ChooseLandscape - How to become an urban designer
Work by Henry Botham (Writtle University College alumnus)

Urban designers are people people.

They create and regenerate outdoor spaces in towns and cities that are used by thousands every day – for work and play. They see the potential in every street or square, and bring their vision to life with drawings and graphics.

“The work I do is meaningful and it’s great to be a part of a team to help make a positive impact in someone’s experience of everyday life. Whether it is helping people travel in a safer, greener, healthier way, to helping reduce stress levels through interventions in the public realm. Every project brings its new challenges so I’m constantly learning.”
Amanda Gregor, urban designer

How to become an urban designer

You’ll need a degree recognised by the Landscape Institute. Each degree course will have its own entry requirements, which might include:

  • GCSEs in art, geography or maths
  • level 3 qualifications like A levels or BTECs
  • a portfolio of your drawings and photographs

You may also be able to get onto a course with TBC.

Once you are accepted, you’ll study for five to six years, with one year of practical work experience in the middle. Then comes further on-the-job training, an exam, and registration with the Landscape Institute.

Find the landscape course

What would I be doing day-to-day?

  • Meeting people and helping them input into plans and projects
  • Preparing big-picture strategies for a whole town or city
  • Using the latest technology to create visuals of your plans
  • Coordinating design teams to make sure everyone sees the bigger picture
  • Writing proposals, plans and contracts
  • Visiting sites to check the progress of your projects
Urban Designer
HereEast, project by LDA. Image credit: LDA
Top: The Curated Celebration of Angerstien’s Aggregate Wharf. Student submission by JJ Watters. Image credit: JJ Watters

Bottom: Boscastle flood defence scheme. Project by Nicholas Pearson Associates. © Nicholas Pearson Associates

What kind of person am I?

  • Interested in people – how they live and what makes them happy
  • Creative – able to use your imagination and put your ideas onto paper
  • Organised and methodical – you never miss a deadline
  • Good with numbers and managing money
  • Comfortable with all sorts of people and able to inspire and convince them
  • Happy at a computer in the studio and outdoors in all weathers

What Our Urban Designer Say

What hours would I work?

Landscape architects work 35-40 hours a week, with occasional evenings and weekends when needed. They divide their time between the studio and out on-site, which can mean travelling around the country and sometimes overseas.

How much would I earn?

Your starting salary would be around £xk rising to around £xk with experience.

What opportunities would I have to progress in my career?

In the private sector, you could become a partner or associate. In the public sector, you might become a head of service.

You could also go freelance or set up your own business, working on specific projects that interest you. Or learn new skills to move into landscape management or planning.

See landscape jobs

What sort of jobs could I do?

  • Landscape designer
  • Landscape architect
  • Third job
ChooseLandscape - Landscape Architect