Anu Handa



Introduction to Urban Design 

In India, Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations of the world, produced planned cities like Harappa and Mohen-jo-daro. But after that, sparing a few examples, not much emphasis was laid on design and planning of cities. Among a few examples are Patliputra, Takshasila, Nalanda and the planned city of Jaipur, built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727. Fatehpur Sikri built by Mughal Emperor Akbar failed because of politically unsafe geographical location and shortage of drinking water.

In the West, Industrial Revolution led to the emergence of Factory Towns. These towns were constructed to accomodate labour working in the newly built factories. These towns had poor ventilation, sanitation conditions and were built to fulfil the requirements of industrial production. The congested slum areas of these Factory Towns led to the City Beautiful Movement in America. This was the most influential movements which laid the foundations of future Urban Design for the world.

What is Urban Design?

Urban Design deals with designing, function and management of urban spaces like towns and cities, producing aesthetic, equitable, hygenic, progressive and sustainable environments.

Urban Design is a discipline that is an amalgamation of Architecture, City Planning, Civil Engineering, Transport Planning and Landscape Architecture. Urban Designers have to closely work with Geologists, Housing Experts, Climatologists, Social Scientists to name a few.

What Urban Designers do?

In the history of mankind, all prosperous towns and cities were built keeping some important factors in mind like water availability, climate, agricultural land, natural calamities and safety. All the above factors still hold true, when urban designers plan and design new cities. But in today’s scenario, majority of them, help to improve existing cities and towns. When the population of a city grows and the existing resources prove to be scarce, Urban Designers help to find out new solutions. In India, a good example can be development of New Mumbai as a satellite city to ease congestion in Mumbai.

Education in Urban Design

Candidates who want to pursue a career in Urban Design can study the course at Undergraduate & Postgraduate level. Popular colleges that offer courses in Urban Design include CEPT & SPA. 

Eligibility Criteria for Urban Design

For Graduation Degree: Though eligibility criteria may vary, but most colleges allow candidates who have completed 10+2 from a recognized board to take part in their admission process.

For Postgraduation Degree: To pursue a Masters in Urban Design, a Bachelors Degree in Urban Design or Architecture is required. 

Entrance Exams for Urban Design

All popular colleges conduct entrance exams in order to offer admissions to aspiring candidates. Some of the top Entrance Exams for Urban Design are conducted by CEPT & SPA.

Urban Design Course Curriculum 

  • History of Towns 
  • Early Civilizations
  • Land Uses
  • Zoning
  • Control Regulations
  • Urban Planning Systems 
  • Local Governments
  • Reforms
  • Replanning of Existing Towns

About the Author: Anu Handa is an Interior Designer, DIY Artist, Co-Founder and Educator at Mosaic Institute of Design. She has been the lead blogpost writer at since 2009. Her educational background in Interior Design, Urban Planning and the English Language has given her a broad base to cover a range of topics in her articles. Anu has spent 15+ years training Design & B.Arch Aspirants for entrance exams.

Passionate about Design Education, she’s briefly worked with Annamalai University as a paper setter for Design Exams. Likes to write about Design, Architecture and related fields, on online platforms like Quora. Aims at challenging the conventional & age old teaching methodology