Short courses


Urban Graphics 2: Urban Layers and Proposals

  • 10 to 20 hours
  • No start date. Work at your own pace.


In this free online course you'll learn how to create and present some of the basic plans and drawings used by urban professionals.

You'll also get experience using Adobe InDesign and Illustrator or the open source alternatives, Scribus and Inkscape. 

The course is designed and developed by planning experts and provides step-by-step instructions suitable for absolute beginners.

Why take this course

Nothing is more important in analysing or designing a place than understanding the layout of its buildings and spaces, and how people move through the area.

A routes-and-spaces diagram (the subject of the first exercise) is an effective way of helping you to think about where the main routes are, where people go on foot, whether there is a good choice of routes, and whether the public spaces are well connected and likely to be well used.

Routes-and-spaces and land-use diagrams are two of the basic tools of urban practitioners. Combining these in a professional presentation with aerial photography and basic street perspectives can quickly create a powerful package of information of equal use in analysis and when making propositions for change.

You'll learn to:

  • prepare professional drawings and documents
  • communicate your ideas more effectively
  • design and plan more creatively

Course content

Urban Graphics 2 - Urban Layers and Proposals logo

During the course you'll learn how to create and present in a coherent document some of the basic plans and drawings that urban professionals need to use.

You'll then write a short report setting out the characteristics of a city neighbourhood, including:

  • diagrammatic routes-and-spaces
  • land uses
  • layered aerial photography
  • hand sketches

You'll be introduced to Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, or the open source alternatives, Scribus and Inkscape, as they relate to urban graphics.

You'll also develop competence in Adobe Photoshop or GIMP and will use Google Earth.

Structure and teaching

You'll be given:

  • video-based introductions and tutorials
  • step-by-step written instructions on how to carry out each exercise
  • baseline material required for each exercise
  • a worked example

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for students seeking a career in the built environment.

It covers some of the essential skills you'll need before you start a course that involves design and planning.


No previous design, graphics or urban analytical experience is needed, although you'll benefit from having completed Urban Graphics 1: The City Footprint.

Some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or GIMP will be useful.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you:

  • understand how to create a routes and spaces diagram and a land-use diagram
  • combine these diagrams with aerial photography and basic street perspectives to create a professional presentation
  • practice using Adobe InDesign and Illustrator (or Scribus and Inkscape) for urban graphics
  • practice using Adobe Photoshop (or GIMP)

Course team

Professor Matthew Carmona

Professor Matthew Carmona

Matthew is Professor of Planning & Urban Design at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning. His research has focused on processes of design governance and on the design and management of public space. Matthew was educated at the University of Nottingham and is a chartered architect and planner. He has published widely in the areas of urban design, design policy and governance, housing design and development, measuring quality and performance in planning, the management of public space, and on design and planning processes in London.

David Chapman

David Chapman

David Chapman is a director of the planning and urban design consultancy UDS. He is an urban design trainer and masterplanner, with specialisms in public realm and street design guidance, and negotiating planning and development projects. He is a teaching fellow at UCL and has been an external examiner at the University of Greenwich. His publications include (as co-author) From Design Policy to Design Quality.

Course information last modified: 17 Mar 2022, 08:02