Environmental Design (BA)

University at Buffalo

Date Posted: Feb. 25, 2016
Submitted by: Monika Urbanski
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Baccalaureate degree
Completion: 4 years
Distance: Local Only
Commitment: Full-Time


We live in times in which our urban and built environments are undergoing unprecedented change. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Environmental Design degree provides students with the skills to understand, analyze, and solve problems associated with such change, with a view toward community vitality, social fairness, and the design of sustainable environments. Environmental design, offered by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, applies knowledge of social and behavioral science to plan and design community environments that affect, and are affected by, human behavior. While concerned about humanity's use, misuse, and abuse of the natural environment, environmental design is also concerned with the planned environment which humans build - the "artificial" or designed physical environment - and its ability to meet community needs. More subtly, environmental design includes issues from our cultural, economic, physical, political, and social environments. The purpose of environmental design is to gain a better understanding of these community environments, and then apply that knowledge to plan and design improved surroundings. Environmental design addresses the arrangement, appearance, and functionality of towns and cities including the spaces used freely on a day-to-day basis by the general public. This encompasses streets and parks, together with public infrastructure, and privately owned places. In addition, environmental design is concerned with the way these places are experienced and used, as well as other aesthetic elements that contribute to the quality of community environments. Environmental design practitioners develop long- and short-term plans and designs to use land for the growth and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities, while helping local officials make decisions concerning social, cultural, economic, physical, and environmental issues. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Environmental Design program offers a pre-professional course of study grounded in the multidisciplinary traditions of the liberal arts and distinguished by active intervention and experience in community and regional environments through classroom activity, fieldwork, workshops, and internships.

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