Urban design is typically taught at American universities as a two or three year program, but instructor Emily Talen believes it can much more accessible. In fact, the tools used to communicate urban design concepts and interventions—Google Earth, GIS, SketchUp, image manipulation—are free, easy to learn, and transformative. With our knowledge about planning principles and the design of place in hand, these communication tools fundamentally change who can claim the role of urban designer. This eight course series explores essential urban design concepts through free, open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.
The first course introduces the open source software you’ll use throughout the series to create analytical maps, 3D models, and 2D graphic designs. You’ll learn how to download the software, the basic tools and functionality of each program, and how these skills can contribute to the design process.