in this case as the Dutch and the Irish are very different when it comes to town planning and architecture. A more fair comparison would be with similar courses in the UK, but personally I don’t have much information about these either.

What would constitute a good course from my point of view is one that has good tutors… ideally with experience both in theory and practice, lecturers who can point to valuable insight in the field. Less important but a good thing to have none the less would be the availability of information materials on the subject in the University’s Library.

The skepticism I have regarding the course in UCD is growing by the day. Getting updated information (the website hasn’t been updated since 2008) about the course from UCD proves to be a difficult task…haven’t got answers to e-mails or phone calls...if only I was living in Dublin I’m sure it would be easier. Hopefully I’ll get the answers in the next couple of days.

Ctesiphon, thanks again for your reply… really appreciate it.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:07 pm

Happy to help.

I think posts/threads outside the Irish areas get a bit lost on here sometimes, which may partly explain the silence.

I don't have first-hand experience of this - or any other - UD course, but I do know a couple of people who've done one. Essentially, it seems the more established courses are better, which is probably stating the bleedin' obvious. As the UCD course is quite new, it's probably still finding its feet.

To an extent, UD course content is presumably similar in many respects regardless of where you go, though the UCD course might be more Ireland-specific, if that's your thing.

Re your requirements, I believe that some of the tutors in UCD are also practitioners, so the real world aspects would be covered. I'm not sure on the theory front. As for the library, I have a real soft spot for the UCD Richview library, but that's as much sentiment as anything- it's a lovely building and I used to have a big crush on one of the lady librarians.;) From memory, there was a good smattering of UD material. And any decent university library these days would have online access to current journals and other resources (Lexis Nexis etc.).

Re your scepticism, that's similar to things I'd heard before. If it's any consolation, I'm not sure living in Dublin would be any better! By the by, where are you? If you're UK-based, you might be better finding a local part-time course so you can keep on the job in the meantime. I suspect that UD is one of those things - like good quality shoes, tall skinny lattés and one-off houses in the countryside - that might not survive the downturn.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Mal_1 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:28 pm

Hi Lyra

Just saw this thread today

I too am considering doing a post grad course in Urban Design and have applied for one. In this climate of shrinking workload it seems like an opportune time to do such.

Having studied at UCD I would have a gra for the place and would love to go back there
I had intended applying for the course last year, and gone down the road some way only find the course wasn't run or no students were taken on. I was informed the course needed a year!! to clear the students already in the system.

As for the quality of the course, I couldn't comment, but I do know the course leaders/contributors from my architectural studies, hence I would be happy to sit the course. The programme would appear to be equivocal to other courses I've looked at, and the college is linked to other schools around europe with established courses, hence the quality of teaching will be examined to that in comparable schools.

Having worked in Ireland for the last decade and although having taken the high jump recently, staying in dublin would be the best option, but


However with the uncertainty about the course I researched the equivalent courses around europe and have applied in February to sit a similar course in Stockholm. I don't know yet if I have a place yet, or if I will take it but that's a decision for another.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Lyra » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:46 am

Apologies for delayed reply. Was away in the Netherlands for a holiday, documenting in to the Dutch way of life :D as I’m still very tempted to move there to start a post-grad course.

Ctesiphon, thanks for the feedback… So is not only me having a hard time getting information from UCD…to this day I haven’t got basic info about the course like the closing date for applications. The closest I came to an answer was: ‘would presume it’s the same as it was last year’… only to find now from Mal 1’s post that he couldn’t get into the course last year as the course wasn’t run. I think a day trip from the west coast, where I’m based at the moment, to UCD would help getting the answers about the course… or I’ll just apply online and see what happens.

I think the course would run this year in some way or another… as I think there are a lot of people interested. With so many architects unemployed I can see many considering doing post grad courses… and I think for architects ‘urban design’ is very tempting... I can speak for myself that after almost 3years of practice after graduation with the first two years coinciding with the last years of the construction boom, the field in which I felt was lacking the knowledge was ‘urban design’, which was essential for large scale projects. I couldn’t really learn from other more experienced architects working in the team as they lacked knowledge or experience in this field as well.

Ctesiphon, you’re right, UD is not needed in a downturn when large scale projects are rare. But as we are working in a cyclical business the downturn is the time to ‘sharpen the saw’ and invest some time in renewing ourselves (Jeez, I sound like I’m quoting from a self-help book… maybe instead of urban design I should do a ‘creative writing’ course, more useful on the short term ).

I suppose choosing ‘urban design’ I’m betting on the next construction boom which who knows when it’s going to happen. Apparently a safer bet would be to study something in the field of energy efficient technologies for buildings, a field that is more recession proof.

Mal 1, I’m thinking of doing the same…apply in a few places and postpone the decision for which one I’m going in the end… I’m hoping for an epiphany along the way.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Mal_1 » Fri May 08, 2009 9:12 pm

Lyra

Just to come back on this.
Firstly as for the application I made, it didnt come up. 520 people chasing 30-40 places.

Checked UCD yesterday again, and they will be making an anouncement in the next couple of weeks on next years course.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby tommyt » Wed May 13, 2009 11:04 pm

[quote="Mal_1"]Lyra

520 people chasing 30-40 places.
Are you serious? Did UCD scalp each applicant for an application fee? FWIW I have never heard particularly positive hearsay on that particular course, a continental qualification would be far preferable in my extremely limited opinion. I doubt if even in the boomiest era in the future there would be enough work on this island for 40 graduate urban designers per annum.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Mal_1 » Thu May 14, 2009 2:21 pm

Sorry Just in case the post or tread was unclear.
I had applied for a course in Stockholm, which was decided upon recently, it had + 500 applicants for limited number of places.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby tommyt » Fri May 15, 2009 11:05 pm

Mal_1 wrote:Sorry Just in case the post or tread was unclear.
I had applied for a course in Stockholm, which was decided upon recently, it had + 500 applicants for limited number of places.


my bad. should have guessed it sounded silly. raises important points about urban design being a pursuable discipline in its own right in this country.I personally doubt it.You either have a design led process that can't survive the rigours of political interference at LAP type level or a plan led template that can't adapt to decent innovative spatial deas form UD paractitioners. I would only know profssionally one person who is strictly speaking an urban designer-one who comes from a latin country where the discipline is highly evolved and has proper professional standing. anywhere else it's architects having a dabble or 'politicians with crayons' running the show.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Lyra » Sat May 16, 2009 11:15 am

Got this in the RIAI newsletter:

M.Sc Urban Design UCD

Applications are invited for the full time interdisciplinary Research Masters in Urban Design (M. Sc) at UCD starting in September 2009, running until January 2011, over four semesters. Applicants should be qualified architects, engineers, landscape architects, planners, or from a related discipline and demonstrate appropriate related experience, and/or knowledge of a specific research area in urban design or urbanism, together with appropriate selected previously published or completed work.

For more information: http://www.ucd.ie/arcel/architecture/postgraduate/mscubd.htm
Reduced Fees may apply for some demonstratorships.
Closing date for applications: Friday, 5 June 2009.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby Lyra » Mon May 18, 2009 11:01 pm

As of today the UCD website has been updated with information about the UD course:
http://www.ucd.ie/arcel/architecture/postgraduate/mscubd.htm

Unfortunately for me, the course is now full-time… and at the moment it doesn’t make sense to give up the job and move to Dublin to do this course.

Mal_1, the new course format in UCD might be what you were looking for. Good luck with your studies.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby jesus_o_murchu » Tue May 26, 2009 9:42 pm

Lyra wrote:
Ctesiphon, you’re right, UD is not needed in a downturn when large scale projects are rare.

.


I would hate to think that Irish architects are so narrow minded to think 'urban design' is some sort of box to be ticked only when doing 'large-scale projects'?

By the way there is no comparison between the Dutch urbanist tradition and the tick-boxing exercise that is called 'urban design' in Ireland. The former is part and parcel of all aspects of planning and development in the context of a well-established and sophisticated civic urban culture. The latter is a generic formula or set of tools for place-making in a country that is yet to understand, embrace and appreciate the value of [collective] city living.

Continential Europeans more often use the term 'urbanism' as opposed to 'urban design' as a spatial discipline that engages with the complexity of urban intervention - social, economic, political, environmental, etc. - regardless of scale.

Urbanists try to understand how urban spaces are structured and how they function. Urbanists also try to understand how stakeholders engage in the spatial transformation of cities and territories.

Good luck with your course anyway - and if you are really interested in urban scale projects you should definitely choose a continental european course.
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Re: MSc Urban Design at UCD

Postby daniel » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:44 am

What about Melbourne? The city's been Jan Gehl's lab for the past 20 years. University of Sydney has quite a good UD masters with emphasis on Japanese Urban morphology.
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