Course Review: What do Architects and Urban Planners do?

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About this course:

Are you interested in studying architecture or urban planning?

This course will help you understand what spatial design professionals really do, so you can decide if this is the right profession for you.

First, we’ll learn about the built environment, and the kinds of challenges and opportunities that architects and planners grapple with.

Then we’ll discuss five short examples based on real projects. In each example, we will focus on the role played by different spatial design professionals, including urban planners, urban designers, landscape architects, architects and interior architects.

You’ll gain a good understanding of what each spatial design profession does, so you can make an informed choice about what to study.

The course will also be useful for anyone who needs to interact with spatial design professionals, and would like an insight into their different roles.

Length: 3 Weeks

Effort: 2–3 hours per week

Price: FREE – Add a Verified Certificate for £37

Institution: WitsX

Subject: Architecture

Level: Introductory

Language: English

Video Transcript: English

Course Type: Self-paced on your time

Meet your instructors

Wits University

Ariane Janse van Rensburg

Associate Professor

Wits University

Mawabo Msingaphantsi


Wits University

Ludwig Hansen

Senior Lecturer

Wits University

Johan N Prinsloo


Course Review: What do Architects and Urban Planners do?

Course review

This three-week course is designed to give you a picture of what architects and urban planners do in the real world.

It does this by asking you to consider real-life projects that have been completed in the past. The course guides you to explore the concepts of urbanism and architectural form.

Upon completing the course, you’ll have a good understanding of the roles of architects and planning professionals in the real world, and be able to decide whether or not this is the kind of work you want to focus on in your studies.

Course structure

The course is divided into three modules.

Module 1 explores the various aspects of the built environment, and how they’ve developed over time. It also introduces several key concepts.

Module 2 looks at five different projects, and analyses the role of spatial design professionals in each.

Module 3 concludes the course by expanding on some of the concepts introduced in module 1.

Case studies

The course itself consists of short case studies about the role of spatial design professionals, based on real-life projects.

The cases show you what can be done with architecture and urban planning, and will give you real references so you can explore and research more about your subject of interest.

Concepts and skills

  • How to create an environment where people work and play at the same time
  • The role of decay in shaping a city and its architecture
  • How to consider space as a container for buildings and the people who use them
  • Architecture as an art form
  • Intellectual property, authorship and the role of the architect

How much will it cost?

Nothing. This course is completely free.

How will I benefit?

  • This course will interest you if you’d like to study architecture or urban planning – or if you have to work with spatial design professionals and would like an insight into their roles
  • You’ll explore five real-life projects in the course, and come to understand the role of spatial design professionals in each project
  • You’ll learn about the real-life challenges and opportunities of being an architect or an urban planner

If you enjoyed this course and want to expand your knowledge, you could consider joining the following course, Architecture and Design: A Global Perspective

It is a 3-week course that takes up where this one left off, with a focus on the history and development of global architecture and design.

So is it worth the effort?

Earning a Verified Certificate for this course is worthwhile if you can spare the time and effort.

It gives you an opportunity to make something concrete out of what you’ve learnt. It also provides a good illustration for your CV.

Anyone who decides to go for the Verified Certificate will find this course interesting and informative.

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