Environmental Design has a dual mandate to offer both professional practice competencies at the first professional degree level in Architecture and to offer advanced interdisciplinary design and research collaboration opportunities in the Master of Environmental Design and PhD degree programs.
The built, natural and social environments are becoming increasingly intertwined, interdependent and indeterminate and they require a new breed of professional to effectively design and manage change. The degree programs in the Faculty are intended for those wishing to meet this challenge by expanding their current professional or design related degree backgrounds and career experience with advanced interdisciplinary practice-based research and study in one or more of the following thematic areas of study: ecological design, urban systems design, technological systems design, and human and cultural systems design.
The outcomes of design intervention in complex problem solving may include plans, policies, environmental and ecosystem management strategies, new social or political institutions or institutional mechanisms, information systems, new technologies, new artifacts, new buildings and urban form, habitats and cultural landscapes. The Faculty explicitly recognizes that scholarship, creative activity, exhibitions, engagement in participatory research, scientific research, and innovative, critical practice are all valuable media for both inquiry and the communication of knowledge in environmental design.
Since the Faculty's founding thirty-seven years ago, the original environmental design focus on the design, planning and management of the interactions among human activities and the built and natural environments has only increased in importance. Sustainable development represents the importance of understanding these complex human-environment interrelationships and the importance of the quality of human life and the quality of built and natural environments. Environmental design education, research, and professional practice focuses on the appropriate ends, just and equitable modes of intervention, and the qualitative character of the environment to be achieved when design, management and planning projects are undertaken. The Faculty's research, educational programs, and international and community outreach address these concerns in a variety of social, cultural, built and natural environmental contexts.