Solar panels on a roof
Degrees Offered: BEnvd Minor Certificate

The discipline of design and its fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning deal with formulating solutions to many of the problems people face in their homes and cities, as well as suburban and natural environments. Architecture focuses on the design of buildings, while planning is concerned with the formulations of policies guiding the development of neighborhoods, cities and regions. Landscape architecture and urban design resolve challenges that cross these scales.

Design and planning professionals are adept at harnessing designed environments in order to effect appropriate change. They also invoke relevant theories, precedents, methods, tools and technologies in the creation of spaces, buildings, gardens, neighborhoods, towns, cities and landscapes. Finally, they skillfully utilize verbal, visual and written materials in order to effect the best outcome for each project.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The Environmental Design (ENVD) program at CU­ Boulder provides innovative interdisciplinary education that prepares students for practice and advanced study in the design-­based fields of architecture, landscape architecture and planning. Students are enrolled in studios, lectures and seminars taught by 30 faculty with outstanding academic and professional expertise in adaptive buildings, urban design and landscapes that support society’s domestic, civic, cultural and industrial/commercial activities. Students learn to apply state­of­the­art educational technology including computing tools, digital image databases, fabrication equipment and media for display and presentation of designs. Unlike undergraduate education in many other fields, students in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning learn by doing. They experience the complexity of real­world problems and search for design solutions with the guidance of the program’s exceptional faculty. 

The ENVD curriculum emphasizes the major theoretical perspectives used to inform the way physical environments are designed; the different methodologies and processes used to give shape to spaces, buildings, gardens, neighborhoods, towns, cities and landscapes; the complex interactions that take place between the physical, ecological, social, cultural, behavioral and historical factors that influence the form and quality of designed environments; the ethical perspectives that inform the environments and settings that are healthy, sustainable, appropriate and beneficial; and the social, cultural, historical and professional contexts within which environmental design is learned, practiced and perfected.