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Senior Urban Designer

Northeastern University
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Sep 8, 2023

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Arts, Design & Graphic Arts
Employment Level
Tenured/Tenured Track
Employment Type
Full Time

Senior Urban Designer

About the Opportunity

This job description is intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. It is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.


The Senior Urban Designer supports the mission of Northeastern University's Planning, Real Estate and Facilities (PREF), to shape and care for Northeastern University's physical environment in support of learning and discovery. It is in this context that the Senior Urban Designer, reporting to the Associate Vice President (AVP) for Campus Planning and Design, will be responsible for overseeing campus design studies and facilitating development and implementation of urban design guidelines in Boston, and undergraduate campuses in the network.

Leads and coordinates: developing and maintaining Boston and select global campus design standards; managing consultant teams conducting campus-wide and project specific design studies; engaging with stakeholders across the university around public realm planning and activation, architectural and landscape design; coordinating with City of Boston agencies and other municipalities as it relates to campus design, signage, lighting and other project design review; and develops phasing approach for implementation of projects in the public realm.

Collaborate with colleagues across PREF to review and implement work around campus public realm, the arboretum, and major infrastructure and capital projects to ensure investments align with the design framework for Institutional Master Plan in Boston, Oakland campus vision plan and other established campus design frameworks. Communicating this alignment as well as updates associated with the urban design initiatives and projects to the AVP for Campus Planning and Design and broader PREF leadership.

Collaborate with institutional stakeholders and city officials on regulatory permitting tied to the Urban Design Review as part of Article 80 and IMP project review. In this role, the Senior Urban Designer will:
  • Act as a liaison between university leadership, City design review stakeholders and the project architects in providing feedback and design guidance on site planning, building massing, materials and campus scale and context.
  • Lead review of architectural projects as part Northeastern's Design Advisory Group
  • Participate in capital project planning to identify opportunities for public realm improvements and opportunities to reduce physical barriers on campus.
  • Lead signage, lighting, and other public realm review. In this work, the Senior Urban designer will also provide feedback and guidance to design teams in shaping projects that respond to University needs, leadership feedback and City requirements.

As part of the Campus Planning and Design team which places high value on customer service and communication, partners with university stakeholders and connects them to the broader planning and design vision for the institution and mentors colleagues and manage coops and interns on best practices in campus and urban design. Working at a range of scales, from campus-wide approaches to capital project level planning and small placemaking efforts, being able to easily pivot between each is important.


Knowledge and skills for this role typically obtained through a Master's Degree in Urban Design, Planning, Architecture or a closely related professional field is preferred with a minimum of 8 years of increasingly responsible professional experience. Prior experience working in urban planning or design with a municipality or institution of higher education is required.

Work requires strong urban design capabilities with knowledge of physical design practices including but not limited to site planning and programming, building layout and massing, zoning regulations, and architectural design. The ability to solve site planning issues, to provide design guidance to consultant firms at an architectural scale, understand urban planning context, to communicate clearly in written, verbal, and graphic form, and to manage and work collaborative as part of a team are essential components of this role. Proven leadership and management experience with a collaborative approach is preferred. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to work well in teams is required.


1) Management of Campus and Urban Design studies and implementation
  • Engage planning, architectural, and engineering services and oversee consultant contracts and associated budgets.
  • Manage campus signage master plan, lighting plan, and other studies as needed.
  • Identify opportunities for implementation of new campus-wide design guidelines.
  • Develop public realm design guidelines for the University Design Guidelines.
  • Produce visual presentations and draft narrative in support of decision making around campus design and planning.
  • Develop phasing approach for implementation of projects in the public realm.

2) Support Capital Project Planning and Design
  • Act as a liaison between University leadership, City Urban Design review processes, and the project architects in providing feedback and design guidance on site planning, building massing, materials and campus scale and context.
  • Participate in capital project planning to identify opportunities for public realm improvements and opportunities to reduce physical barriers on campus.

3) Global Campus Public Realm Planning
  • Provide leadership in transformation of public spaces to align with University's goals around accessible and equitable public realm.
  • Coordinate with partners in PREF and University Marketing team around branding and wayfinding in the public realm

4) Communication and Coordination
  • Maintain schedules and provide written, visual, and verbal communication to AVP of Campus Planning and PREF leadership for urban design projects and campus studies progress and milestones.
  • Support the team of Campus Planners in their service to and communication around public realm work.
  • Advise PREF Leadership on current design practices and standards in Boston and precedents from diverse urban contexts.
  • Manage coop and intern recruitment and mentorship.

Position Type


Additional Information

Northeastern University considers factors such as candidate work experience, education and skills when extending an offer.

Northeastern has a comprehensive benefits package for benefit eligible employees. This includes medical, vision, dental, paid time off, tuition assistance, wellness & life, retirement- as well as commuting & transportation. Visit for more information.

Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

To learn more about Northeastern University's commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see

To apply, visit


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