College of Environmental Design

About CED

Renee Chow

Renee Y. Chow
William W. Wurster Dean


CED stands among the nation’s top environmental design schools. It is one of the world’s most distinguished laboratories for experimentation, research, and intellectual synergy. The first school to combine the disciplines of architecture, planning, and landscape architecture into a single college, CED led the way toward an integrated approach to analyzing, understanding, and designing our built environment.

CED was also among the first to conceptualize environmental design as inseparable from its social, political-economic, and cultural contexts. Its faculty and students have always seen environmental design as an exploratory spatial practice, aimed at creating forms of building, landscape, and urban plans that have yet to be imagined. At the same time, CED has historically emphasized environmental design as a profoundly ethical practice, co-produced through dynamic engagements with diverse communities, workers, businesses, and policy-makers.

Today’s students have inherited unprecedented global challenges that could not have been foreseen when the college was founded in 1959. This legacy will require radically new ways to fashion the buildings, places and landscapes that harbor our diverse ways of life. The mission of the college is to produce creative and skilled professionals to help craft built environments — ecologically sustainable and resilient, prosperous and fair, healthy and beautiful — whose logic, form, and materials we as teachers cannot yet conjure. We guide students toward a critical understanding of cities around the world, their architectures and landscapes, and their many layers of meaning. We train students in the art of designing well-loved places that both nurture our senses and challenge our imaginations. And we help students not only to acquire technical expertise, but also to develop transcendent ways of seeing and refiguring the built environment. CED's home is Wurster Hall, an intellectual hot-bed offering an exceptional array of activities and resources. These include:

A common thread linking CED’s programs is the studio experience, involving deep immersion in theory, technology, and real-time practice for diverse domestic and international clients. In studio, fledgling designers take flight, becoming visual thinkers, critical observers, and systems scientists, often working with faculty and classmates from across the college’s departments and programs — Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, and Urban Design. This intense, interactive learning arena is the hallmark of a CED education, offering an unparalleled learning environment located at one of the nation’s top public research universities.

I invite you to join Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. At CED, you can help forge new urban visions for an exciting, sustainable future.