QGIS model of pedestrian shed for urban design course

Urban Design for Planners 3: Neighborhoods and Centers

This course demonstrates how to delineate neighborhoods and neighborhood centers in a given area and also illustrates a sample of neighborhood enhancing design improvements.

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Course Info

  • Duration 7 video lessons (59 Mins)
  • Published Published
  • 4.08
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Browse Course Chapters

  • Chapter Locked
    Chapter Duration 5 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Neighborhood Delineation Coverage
    Chapter Duration 6 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Pedestrian Sheds
    Chapter Duration 9 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Final Neighborhood Delineation
    Chapter Duration 11 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Visualize Connectedness Around Neighborhood Centers
    Chapter Duration 9 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Design for Center Connectivity
    Chapter Duration 7 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Neighborhood Center Design Example
    Chapter Duration 9 mins

Course Description

In this course, the third course in the "Urban Design for Planners" track, course instructor Emily Talen, PhD, FAICP, provides step-by-step instructions on how to delineate a set of neighborhoods and neighborhood centers for a given area using QGIS, SketchUp, and Inkscape. While providing training on the technical aspects of urban design software required for these tasks, Dr. Talen invites students to consider how urban design can be used to enhance our understanding of neighborhoods and centers.

Talen, an expert on neighborhoods, discusses historical conceptions of neighborhoods as well as an updated understanding of the neighborhood that includes green infrastructure and community centers. Additionally, Talen invites students to draw connections between the spatial unit known as the neighborhood and the more broad organization of cities.

Students will spend time in this course working with QGIS and other urban design software tools to consider a multitude of approaches to delineating neighborhoods based on different sets of data and multiple perspectives. Students will also map five-minute walking radii around neighborhood centers and identify routes in the area.

With a layered understanding of the various approaches to delineating neighborhoods in place, the course concludes with a conversation about public engagement and the importance of engaging communities while implementing design strategies that improve the connections and designs of neighborhood centers.

Learn these skills

  • 3D Modeling
  • Data Visualization
  • GIS
  • Mapping
  • Modeling & Simulation
  • Technology
  • Urban Design
  • QGIS


This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit.


This is 1 LU.


This course is approved for 1 CNU-A credit.


This course is approved for 1 SACPLAN CPD point.

Meet Your Instructor

Emily Talen

Emily Talen

Emily Talen is Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago. Her research is devoted to urban design and urbanism, especially the relationship between the built environment and social equity.

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