Urban Designer

September 8, 2020
Houston, TX
Job Type


Basic Function

The Urban Designer is responsible for the design layouts of projects and integrate architecture and urban design into a unified design for Metropolitan Transit Authority. This position is responsible for technical and project leadership; including project budget and schedule preparation activities. The role oversees work of internal staff and outside contractors and consultants as well as supervise, assign, review, and approve preparation of engineering designs, drawings, and specifications; coordinate work with other divisions and departments. The Urban Designer interacts with other groups to reach common understandings and policy decisions. This position will prepare required Executive Decision Documents and make Board Meeting presentations. Performs duties in a safe, efficient manner and in compliance with all applicable rules and safety procedures

Responsibilities and Specific Duties

  • Represents METRO to external clients and acts as a principal advisor on urban design matters.
  • Provides a lead role in urban design deliverables of comprehensive spatial design plans and reports for all capital improvement projects and leading activities related to urban design inclusion throughout planning, engineering, construction, and maintenance projects.
  • Reviews and approves all plans and drawings for new, reconstructed, or modified METRO facilities ensuring there is easy access for pedestrians (including the disabled) and bicyclists. -
  • Oversees urban design plans with METRO staff, local, State, and Federal governmental agencies, and other stakeholders ensuring all proposed needs comply with appropriate Federal, State, local regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Ensures adherence to specifications; identifies resource needs; monitors the progress of large-scale urban design projects; assess needs with appropriate management staff to allocates resources accordingly.
  • Directs and updates METRO urban design standards and manual to reflect relevant and best practice urban design impacts in accordance to METRO urban design guideline and procedure.
  • Administers consultant scope of work related to urban design consultant need; reviews work to ensure compliance with specifications; recommends change orders; maintains records and processes.
  • Supports the planning and engineering leadership team in the development capital improvement projects.
  • Provides budget management oversight to ensure compliance within project schedule and budget; oversees the work of outside contractors and contracted staff.
  • Participates in the development of policies and procedures; monitors work activities to ensure compliance with established policies and procedures; makes recommendations for changes and improvements to existing standards and procedures.
  • Oversees the development of preventative maintenance procedures for urban design related assets; provides direction and assistance to departments to ensure that these procedures are understood and implemented correctly.
  • Oversees, reviews and approves the preparation of landscape architecture designs, drawings, and specifications; signs and stamps landscape architecture design drawings; monitors the activities of the landscape architecture design staff.
  • Coordinates work with other divisions, departments and outside agencies; identifies technical urban design issues and ensures compliance with District and industry architectural standards.
  • Participates in the review of consultant proposals and design; recommends awards; conducts or participates in the pre-bid conferences prior to contract award.
  • Prepares or reviews a variety of reports and correspondence on assigned urban design and architecture projects including inspection reports, ensures completion and accuracy of monthly and final reports, contract negotiations and modifications, and field and design changes.
  • Participates in the selection of contracted urban design and architecture staff; provides or coordinates staff training; works with employees to correct deficiencies; implements discipline procedures.
  • Represents METRO in public meetings and hearings on proposed projects to ensure a clear understanding of urban design use is provided.
  • May conduct intermediate and final inspections on assigned projects.
  • Promotes safety awareness and follows safety procedures in an effort to reduce or eliminate accidents.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assign

Education Requirement

Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, behavioral ecology, Engineering or related field.

Years & Experience Required

Minimum of five (5) years urban design related experience and projects specific to transit development and urban planning and design. To include experience with complex urban contexts with multiple modes, project management.

Knowledge & Skills Required

Well-developed knowledge of one or more planning disciplines such as urban design, architectural design, community development, economic development, housing and community activism. General knowledge of ADA compliance and grant programs. Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills. Excellent analytical and research skills with ability to manage projects effectively and meet firm deadlines. Requires proficient computer skills; Microsoft Office, Internet applications and GIS systems. AICP Certification, licensure (engineer, landscape architect, or architect), or related preferred.

Additional Information

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas has a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy for all employees. All internal and external applicants will be required to undergo drug testing before employment and will be subject to further drug and/or alcohol testing throughout their employment.

Further, employees who perform safety-sensitive functions will submit to drug and/or alcohol testing in accordance to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulatory requirements.

We provide equal opportunity to all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, veteran status, genetic information or disability.

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