Royal College of Art: City Design

InstitutionRoyal College of Art View institution profile
Department School of Architecture
Study type Taught


City Design MA provides a forum for an emerging generation of architects and those in allied design based disciplines, interested in the convergence of new social, technical and spatial innovations and in harnessing their potential to generate alternate forms of urban life.

The global urban population stands at 4 billion, with dozens of megacities and expansive metropolitan aggregations emerging and consolidating. Urban life is undergoing momentous change as patterns of settlement, growth and decline diversify. Many cities are centralising as knowledge and service economy workforces are concentrating toward the core. This is adding enormous pressure to housing affordability. New social groups are emerging, populations are ageing, family units are extending and dispersing as work is casualised, and whole communities are moving online.

At the same time, dangerous new social divides are appearing, on the periphery of cities, between different cultures, and now also between different generations. Yet many of the models used to explain, design, develop, and manage cities have resisted change.

More recently however, new possibilities are emerging and their consequences promise to be profound: modern social movements, automated building supply chains, technology platforms, driverless transport and logistics, distributed water and energy infrastructure - all will radically reshape the city's fundamental building blocks and allow us to ask a different set of questions: where within these changing conditions is the logic of the new collectivities of intimacy and care that allow us to live and work together.

City Design MA believes in the unique capacities of design and the value of propositional forms of spatial thinking.

City Design MA is a field-focused, design-led, and project-based course. It proposes a unique, multi-scalar approach to city design education that unites architectural, technological and scientific research.

City Design MA proposes a pedagogical model centred around the idea of case studies and the power of design practice to intervene within multiple scales in the city and through multi-stakeholder and participant disputes.

**About the RCA**
The Royal College of Art, is an internationally renowned art and design university, providing students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world. The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

In March 2020 the RCA was named the world’s leading art and design university for the sixth consecutive year in the QS World University subject rankings.


Royal College of Art 


Applications for the RCA’s September 2020 are now open. Visit the RCA website for up-to-date programme and application information including application deadlines.

The World’s No. 1 University of Art & Design
The Royal College of Art has been at the forefront of innovation and growth for almost two centuries – anticipating societal challenges and delivering real-world impact. Our learning environment remains unique, combining practice-based research with user-centred design traditions, specialist research centres, knowledge exchange and innovation training. The RCA is wholly postgraduate, offering Graduate Diploma, MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees. Based around the four ...

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