Why Urban Design?: COA Research Forum

Primary tabs

Why Urban Design?

Mike Dobbins, Professor of Practice at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, presents his work on Urban Design as part of the College of Architecture Research Forum.

Dobbins released a new book in April, Urban Design and People, directed at all with an interest in improving their civic environment.

The College of Architecture's COA Research Forums provide an informal setting for the community to learn about research within the College of Architecture. Forums are free and open to the public and participants are invited to explore ideas and identify opportunities for collaboration.

All talks are held in the Architecture Library from 11:00AM to 12:00PM on the last Thursday of August through April. Talks are 30 to 45 minutes followed by questions and discussion.

View past COA Research Forums through SMARTech, Georgia Tech's digital repository.

About Dobbins
Mike Dobbins is a professor of the practice of urban design, jointly appointed to Georgia Tech's Architecture Program and its City and Regional Planning Program at the College of Architecture. Presently, he teaches urban design studios in the architecture and planning programs, a lecture/seminar course on urban design policy and implementation and a freehand drawing course for planners. His new book, Urban Design and People, published by John Wiley and Sons in April of 2009, is directed at all with an interest in improving their civic environment. For students, it is a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of urban design and development. For citizens, it is a guide for how to assure that design and development initiatives get done in a way to leave things better than they were before. And for urban design and development practitioners, it is a reference to the expertise and the "turf" of all those disciplines necessary to get the job done.

He has practiced for more than 40 years, mostly as a public planning and urban design administrator in New York, New Orleans, Birmingham, Berkeley, and most recently as the Commissioner of Planning, Development and Neighborhood Conservation for the City of Atlanta (1996-2002). He has taught at Columbia, Tulane, Birmingham Southern, and UC Berkeley before coming to Atlanta and subsequently at Georgia Tech, whose faculty he joined in 2002.

Through his career, he has promoted design as crucial among all those disciplines that together develop the policy, programming, design and implementation of urban places. He has put the design tool in the hands of neighborhoods, business districts, developers and local governments to bring about positive change in land use, transportation and environmental planning and design. He has translated design guidance into the regulatory and financing frameworks that carry out municipal development. In these applications, design becomes a reflective, connective, communicative, and visioning skill, permitting and encouraging place-making partners to conceptualize more equitable and livable futures.

Dobbins is a registered architect in Georgia and California, a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Urban Land Institute, the Congress for The New Urbanism and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He has been active in these organizations at both the local and national levels. Both through these and independently hi as served communities and organizations around the country as a planning and design advisor, most recently as a member of the selection committee of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 2009. Dobbins grew up in Denver, and he received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture degrees from Yale University.


  • Workflow Status:
  • Created By:
    Teri Nagel
  • Created:
  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:

Target Audience

    No target audience selected.