Cities & Urban Design

We believe that thoughtful design connects nature, technology, and people while planning for resilience in a changing world. The places we create are rooted in local culture and act as a catalyst for socially sustainable urban transformation.
The River District, New Orleans
To stay competitive, cities must reimagine their downtowns to be more than business hubs — they must also evolve into lifestyle centers that support the anywhere workforce.
—Sofia Song, Global Cities Research leader
Client Services
Our multidisciplinary team helps shape people-centered urban experiences and mobility solutions for clients across the public and private sectors.

Urban Design & Master Planning

From new cities to urban districts to individual blocks, we design places that connect people. Our urban design plans balance public realm, vertical development, and complex urban systems. We work with developers, public agencies, non-governmental organizations, and institutions at all stages, from vision plans and feasibility studies to entitlements and implementation.

Transit & Mobility Planning

Our clients include public transit agencies, developers, and public-private partnerships delivering major infrastructure projects and transit facilities. We bring deep expertise in transit-oriented and multimodal development and believe that new and alternative mobility strategies can influence how we plan for the next generation.

Special District & Campus Planning

We offer specialized expertise in projects involving sports, entertainment, retail, and educational facilities to anchor urban districts and catalyze development. We work with economic development agencies, professional sports teams, universities, and developers to create compelling and functional plans for transformational projects.

Long-Range & Strategic Planning

We assist municipalities and institutions in setting long-range visions and policies that guide development for the future of our cities. Our planners and strategists are experts in the public process, with experience in stakeholder engagement and facilitation.

Neighborhood Planning

We believe in equitable neighborhoods that provide access to opportunity and choice. With a sensitive approach towards the unique scale of neighborhoods, we plan thriving and cohesive places to live. We work directly with public agencies and community organizations to create unique stakeholder-driven plans that prioritize residents’ needs, honor the past, and look to the future.

Affordable Housing

We recognize that many of our global cities are facing a housing crisis and take an active role in ensuring housing for all. Our team offers experience planning and designing affordable urban housing solutions for all income levels.


“Neighborhoods of choice” could offer a range of living standards and more equitable 20-minute communities.

To create a more balanced and just city, cities must offer choices for people of all ages, races, and income levels. This idea of “neighborhoods of choice” promotes economic attainment regardless of socioeconomic status, with a range of options for residents to thrive through different life stages, such as inclusionary housing.


Transforming distressed industrial assets into useful infrastructure can revitalize neighborhoods.

From abandoned rail lines to coal-fired power plants, outdated industrial infrastructure is increasingly being decommissioned and converted into new uses to jump-start development and unlock value in stalled markets or distressed neighborhoods. These interventions can increase land values, spur new job growth, and drive economic development.


New partnership models can stitch communities together with libraries, health clinics, and other social infrastructure.

The decentralization of institutions is opening the door for more nontraditional public-private partnerships with community-facing service providers. This allows libraries or health clinics to fill the gaps in social infrastructure by becoming more accessible and more connected within a broader network, so people can access services closer to where they live.


The “affinity district” is a design idea that could bring people together and promote more cohesive communities.

As cities struggle to get workers back, affinity districts can bring together like-minded individuals who, through their daily behavioral collisions, promote innovative thinking. Affinity districts promote a sense of community around shared activities, so maker spaces, community forums, mobility hubs, and educational offerings are key features to have on-site.

Over half of global respondents said that living in a walkable city has become more important since the pandemic.
A person walking in front of a large white building.
Design Forecast 2023
10 Meta Trends That Will Transform the Future of Cities
Design Forecast identifies the trends and design strategies that are shaping the future of the human experience and the built environment. We provide strategic advice, research, and projects from all 29 of Gensler's practices to help clients prepare for transformational times.