2010 begins and we are suddenly into the
second decade of the 21st century: a good
opportunity to reflect on some of the urban
design highlights of the past 10 years. The
Millennium began (a year early) with the
spectacular Millennium Dome, (now the O2
arena), unfortunately not a triumph but a PR
disaster, drowning in a flood of cold water
- poured out by political parties and press
alike. But there were many other community projects, catalysed by funding from the
National Lottery, that celebrated the public
realm, including new parks, revitalised public
spaces, and public art.
The 1990s had amassed a formidable
array of urban policy and momentum through
the efforts of Heseltine, Gummer, Prescott
and most important of all, the many individuals within the urban design fraternity. 1999
saw the publication of Lord Rogers’ Urban
Task Force Report: Towards an Urban Renaissance, and the creation of CABE from out
of the Royal Fine Art Commission. The year
2000 witnessed the Urban White Paper – Our
towns and cities: the future; delivering an urban renaissance, and the DETR’s By-Design,
(May 2000) which may be the one document
with a lasting legacy. Its seven objectives
drew an emphatic line in the sand that continue to guide and influence today.
The 1990s had seen the Rio Declaration
and the Kyoto Treaty. During the 2000s the
use of the word sustainable became pretty
much compulsory. In 2003 the Sustainable
Communities Plan appeared, followed by the
Egan skills review leading to the creation of
the Academy of Sustainable Communities
(ASC). Eco-towns followed in 2007 and the
Climate Change Act in 2009 with its 2050
target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
by 80 per cent. By 2009 most politicians felt
that they had to be photographed cycling (or
Current subscriptions
Urban Design is free to Urban Design Group
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UDG Office
Tel 020 7250 0872/0892
Email [email protected]
ii — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
In town and country planning, structure
and local plans made way for local development frameworks, and planning policy guidance was progressively replaced by planning
policy statements with a growing emphasis
on quality. Integrated transport and land use
planning materialised in 2000 through the
Local Transport Act and the local transport
plan system is now in its third iteration. The
year also saw the publication of the UK Ten
Year Transport Plan which, by 2004, was
claimed by the press to be dead, with traffic reduction targets un-achieved, and the
rail network in disarray. London progressed
under the leadership of Ken Livingstone with
the congestion charge, the world squares
schemes, and major investment in public
transport including the controversial bendy
bus which may have contributed to Boris
Johnson’s 2008 election victory.
There were rumours that Treasury held a
long standing hostility to both heavy and light
rail schemes (owing to poor economics compared with road development) but the Channel Tunnel Rail link opened in 2003, and was
subsequently called HS1, suggesting the UK
might have a high-speed rail strategy. Budget
airlines, through their questionable success,
enabled the newly affluent to travel on whim
and changed the dynamic on long distance
internal transport. The impact has been pressure on the one hand for airport expansion,
and on the other, in the face of growing environmental concerns, for less environmentally
damaging alternatives, including HS2.
A decisive moment for ‘place’ came in
2007 with the publication by the Department for Transport of Manual for Streets,
with encouragement to balance place and
movement, and to put pedestrian first in a
hierarchy of road users. Along with By Design,
it now forms the cornerstone of the work
of urban designers. Trumpeted as ‘rule free
design’ and a charter for creative professionalism, it is clear that for some it is used
simply as a doctrine, having neither sought to
read nor understand the underlying research
base, despite the demands of codes of professional conduct for competent practice.
Shared space materialised in the UK, through
the efforts of the late Hans Monderman and
Ben Hamilton-Baillie, against opposition from
the Guide Dogs for the Blind, joining forces
with a Clarksonesque lobby. ‘Someone is going to be killed, you idiots,’ said Mr Clarkson
of the Ashford Kent shared space scheme,
‘either because they walked into the road, not
knowing it was road, or because a motorist
Annual membership rates
Uk individuals £40 uk students £20
International individuals £50
Recognised practitioner in urban
design £80
Practices £250 (including a listing in the UD
practice index and on the udg website)
Education £100 (including a listing in the
drove down the pavement not knowing it was
pavement’. In fact 2 pedestrians were killed
in Ashford in 2009, not within the shared
space, but while walking along the pavement
of a conventional urban street, by a 24 year
old driver who had lost control of his vehicle.
It is uncertain why some people still think
that a 125mm kerb will protect them from a
careering car.
From this brief and decidedly nonexhaustive review, we have a picture of the
first decade of the 21st century, getting
off to a flying start thanks to all those who
campaigned in the 1990s for quality and a
just recognition for towns and cities. There
were great achievements in revived town and
city centres, and major policy changes won
for place and pedestrian. But the elephant
in the room is funding and economics. Tony
Blair introduced us to ‘Education, Education, Education’; Kirstie Allsopp and Phil
Spencer introduced us to ‘Location, Location,
Location’, and in 2008 the financial services
industry introduced us to trepidation, consternation and perspiration as we sweated
to see whether our savings and pensions
would disappear in a puff of derivatives and
Much has been achieved, but much
remains to be done. Urban environments
remain obesogenic and years away from
zero carbon targets and true sustainability,
and CABE tells us only 20 per cent of housing is acceptable. What is clear is that it is
individuals with vision and persistence that
make the difference. We must look to the
next ten years knowing that there are people
within the membership of the Urban Design
Group who will continue with the cause with
as much energy and conviction. Are you one
of them??
This issue has been generously sponsored
by Alan Baxter & Associates
Cover Old Market Square, Nottingham.
Photograph David Millington Photography Ltd
Future Issues
Issue 114 – Scotland
Issue 115 – Suburbs
The Francis Tibbalds Prize 2009 3
What is the best way to create places in the
21st Century 4
Duke of York Square 5
Urban Design Beyond 2010: Evolution or
Revolution 6
Framing a city in constant motion 6
The Urban Design Interview: Julia Wallace 7
Cabe page: New models for housebuilding 8
Modi’in New Town: Israel, Arlene Segal 9
The Waterfront of Puerto Madero, Guillermo
Tella 12
Darryl Chen’s Urban Design DIY 14
Topic: Local Authorities and
Urban Design
UD_cover_113_final.indd 1
1/12/09 18:43:21
Unless otherwise indicated, all LONDON
events are held at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross
Street, London EC1M 6EJ at 6.30 pm. Tickets
can be purchased at the door from 6.00pm:
£5.00 non-members, £2.00 members, £1.00
UD practice index and on the udg website)
Local authorities £100 (including two
copies of Urban Design)
Uk libraries £40
International libraries £50
Individual issues of Urban Design cost £5
News And Events
UDG Chairman
Duncan Ecob
and Director
Huxford are
in a reflective
International comparisons: Housing and
urban form
This event will look at different patterns of
housing, featuring the newly published Urban
Housing Handbook which explores historic
and modern models of housing from around
the world, their relationship with urban grain
and their influence on public space. Led by
Paris-based architect and urban designer,
Eric Firley.
Introduction: Tim Hagyard 16
The Essex Design Guide legacy, Peter Dawson
and Barry Shaw 18
Resources to deliver a place-making agenda,
Paul Lavelle 21
Design review at the local level, Anne
Stevenson 24
Fife Council Urban Design Training, Marilyn
Higgins and Leslie Forsyth 27
Design control in Welsh authorities, Anna
Lermon 30
Cultivating Design Leadership, Mark
Pearson 34
The First Urban Design Student Award
This is a new student award scheme supported by the Francis Tibbalds Trust. The award
aims to give recognition to project work
produced by students in the final year of their
urban design course. The winner, as voted for
by the membership, will be announced at this
evening's event. Urban Initiatives are acting
as sponsors for the evening and Kelvin Campbell will give an introductory talk ‘Where is
Urban Design Going?’
Urban Design and the Council
– Implementing the Vision
Tim Hagyard, topic editor of this issue, will
give an overview of progress towards making
urban design an integral part of local government planning. How can the processes and
practices of planning be reinvented at the
local level?
St John’s, Northampton, Tom Barrows 38
The Shambles – A new heart for the Osney
Islands, Nick Thorne 40
Caledonian University at Glasgow Green,
Piotr Mike 42
A new centre for Ealing, Armando
Delgado 44
Situationist City, Lucy Montague 48
Book reviews
The Everyday Resilience of the City,
Coaffee, Murkami-Wood and Rogers 48
The Public Chance, Aurora Fernández Per and
Javier Arpa 48
Britain’s New Towns, Anthony Alexander 49
Vigo Waterfront, Guillermo Vasquez
Consuegra 49
Practice Index 50
Education Index 57
Endpiece Drum’n’pint of Bass, Joe
Holyoak 57
Morphological investigations: cutting into
the substance of urban form
If urban form is a material and urban designers the craftspeople who work it, urban morphology is a tool that reveals the grain and
structure of the material. Karl Kropf examines
recent developments in urban morphology
and their application in urban design.
Urban Design Group
Study Tours
19 to 22 March 2010 – Study tour to Berlin
15 to 23 May 2010 – Study tour of Venetian
Towns on the Coast of Dalmatia
Both these tours are organised by Alan
Stones and more information can be obtained
directly from him on 01376 571351 or e-mail
[email protected] The last
booking date for both is Friday 12 February
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 1
A new look for a new year
The Urban Design
Awards 2009 – The
Francis Tibbalds Prize
It is now customary that a senior and accomplished member of the profession should open
the Urban Design awards evening and this year
the UDG was able to welcome Roger Evans.
A year ago, we reported on our readers’
survey and promised to act upon your
comments. Today you can judge whether we
have responded to your comments. Starting
with this issue, Urban Design has a new,
fresher image but it is not radically different
from its former self. Readers felt that the font
was not clear enough and made the text
sometimes difficult to read; we hope that you
like the new fonts, not necessarily larger but
certainly clearer.
We have changed the way that different
sections of the journal are identified, both in
terms of tint and in the way the rubric appears
in the margin. The rhythm of column widths
has also changed and the organisation of
some of the pages, most notably the contents
and diary, and the book review pages. The
layout of the cover will make it easier for us to
select images that fit the format.
Most of the respondents to our
questionnaire liked the magazine’s contents,
but a few regretted that we didn’t give enough
space to the work of the local authorities.
Here, topic editor Tim Hagyard has collected
an excellent selection of articles that reflect
very positively on the work of the public
sector, so frequently criticised.
Exceptionally this issue includes additional
pages as we publish five student projects
that were nominated by Urban Design course
leaders and short-listed by the Urban Design
Group’s jury to compete for the Francis
Tibbalds Student’s Award which will be
announced in February. Finally we publish a
Viewpoint sent to us by one of our members in
a highly original form.
The Editorial Board hopes that you will
enjoy the fresh look and that you will be
encouraged to contribute to future issues; we
welcome your reactions, your letters and the
articles that you may want to submit to us.
Happy New Year!
Sebastian Loew
New Hall, Harlow
Roger explained that the careers of most
urban designers tended to involve a short
term relationship with sites as the development work would be undertaken by others;
so, his 15 year involvement with New Hall was
something of an exception.
Harlow was planned by Sir Frederick
Gibberd, from 1946, with a settlement based
on what we would recognise today as selfsufficient neighbourhoods, each accommodating 6-10.000 people along with facilities such
as a primary school. The Harlow New Town
master plan comprised just 18 sides of paper –
eloquent and to the point. Roger commented
that 18 pages would not even accommodate
a proposal in today’s environment. The plan
assumed that the M11 would pass to the north
of Harlow and employment areas were located
accordingly. However, in the event, the M11
was built to the east. Gibberd is said to have
commented that it was like being asked to
master plan a seaside town and then, just
as you are finishing, being told that God has
moved the sea.
New Hall is intended as an extension to
Harlow. When complete it will accommodate
approximately 6,000 people. Inevitably it is a
greenfield site, new towns having no brownfield
legacy. Roger had early discussions with the
owner that established from the outset that the
development should be something rather different from the norm: they believed that there
should be no trade-off between quality and
financial return, and that a scheme that could
attract people would attract investment.
Progress started in 1993/94 with the
establishment of seven key criteria:
Respect natural environments –species-rich
habitats amounting to some 42 per cent of
the site area, were identified and protected
from development
Develop remainder at higher densities– this
proved slightly challenging as the district
council at the time held the view that high
density equated with bad design
Maximise linkages – a semi-lattice street
structure was proposed with no cul-de-sacs
People on foot take priority over people in
Master plan built out with contemporary
Set higher standards for sustainability than
current regulations
Implement using urban design codes and
Urban Design Group
Chairman Duncan Ecob
Patrons Alan Baxter, Tom Bloxham, Sir Terry
Farrell, Colin Fudge, Nicky Gavron, Dickon
Robinson, Les Sparks, John Worthington
Director Robert Huxford
Editorial Board
John Billingham, Matthew Carmona,
Tim Catchpole, Richard Cole, Alastair Donald,
Neil Double, Tim Hagyard, Liezel Kruger,
Sebastian Loew, Malcolm Moor, Judith Ryser,
Louise Thomas
trockenbrot (Claudia Schenk and Anja Sicka)
Urban Design Group
70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ
Tel 020 7250 0872/0892
Email [email protected]
Website www.udg.org.uk
Sebastian Loew (this issue) and
Louise Thomas
[email protected]
[email protected]
Book Review Editor
Richard Cole
Advertising enquiries
Please contact UDG office
Material for publication
Please send text by email to the
editors, images to be supplied at a
high-resolution (180mm width @300dpi)
preferably as jpeg
2 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Printing Nuffield Press
© Urban Design Group ISSN 1750 712X
Innovative master plan
Masterplanning was done at a big scale,
without too much drawing, using lots of
models. Detailed schemes were then developed for the whole neighbourhood. The
neighbourhood was subdivided into development parcels, running from 100 dwellings
down to single plots. If you want a plot then
you can probably find one at New Hall, said
Roger Evans, throwing a challenge to any
urban designer fancying trying their hand
at self-build. Where there is a public space,
the parcels are arranged to provide diversity
of buildings: in one location there are five
architects producing designs. There is an
important role to be fulfilled mediating in a
dialogue between the different architects,
assisting a conversation about materials and
It is important to obtain activity at an
early stage and around the central square
there is volume housing, a café, and shops.
Rent for the latter is charged on the basis
of turnover, allowing a gentle start to the
businesses with the rent going up as trade
develops. There are areas where the code
requires high ceiling heights and a proper
‘business front door’ so that the houses can
be used for business should the need and
opportunity arise.
While the codes were there to set a
standard, if a developer is able to increase
density, and in so doing provide a better
quality development, then there is a readiness to adjust the codes. There are areas
where the design codes need to be tight. The
development is to Parker Morris standards
plus 10 per cent, at 42 units per hectare,
although a more meaningful measure of density of square metres per hectare is used.
A colour palette for the site was
produced by the artist Tom Porter who
took samples of soils, lichens and materials to develop four palettes for elevations,
floorscape, roofscape, and highlights. The
experience is that the requirement to use
materials from specific sources including
named quarries and a single brickworks that
supplies hand made bricks, has added only
one percent to costs.
Developers are selected on a two stage
process: a sealed bid plus four A1 panels
outlining their proposal. Quality is being assessed before price. The experience has been
that the developers offering the best quality
have also offered the best price.
After the talk John Billingham commented that New Hall was one of the best
developments he had seen. A site foreman
who had originally approached one of the
buildings with unreserved scepticism commented 18 months later ‘I know every rivet
– this is the best job I have ever worked on’.
Both endorsements are something to be
proud of.
Winning scheme announced
Following very short presentations from the
six shortlisted teams, Janet Tibbalds opened
the envelope that contained the name of
the winner and awarded the £1000 Francis
Tibbalds Prize to Pollard Thomas Edwards
Architects for the Dunsfold Park scheme,
selected through a vote by the UDG members. The other finalists were:
Temple Quay 2, Bristol – URBED/
Jon Rowland Urban Design
East Street, Farnham – Scott Brownrigg
Regent Quarter King’s Cross
– Urban Initiatives
Clearwater, Lower Mill Estate – Richard
Reid & Associates
St Petersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne
– Planit.ie.
All finalists have certificates to place upon
the entrance walls of their offices, and the
gratitude of the profession for their commitment and energy in helping to raise the
standard of urban design. It may not be easy,
but it is worthwhile. As Jon Rowland commented ‘it can be an emotional and painful
experience – steel yourself before you go for
it. If you have found something with a bit of
umph in it, it will survive having bits knocked
off!’. Sadly a few days after being awarded
the prize, the DCLG turned the Dunsfold Park
scheme down on appeal on grounds of traffic
Robert Huxford
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 3
What is the best way
to create places in
the 21st Century
The National Conference on
Urban Design, Peterhouse,
Cambridge 18-19 September 2009
Cambridge was a felicitous location for this
year’s UDG Annual Conference the title of
which was ‘Is big Beautiful?”. Whilst not
answering the question, this small, charming and cyclist friendly city was certainly
indicating that small can be beautiful. And
as prequel to the main event, the City and
County had organised a debate on tall buildings which if anything, showed how deeply
involved in urban design and environmental
matters the local citizens, organisations and
authorities are.
This concern for the city future was
also the theme of Cambridge City Council
Executive Councillor Sian Reid, the Conference’s first speaker who commented on the
challenges faced because of pressure for
expansion. Welcoming the delegates, she
also remarked on the high calibre of staff
and advisory groups from which Cambridge
Morning session
Anthony Alexander of Alan Baxter &
Associates followed with a history of British
New Towns, based on his recently published
book (see review p.49). The theme of the
conference was then taken by Rob Bayley
from Atkins Transport Planning who addressed the issue of major infrastructure
projects and wondered whether these were
still feasible from an environmental, social
and economical viewpoint. His message was
that rather than finding a problem to fit the
solution we have in mind, we should first
identify the problem that we are trying to
solve. He focussed in particular on the greater Cambridge and the impact of population
and employment growth; various approaches
to the resulting problems of transport had
been considered and a combination of stick
in the guise of a well targeted congestion
charge, and carrot through better public
transport, park and ride facilities and cycle
ways, seemed to be the favourite option.
Growth with traffic reduction was therefore
possible but innovative ways of financing
infrastructure had to be found.
Sustainable Suburbia was the subject of
Richard MacCormac of MJP Architects. He
compared two models of suburbia, one inefficient and only suitable for car movement,
the other based on a Victorian grid, much
more efficient and pedestrian friendly. As an
advocate of ‘walkable suburbia’, he put forward a hypothetical settlement and offered
a visualisation model that could be used to
evaluate different mixes of dwellings and layouts. His message was that as most people
4 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
lived in suburbia, we needed to preserve its
benefits (gardens, privacy, etc) but make it
more sustainable.
Dr. Tony Hargreaves of Cambridge
University then presented the results of
research projects he is involved with, looking
at three areas: the wider South East, the Tyne
and Wear City region and the Cambridge
sub–region. What forms of growth are more
sustainable is the question being investigated and three classical options are being
considered: compaction, planned extensions
and dispersal. The interim conclusions of the
study seem to indicate that from the environmental sustainability point of view, the
alternative design options made very little
difference as they are dwarfed by the consequences of population and socio-economic
change, and that changes in land use and
transportation over 30 years were small compared to the existing situation. Hargreaves
even suggested that current policies on
brown fields may be counter productive and
that technology and behavioural change offered the greatest opportunities for improvement. This was a very challenging presentation which should make policy makers and
practitioners pause and reflect.
The Cambridge Challenge was the subject
of the next two speakers, Peter Studdert,
Director of Joint Planning, Cambridge Growth
Areas and Glen Richardson, head of the Joint
Urban Design Team of Cambridge and South
Cambridgeshire. The relevance of these descriptions was revealed by the extent of joint
working between teams made indispensable
as the city’s growth is, to a large extent, happening outside its boundaries and a coordinated strategy is required. As Glen summarised, urban design needs to be thought of at
all stages of planning, be solution focused,
long term and placing quality at the top
of the agenda. From what was shown, the
Cambridge team is making a difference and
raising the quality of development. Similar
themes were developed by the morning’s
last speaker, Dan Durrant of Inspire East and
Regional Cities East, who described how their
strategic approach included a diagnostic,
organisational development and collaboration. In particular he mentioned their efforts
in developing the skills needed to deliver
sustainable communities (see UD 111, p.5).
Amanda Reynolds, chair of the morning
session, managed to squeeze a very necessary period of Q&A before lunch, allowing the
audience to raise a number of issues that had
been bottled up during the preceding intense
series of talks. The equally packed afternoon
under the title of Small Scale Approaches was
chaired by Colin Haylock.
Afternoon session
The first speaker was Tony Burton, Director
of the Civil Society Initiative, the organisation
that has taken over some of the objectives
of the former Civic Trust. Using real examples he emphasised the importance of civic
societies in helping delivering projects that
are sensitive to an area and can deliver quality, or attacking schemes that went wrong.
He also outlined a number of issues raised
by the societies and their contribution to
democracy. Liz Kessler of EC1 New Deal for
Communities followed on a similar theme
with an inspirational talk on her work in
South Islington, showing how small changes
could achieve big gains. Her work involved
often difficult negotiations with various
partners and she didn’t pretend that this was
easy. But having a vision and ensuring that
all stakeholders signed up to it, developing a
series of small interventions within an agreed
strategic framework, aiming design at usage
and quality, plus being fortunate in obtaining
seed funding, allowed her team to develop a
number of public realm improvements that
made a difference to the local population.
The next speaker, Nottingham City
Council’s Nigel Turpin referred to issues that
pervaded the whole day: the need for a clear
vision and for breaking professional barriers, the importance of design quality and
for pushing the boundaries. Nottingham can
be proud of its Old Market Square scheme
and of the traffic reduction achieved in the
city centre through the Streetscape Design
manual and their delivery team. He mentioned a number of additional small interventions, part of Design 09, to be implemented
within a clear master plan that should greatly
improve the quality of life in Nottingham.
Continental examples were put forward
by the last two speakers of the day: Alona
Martinez, Lecturer at the University of Ulster
who offered three Spanish models from
Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid; Nick Falk of
Urbed covered a wider spectrum and looked
more to Northern Europe, arguing for new
approaches to housing and for ‘big ideas and
small projects’, a sentiment that seemed
to encompass the afternoon’s theme. He
also summarised the common themes of a
number of continental eco-towns: connectivity, community, distinctive neighbourhoods,
high environmental standards and local
authorities that take the lead.
Finally UDG Chairman Duncan Ecob
chaired a panel discussion assisted by
patrons John Worthington and Alan Baxter,
where a number of issues were clarified or
elaborated and an extra one introduced: the
connection between urban development
and food production, perhaps a theme for a
future UD event. In the meantime nourishment was offered at the conference dinner
in the splendid surroundings of Peterhouse
refectory where delegates and speakers
continued animated discussions on the day’s
The conference ended on the Saturday
with a number of very interesting walks
Duke of York Square
Guided tour, 6 October 2009
A future edition of the Good Place Guide
may well include the Duke of York Square in
Chelsea, the subject of a guided tour offered
to UDG members by the JMP team led by Paul
Smith. Most of the explanation and history
of the site was given by Riccardo Bobisse
with additional detailed information given by
various colleagues. JMP were the transport
and engineering consultants to the designers, architects Paul Davis and Partners who
were responsible for the master plan and the
implementation of the project, with Elizabeth
Banks Associates providing the landscape.
The scheme had a long and convoluted history which raised a series of fascinating urban design issues. These ranged from how to
combine new and historic buildings, how to
deal with access and servicing in a complex
mixed use scheme, issues of land ownership
around Cambridge old and new. The whole
event was so rich in material that it could
have filled a couple of days with additional
discussion time. This summary does not do
justice to what was presented but papers can
be accessed on the udg website.
Sebastian Loew
and management to how to deal with a vociferous and articulate local community (this
is Chelsea!) and with the Ministry of Defence
which previously occupied the site. All these
issues and more were discussed in detail during the walk which took the group of some 20
urban designers around the public parts of
the scheme and into the private and normally
inaccessible gated parts. Some of the details
were impressive, such as the combination of
a school drop-off area with a playground, or
the placing of social housing on what would
appear to be the glamorous part of the site,
or the subtle treatment of service access for
the shops. The visit ended with coffee and
cakes in one of the shops which are part of
the scheme. The JMP team were refreshingly candid about the negative as well as
the positive aspects of the development and
answered the many questions posed by the
members of the party.
This was a spontaneous offer from a
group of UDG members to the others and
many thanks are due to the JMP team for taking the initiative. It reminded some of us that
← Accordia, subject of a walk
on Saturday
Photograph David Millington
Photography Ltd
↑ Candle-light conference
dinner in Peterhouse’s
the UDG started as a series of individual and
voluntary initiatives such as this one. We can
only hope that it will be emulated by others,
not just in London but throughout the country. Visit to real schemes is one of the best
ways to learn about urban design, it provides
a good way of networking, it is stimulating
and enjoyable and it costs nothing. Any other
members willing to lead such a visit should
contact Robert or Louise at the UDG office.
Sebastian Loew
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 5
Urban Design Beyond
2010: Evolution or
The Gallery, London 21 October
In a change to the planned event, four speakers were invited to look at the initiatives and
policies that had shaped the last 18 years of
urban design, and reflect on what is needed
from the next government. Robert Huxford
provided a useful timeline from 1992 onwards
of the ideas, campaigns and movements
that have become policy, and the champions
that drove them through successive governments. The great recognition that urban
design has had in that period means that
Framing a city in
constant motion
The Gallery, Cowcross Street,
This exhibition of the group SHIFT explores
movement and how it shapes our realities
and perceptions of the city. Each of four
architectural photographers - Martin Stewart, Murray Scott, Victoria Gibbs and Paul
Grundy - bring their own distinctive style to
the subject of movement and its relationship
to urban design, people and landscape. This
is a topical exhibition for urban designers as
6 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Urban Design Interview
many aspirations have become policy, with
perhaps too much control being exercised.
He highlighted the dominance of the media in
influencing opinion, creating myths that have
become common perceptions. Urban design
however is missing a national figurehead to
give its ideas fresh appeal and impetus. Robert concluded with a reminder of the average
9.6 per cent annual rise in house prices that
has underpinned the last ten years, turning
home ownership into an aspiration.
Paul Reynolds described the significance
of infrastructure investment for the coming
decade, and how this was to be funded now
that land values and new development were
no longer able to contribute to this. Describing the Mayor’s proposals for a new airport
in the Thames Estuary, he highlighted the
reclaiming of land as a means to generate
land values for new infrastructure, and the
bold leadership, whether from politicians or
developers, needed to create change.
Barry Sellers reminded the audience of
the UDG’s manifesto prepared in 2005 for
the last election, and looked at the progress
made on the eight key design principles
(see the UDG website). By contrast, Colin
Munsie set himself up as the revolutionary
in the group, describing the explosion of
literature and tools now available to support
good urban design. The challenge is now to
turn this knowledge into common practice,
a plethora of transport projects are shaping London and will affect Londoners in the
years to come: airport expansion, Crossrail,
possibly Crossrail 2, London Overground,
DLR improvements, new buses, cycle superhighways and the gaping hole in the city’s
transport budget leading to substantial ticket
prices rises.
Martin Stewart takes us to the new, shiny
Westfield in Shepherds Bush, and refreshingly
shows us a different angle: no shop fronts or
designer gear but instead public transport,
car parks, bus stands, tube station entrances, the pieces of urban kit which allow this
intense concentration of shopping experience
to work. At times the images can appear as
mere snapshots of location, offering a tourist view of urban transport in a new glitzy,
high-end shopping mecca. But look long
enough and an element of detachment begins
to emerge, detachment that exists between
the transport elements and the citizens who
use it.
Murray Scott cleverly plays with the
viewer’s sense of perspective, proportions
and perception by using techniques to distort
and manipulate his photos, layering and reframing a person’s movement around a place.
This work will appeal to many urban designers interested in the complex movement
behavioural patterns of pedestrians; there is
a uncomfortable observational or even stalking feel to his work. The repetition of people
and he saw overcoming a series of barriers
or urban myths as the next major hurdle.
These included perceived wisdoms about car
dependence, wealth, congestion, mobility
and shopping patterns. Nevertheless Colin
reminded the audience of the smoking ban,
which had been seen as unlikely to ever happen for many years.
The debate that followed was revealing,
with sustainability and a radical approach
to zero-carbon being of primary significance
- whether applied to infrastructure design,
city living, retrofitting or regeneration, and
comparisons were made with the introduction of the 1956 Clean Air Act which quickly
helped to reduce London’s smog. The issue of
leadership arose again on who would lead the
industry on this. Most notably, the role of the
urban designer seemed to emerge as a new
‘environmental designer’ creating liveable
zero-carbon places, so that if the power does
run out, life can continue.
Louise Thomas
in his images makes you look twice, observe
the details, re-look, leaving you wandering in
the end how this multiple layering, morphing
is achieved.
Victoria Gibbs’s work showcases the most
prominent landscape feature in London,
the River Thames. By following the stretch
of water between the two Tate’s, from Tate
Britain to Tate Modern, attention is drawn to
how Londoners have tried to use, shape and
most importantly bridge this piece of water.
The photographs juxtapose the different
viewpoints and angles of the bridges that line
this part of the Thames.
Paul Grundy’s series of photographs
leads the viewer on a journey following the
flight path of a plane crossing over London,
from the inner city to the suburbs. It offers a
transect of urban typologies as a background
to the increasing imposing feature of a jumbo
jet which slowly descends into Heathrow, as
the houses get smaller and more suburban.
This was a welcome exhibition, bringing
attention to an often overlooked and underappreciated aspect of city life, in particular
the ability for city dwellers to reflect on the
things they take for granted, namely how they
move about. Unfortunately it will be over by
the time you read this, but you can see the
work on their site www.shiftlondon.co.uk.
Neil Double
↖ Photograph Murray Scott
The Urban Design
Julia Wallace
What is your current job and how long have
you been there?
I am a Planning Manager for ATLAS, a team
within the Homes and Communities Agency
that provides independent planning and
technical advice to local authorities dealing with large scale development proposals. I cover the South East England region.
Although it’s not technically an urban design
role, much of what we do relates to helping
those involved in the development process
to focus on the place they are creating and
realise their vision for attractive, vibrant new
communities. It’s about promoting urban
design at different scales from the strategic
to the detailed, not an add-on but integral to
Can you describe the path that you followed to become an urban designer and
what motivated you?
Studying architecture stimulated my interest
in the built environment, and it’s hard to beat
Edinburgh as a vibrant and architecturally
rich urban environment to learn from. That,
and my burgeoning interest in creating places
for people, pointed me in the direction of
studying planning and urban design. Planning
students at that time came largely from a
geography or social science background and
struggled with the concept of my architectural background, but to me it was the most
logical combination of skills. Latterly I have
spent a very happy ten years broadening my
skills and experience in planning and urban
design working on the Kent Design Initiative
and at Ashford Borough Council.
What do you find exciting about your work?
We spend a lot of time bringing participants with different disciplines and motives
together to discuss a development proposal,
and it’s incredibly stimulating the way that
pulling out a plan and getting people to think
spatially can create constructive dialogue
even in the most acrimonious of situations.
Plans reveal opportunities, and show the
connectedness of things. It’s also great to be
constantly learning and drawing on related
areas of work such as social development,
climate change and economic viability.
What do you think are the most important
skills of an urban designer?
The ability to communicate with people
at every level from local resident to senior
politician or highway engineers, alongside
creative ability to inspire and surprise.
What would you like to be doing in ten
years’ time?
I hope I will still be excited and inspired by
new places and people, possibly taking up
the opportunity to work in another country
for a while – there is still such a lot of the
world I would like to see and learn from.
As an urban designer, do you have a role
Perhaps more inspiration than role model,
but for me Italo Calvino in Invisible Cities
captured the complexity of cities, and the
importance of our emotional and human
response to places in influencing our perception of them. He describes a series of
imaginary cities: the city where all goods are
replaced every day and removed to a giant
refuse heap on the edge of the city, awaiting
the inevitable waste avalanche; the city that
is made of a series of personal memories the coffee shop, the scene of an argument,
a past workplace. Back in the real world
Richard Alderton at Ashford Borough Council
has been a role model in providing an environment of being forward looking encouraging inclusivity and collaborative working and
allowing people to grow professionally (and
make their own mistakes).
If you were to recommend an urban design
scheme or study (past or present) for an
award, what would you chose?
I might be chased out of town if I failed to
mention Ashford’s transformation of the
old ring road into a series of shared spaces
as an early intervention in the regeneration of the town centre (reviewed in UD last
issue). Ashford Borough Council and Kent
Council sustained their vision for high quality public realm that handed space back
to the pedestrian in spite of fierce opposition. Much of this was due to the role of the
Design Champions team whose integrated
approach to design included artists who both
influenced the design and generated a rich
array of temporary and permanent artworks.
Ashford’s regeneration has a long way to
go, and the scheme raises issues of ongoing
management and maintenance which reflects
problems facing cash-strapped councils up
and down the country, but it establishes a
qualitative marker for future development in
town centre.
Where is your favourite town or city and
I have to declare my divided loyalties for Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh is instantly
gratifying with streets and spaces responding
to the topography and the buildings proudly
rooted in their urban environment. The city
centre has remained the most desirable place
to live, and the Scottish tenement flat offers
a fantastically sustainable range of accommodation. Glasgow however has embraced
change in a more positive way, with constant
regeneration and new development such as
at the Merchant City, encouraging people to
move back to the city centre.
Where is your most hated place and why?
The anonymous out of town retail park in
the US where our host had to drive us from
the parking lot of one store to that of the
adjacent restaurant rather than walk. A truly
depressing experience to the senses on every
level – absence of architectural design, impossibility of pedestrian movement and complete lack of interaction with other people.
What advice would you give to UD readers?
Take a holiday! Some people are great armchair travellers but I am a real advocate of
experiencing towns and cities first hand to inspire and challenge our thinking. Even better
if you can convince like-minded colleagues
to invest in a study trip to Malmø, Freiburg or
What should the Urban Design Group be
doing now or in the future?
Working with children to encourage them to
learn to look at the world around them with
a critical eye. Few people in the UK seem to
have an eye for beauty or design quality but
all are affected subconsciously by the buildings and spaces they inhabit.
Finally, who would you like to see interviewed by UD?
If you can’t get hold of Johnny Depp, then a
Conservative politician would be interesting to assess the value they place on the
environment and creating quality places as
an investment in the future.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 7
CABE page
New models for
In the depths of the recession last year,
the traditional housebuilders were busy
explaining to government how the industry
could weather the bad times and deliver the
housing numbers so long as expectations of
design quality were not too onerous.
The assumptions underlying this conversation needed to be confronted. So CABE
seized the opportunity to look at the housing
boom from that new perspective – the depths
of the housing crash. In our pamphlet, No
more toxic assets, in March 2009 we pointed
out that an unprecedented era of economic
prosperity and housing market growth had
resulted in a toxic legacy.
While demand exceeded supply, housebuilders could sell whatever they built. This
has resulted in consistently low quality housing development all over the country: small
rooms, poor environmental sustainability,
excessive density, poor estate layout, overengineered roads, unusable amenity space
and dominant parking. Scant attention was
paid to the legacy from this, which is hardly
surprising when it is left to others to pick up
the bill in the long term.
So in No more toxic assets, CABE asked
whether we would be better off moving away
from this accepted model of housebuilding. It
called for a serious exploration of the potential for new development models to deliver
well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.
Nearly a year on, we’ve published a
definitive survey of options to provide the
homes we need at the quality we deserve.
CABE commissioned six experts in their fields
to tell us what they thought should happen to
achieve better housing. Their views inform a
8 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
set of CABE recommendations which together
chart a new course for housebuilding and
placemaking in England.
Christine Whitehead, Professor of Housing Economics at the LSE, addresses land
supply and the planning system. She traces
damaging volatility in the housing market to
the fact that profitability comes from land
trading rather than productivity, fuelling
speculative behaviour. She notes the failure
of the planning system, producing profits for
the minority rather than addressing serious
inequalities. Her solutions include incentives
for refurbishing existing housing stock, more
locally-based approaches to large scale development, and a change in property taxation
to ensure local communities benefit directly
from development.
Dickon Robinson, ex Director of Development at the Peabody Trust, analyses the
potential for new forms of tenure to improve
housing supply and quality. He identifies the
UK emphasis on owner occupation, and the
proliferation of single-person households, as
unsustainable twin phenomena, and suggests
that a more diverse tenure mix is needed
for a growing population. He believes that
developers could be incentivised to build
larger homes through the tax system, and
mortgages redesigned to encourage shared
ownership. He sees these measures going
hand-in-hand with mechanisms that encourage developers to take a longer-term interest
in the value of their development through a
freeholder role.
Liz Peace, CEO of the British Property
Federation and CABE Commissioner, writes
about financing and new business models.
She also promotes the potential benefits of
housebuilders taking a longer term interest
in the properties they develop and says it will
provide a much greater incentive for them to
improve design quality. In order to achieve
such a shift, she highlights the need to create
consumer demand for rental properties. She
also suggests that financial incentives, such
as changes to VAT and stamp duty could
make residential renting as attractive for developers as commercial renting, and suggests
that land could be designated for renting in
local development frameworks.
Peter Studdert, a planning director writing in his personal capacity, discusses the
need to use partnerships to meet local needs.
Lessons from the Continent point to the need
for local authorities to play a more active role
in the funding and delivery of new homes.
This would require local authorities to take
a lead, rather than play the regulatory role
into which they have been forced by the rise
of section 106 and reduced central government grant funding. He sees local authorities
as being in a unique position to fund and
deliver housing development, by assembling
the land for strategic sites and funding and
procuring strategic infrastructure.
Pooran Desai, co-founder of Bioregional,
focuses on sustainable design. He notes the
need to tackle climate change through design
and planning at the neighbourhood scale to
create places with a sustainable metabolism. He suggests that developers tackling
this agenda head-on can gain business
advantages through their association with
sustainability as a brand. However, this will
only work if backed up by a coherent offer
to consumers based on a high quality way of
life underpinned by sustainable principles.
He seeks the holy grail: neighbourhoods that
offer the potential for happier, healthier lives
at a lower cost within the context of sustainable lifestyles.
Stephen Hill, Director of C20 Futureplanners, calls for a citizens’ housing revolution.
He sees potential for the self-build market to
create high quality places, and increase its
market share from its current 10 per cent. He
suggests that the policy environment needs
to recognise the value of self-builders as coinvestors with public bodies, for example by
integrating self-build within spatial planning
as a requirement comparable to affordable
CABE has drawn on this wide range of
ideas and perspectives and developed a
set of recommendations for government,
which we believe will deliver better design
quality than the current model. Our recommendations vary from supporting a more
diverse range of delivery models to giving
local authorities the power to borrow for and
benefit from development, and allowing local
authorities to enter into joint partnerships
with other long-term investors. We think
government should fund research into public
adaptation to sustainable lifestyles, reform
land tax and bring public land forward for
development. Our recommendations could
make a real difference to the quality of the
housing built as the market recovers.
Tom Bolton, Senior Research Advisor, CABE
↖ Sinclair Building, Sheffield
Photograph Gareth Gardner
Arlene Segal describes the design and development of a sustainable new city
Moshe Safdie, Architect and Urban
Designer became an international figure
after his housing submission for the
Montreal Exposition, was built in 1967.
His original ideas for Habitat Housing
as it was known, were based on a three
dimensional Modular Building System
explored as a rational idea of repetition of
individual housing modules. The innate
complexity of the idea resulted in a much
smaller number of units being built for the
exposition, but their impact was highly
The concept of a new town is not new
and there are many precedents of new
cities from the mid 19th century; built
on large green field sites, like Oscar
Niemeyer’s capital city Brasilia, the
spate of post war New Towns in the UK,
or Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh in India.
These and other similar international
developments that created large scale
built environments, influenced the
planning and design thinking throughout
the 20th century. It is fascinating to
witness the embryonic ideas of Habitat
reaching fruition in Safdie’s program for
the city of Modi’in, a potent precedent
for 21st century urban design housing
Modi’in is located mid-way between
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in Israel, on a large
stretch of vacant land. The development
was a response to coastal crowding and
an urgent need for housing caused by an
influx of new immigrant populations. It
is estimated that the land will ultimately
house 260,000 people. There are rich
archaeological remains from biblical times
found on the hills around Modi’in and
these are to be protected as heritage sites.
An urban design strategy was set up
for a dynamic design process rooted in
history that resonates with the mood of
the new century. The process is unusual
since it is has a philosophy of integrated
development. The proposals for Modi’in,
had the political commitment of central
government as landowners; support
from the Ministry of Housing and all
stakeholders were integral to the process.
Government agreed that the revenue
generated from land sales to developers
would finance the entire infrastructure,
which opened the way for rapid progress.
The natural landform comprises a valley
surrounded by gentle undulating hills.
To the Northwest there is a man-made
forest, Ben Shemesh; a rocky ridge outcrop
containing a valley basin to the South
and a large wadi (wetlands) with wadi
ravines meander through the centre of
the site. Geological studies showed that
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 9
↓ Inside the ‘crown’ and
place for informal activities
Photograph Moshe Safdie
Architects Ltd
↓↓ An integrated planting
program quickly establishes
stability, quality and scale
Photograph Arlene Segal
↑ Phase 1 of new residential
Photograph Moshe Safdie
Architects Ltd
← City Plan indicating
potential land use
device that has the ability to transform
urban environments provided that the cost
of landscape maintenance is computed
into the ongoing infrastructure budget.
Construction in Modi’in began in 1994
and the first residents moved in 1996;
there are presently approximately 75,000
residents and the population is growing
daily. The valleys are dense with greenery
and houses that step up the slopes to
the hilltops where the tallest buildings
are located. The slope of the land has
provided some variety in housing types
and attention has been paid to privacy and
overlooking of the units.
most areas, planned for housing were
on an aqua clod through which water
could not penetrate while the central
permeable valley, the Vadi Anaba, could
be used for the main open space of the
city. An important ecological concern at
the time was the question of the potential
damage new construction would cause to
the replenishment of the gigantic coastal
aquifer that provides water to the cities
along the coast. A system of retention
ponds was designed to retain flood waters
and allow the water to infiltrate back into
the coastal aquifer.
The City Plan indicates a green edge to
the entire site and a connection through
a natural route to the Ben Shemesh
Forest. There are designated sports and
recreation areas, districts of commercial,
institutional and public buildings, a high
tech industrial zone, a light industrial
zone, a cemetery and sites of antiquities.
Careful consideration of the topography
is taken into account: low level housing
is located in the valley, gradually rising
up the hilly slopes, while the hilltops are
enhanced by much larger structures that
create a series of identifiable crowns
providing orientation points on the
Minimum set back lines to the streets
were established and a building typology
of two apartments per floor, building
footprints parallel to the contours and
the height of retaining walls limited to
3m. These guidelines set the scene for a
10 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
responsive building programme. Local
shops are located close to residential
development and designed with internal
green courtyards with offices above the
shops. The convergence of three valley
systems connect with the lower slopes
of the hills towards the centre of the
site where the city centre is planned
to accommodate a range of mixed-use
facilities and a transportation interchange.
The road system has been designed for
efficient access based on an orthogonal
grid warped to take the contours of the
terrain into account. The basic structure
is a linear spinal city with connections and
links that feed the spine, and a secondary
road system that serves the residential
areas. Generic urban design principles
echo the broad framework and much
attention is paid to fine detail including
paving, planting, signage, lighting, street
furniture, colour and texture. The main
streets are pigmented and the sidewalks
have paved pedestrian footpaths that move
up the hill in a rhythmic sequence of steps
and terraces.
The edges of the parks are defined by
three and four storey residential walk-ups
that overlook the open space and provide
surveillance. The visual connection with
the ground also encourages use of the
space by young children, as supervision
may be carried out from the units. An
effective integrated planting programme
quickly establishes stability, quality and
scale to the built environment: this simple
Since the area is arid and hot, there was
much value in keeping the valleys open
for ventilation by natural breezes. Solar
heating is mandatory in Israel and there
are guidelines for architectural integration
of solar panels into all buildings; drip
irrigation and recycling of water are part
of the sustainability program, while all
units are designed for optimal orientation.
Reversible air conditioning is used,
particularly for cooling, utility rooms
require visual shielding, and garbage
rooms are oversized to encourage
recycling. All balconies have covered
pergolas for privacy from the balcony
above and each unit has a garden or
terrace, formed by the stepping of the
buildings. Corner buildings have their
own typology. These conditions are all
contained in the master plan that guides
final architectural drawings. There is
much awareness of carbon emissions
arising from overuse of private cars due
to insufficient employment in Modi’in
and being to the west of Tel-Aviv, the town
is subject to pollution from the Tel Aviv
metropolis. The new rail link to Tel Aviv
together with the new highway connection
and excellent bus service should provide
viable alternatives to the private car.
The town centre is being developed, the
shopping mall is complete, the commercial
hub is in progress and construction is
underway for a central entertainment
centre that will house large-scale events,
concerts, exhibitions, happenings, family
fun and a range of cultural activities.The
urban design framework has successfully
integrated major facilities and has been
successful in shifting housing demand
from the coastal areas to the country’s
central district. Modi’in provides the
highest open space/inhabitant ratio in
Israel and the landscape has given identity
to the city.
The town is attracting economically
mobile young residents rather than the
anticipated new immigrant populations,
who have been housed closer to work
opportunities in older areas. In 2007
the price of housing in Modi’in was
considered reasonable for young educated
families of a moderately high income. 60
per cent of the population have tertiary
education and the schooling system in
Modi’in is consequently excellent. The
average family is 3.3 children and there is
very little demographic diversity.
A review of the apartment layouts, by
many different architects and developers,
reveal a similar typology of informal
housing typical of Israeli lifestyle.
Differences between social classes are
small and most apartments are privately
owned. Despite incentives, few developers
build to rent and the rate of purchaser
satisfaction is high. 88 per cent of
residents find the city beautiful and 2.5
per cent think it’s ugly while 40 per cent
moved to the city because of attractive
unit prices.
A unique economic system was created
for Modi’in; since the land is publicly
owned the income from the sales goes to
the government treasury who reinvest
it back into the city. The land value is
determined by a tender process in which
the value is rolled over into the price of
the individual units. Land parcels may
go for near zero value if it is deemed
necessary to maintain the quality urban
Modi’in’s Urban Design Framework
is used to detail design and engineering
drawings that become the legal zoning
documents for final working drawings,
simplifying the planning process. Once
plans are approved, the parcels of land
are tendered off. These plans specify uses,
building rights, number of units, parking
ratios, grading, heights, materials, set
backs and common spaces. This approach
is necessary to fast track implementation
since hundreds of units are built by
different developers with explicit
schedules that also include details of the
public infrastructure.
Modi’in was the first city in Israel
to have a sustainable water system in
place prior to construction. In order to
maintain the sustainable environment,
new internal road systems are now underdesigned to restrain traffic; bicycle routes
are integrated into the neighbourhoods
and water run-off is retained and used to
irrigate parks. An important victory for
Modi’in’s was construction of the new rail
spur that connects Modi’in in to Tel Aviv,
with new bus connections that encourage
public transport and improve access to
major work destinations.
The new city of Modi’in is not
necessarily a perfect solution, rather
a fascinating effort in creating a city
heading towards a population of 76,000
people in 12 years and with an enviable
potential to maintain a high quality urban
environment and a desirable lifestyle.
Arlene Segal, with added material by Miron
Cohen (Project Architect) Moshe Safdie Architects
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 11
The Waterfront of Puerto Madero
Guillermo Tella outlines an urban renewal strategy in Buenos Aires
↙ The restored old
warehouses in the western
sector with the city behind
→ Industrial heritage
combine with state of the art
building facing the dock
↘ Aerial view of Buenos
Aires showing the location
of Puerto Madero in relation
to the city
new-generation offices, requiring broad
and flexible areas. The urban regulations
defined morphological indicators block
by block, emphasising the criterion of
preserving its intrinsic characteristics.
Buenos Aires, the capital of the Argentine
Republic is situated on the estuary of
the River Plate. It is the central district
of a metropolitan conglomeration of
over 13 million inhabitants, which is
placed globally among the non-central
economic spaces. Since its foundation in
1580, its harbour has been at the heart
of the national economy, channelling the
export of raw materials and the import
of manufactured goods. Moreover, it has
left its imprint in the cultural identity and
defined the axis of growth in the region.
Nowadays, an attempt to use the harbour’s
space in such a way as to laterally expand
the central area, and capitalising on its
strong evocative power, has led to the
re-use of an industrial sector no longer
destined to port activities. It has also led
to a debate on the need for structural
planning with the capacity to decide on the
development of new centralities.
A port born old
Towards the end of the 19th century, the
Argentine government recognised the
necessity of providing Buenos Aires with
a new port capable of managing efficiently
the increasing commercial flow. Even
though there was no doubt as regards
new port technologies, the methods of
construction and mainly the new location
were debated. The resulting project,
Puerto Madero, consisted of four docks
12 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
organized linearly along the muddy banks
in front of the politico-administrative
centre of the country.
Once the port had been inaugurated,
strong disapproval of the project gained
momentum: ‘the port was born old’ was
one favourite comment. Therefore in
1908 a new port was authorised further
north and designed in a sequence of five
docks without locks, perpendicular to the
bank. Finished in 1925 and named Puerto
Nuevo, the new port quickly doubled the
functioning capacity of the old Puerto
Madero, which therefore fell into disuse
and decayed rapidly.
urban development
In 1989, after several decades of
abandonment, the national and local
governments agreed to promote the
urbanisation of the Puerto Madero area,
through the establishment of a joint-stock
company, the Corporación Antiguo Puerto
Madero, in which they were both equal
partners: the former contributed to the
project with the land; the latter, with the
urban regulations for its development.
Together they promoted a plan and laid
out the necessary infrastructure, as a way
to guide the development activities.
Taking as a model the experience of
London Docklands, and after an intense
debate, a master plan for the urbanisation
of the 170ha of the former port was
defined with the following five structural
The regeneration of the area and its
recovery from the current state of
The reinforcement of its character,
preserving its strong evocative power
The allocation of land for tertiary
activities which require a central
The establishment of new and effective
links between the city and its river
The contribution to rebalancing the
central area’s northern and southern
Motivations of the master plan
Consequently, the proposal sought
to regain the area for urban uses and
to capitalise on the demand for new
equipments, increasing the value of the
existing ones. From the ideas competition
in which more than a hundred teams
took part, one was chosen to produce the
master plan which defined the lines along
which the project is still evolving two
decades after.
Even though this is a derelict industrial
and port area, and is highly conditioned
by the low accessibility of its bridges, the
aspiration was to generate a prestige site
as a lateral expansion of the central area
and – without destabilising the present
urban fabric – absorb the demand for
The scope of the proposal
With a buildable area of 1.5 million square
metres, the proposal consisted of a narrow
urbanised strip along the four docks, and
behind it a big park formed by natural
green reserves. The connection between
the project and the city is made by wide
boulevards which coincide with the breaks
between the impounded docks. Between
these cross roads and facing the park,
high-rise buildings were disposed to frame
a civic axis.
The master plan included the following
elements: the system of avenues and the
docks offering two different networks; the
solids and voids of the docks and quays,
which do not respect the rhythm of the
traditional city; the clusters of high-rise
buildings on the intersections; and the
cranes, grain mills and elevators which are
reminders of the former port. Therefore
the plan included the restoration of the
old docks in the western sector of the
port, the conservation of those buildings
with heritage value, the construction of a
narrow strip of seven-storey residential
buildings in the eastern sector, a group
of towers and a big park in order to
re-establish the relation between the city
and its river.
However the result is an area
doubly fragmented: on the one hand
its connection to the city must be
done by getting across a set of railway
infrastructures which cuts across it; and
on the other hand, the western and eastern
sectors of the new urbanised area are
separated by the linear system of docks
which create conflicts at connecting
points. Although there have been early
attempts to solve these discontinuities, the
results have not been entirely satisfactory.
The management of the area
The Corporación Antiguo Puerto
Madero led the planning process and
the management of the area, promoting
the development of the master plan
and setting up the land subdivision,
the sale of plots and the execution of
the infrastructure works. Firstly, the
rehabilitation of the brick warehouses,
characteristic of the port’s identity and
part of its heritage, was undertaken in the
western sector of the docks.
This first regeneration process was
completed in a few years and resulted
in a desirable new business sector and
a gastronomic district. The success
of the development of the western
sector strengthened the launch of
the eastern sector, where parcels had
greater development possibilities, free
of historical constraints. This allowed
buildings of a more modern architecture
and the incorporation of state-of-the-art
technology; it also triggered a frantic real
estate speculation.
Effects of the renewal
Now after twenty years of development,
the renewal of Puerto Madero’s waterfront
is reaching its final stage with the filling
of the last plots. From this perspective,
it is possible to evaluate some distinctive
features of the operation. On the one side,
a new model of land management was
set up, which allowed the regeneration of
derelict land unsuitable for quality urban
land use. On the other hand, given its
elongated character, the project triggered
a transformation of the old central area
with a redistribution of economic, service
and tourism-related activities. Services
have been brought in, streets have been
opened, squares and parks have been built
and urban equipment provided.
However, the development of the
eastern sector resulted in a heterogeneous
kind of intervention with uneven
morphological results, a lack of character,
and governed by the strong pressures
of the real estate market. It must also
be noted that a strong process of
gentrification has started in the whole
area of influence, resulting in displaced
populations and the replacement of
traditional shops with new brands stores.
Finally from a global point of view, the
surplus generated by the operation
has been kept within the development,
without any transfer to other zones of the
city in need, such as the impoverished
southern neighbourhoods.
Guillermo Tella, Professor at the Institute for
the Conurbation, National University of General
Sarmiento, Argentina
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 13
Darryl Chen’s Urban Design DIY: a (cheeky? incisive?) critique of pattern book urban design.
14 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 15
Local Authorities and
Urban Design
↙ Castleford footbridge
Photograph David Millington
Photography Ltd
Marking its tenth anniversary last year,
Richard Simmons, the Chief Executive of
CABE said that the main responsibility for
delivering design lies at the local authority
level. Evidence of how much is still to do came
in their 2006 Housing Audit which revealed
only 18% of developments were considered
good or very good. That audit made specific
recommendations for local authorities to
develop design policies, employ in-house
or share urban design skills and to appoint
design champions.
This issue of Urban Design examines the
local authority role at a challenging time with
the whole public sector facing unprecedented
cutbacks. How is a case to be made for
16 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
investing in design resources at the local
level? Or for planning reforms that allow
design to come to the fore?
The government has now introduced a legal
duty for local authorities to achieve good
design as well as a requirement to monitor
design in their annual returns. Consultation
after the Killian Pretty Review seeks ways
of measuring quality in planning. But will
the new measures just supplement existing
performance targets when it might be better to
replace them altogether?
These changes may be followed by others.
A change of government in 2010 may provide
an impetus towards greater localism. The
Conservatives have said that CABE would
survive its Bonfire of the Quangos but regional
strategies would not, threatening more delay.
Could a new government reverse the trend of
modern history and find ways of simplifying
the planning system rather than adding to
its complexities, while still ensuring it is more
effective and gives a central role to urban
The articles in this issue provide
encouraging examples of best practice. Local
action on good design is possible and can
take a range of measures. The impressive
example of Fife Council shows that a real
change of culture within a local authority is
possible given time, training and leadership.
Essex has led the way for many years at the
county level with its versatile 25 strong design
But in many other local authorities, design
guidance, policies and teams are lacking
and this is exacerbated by delays within plan
making. In August 2009, five years after the
new Local Development Framework system
was introduced, fewer than 20% of planning
authorities had approved core strategies
leaving 80% without the potential of locally
adopted design policies. In England legal
challenge to regional strategies and national
politics compound this delay with uncertainty,
while in Wales and Scotland by contrast, a
more settled structure emerges of unitary
authorities within a regional framework
retaining the simpler format of a single local
Writing here CABE’s Paul Lavelle shows
how sharing design resources can offer one
effective option for local authorities. CABE
has published evidence that wider adoption
of nationally set standards in Building for
Life will also improve design. And the role of
Design Panels can be firmed up by its Design
Review principles.
I personally would advocate a more
robust pre-application process as this is
when so many critical decisions are taken
and opportunities can be lost to foster good
design principles. It is also the most positive
and beneficial stage to engage the public.
Would a new government revisit the merits
of Statements of Development Principles to
replace outline planning permissions?
As CABE indicate here, a more collaborative
place shaping model for planning is needed
at the local level. This will emphasise
creativity and public engagement, and offer
an informed partnership of the public and
private sector. Could this accompany a shift
away from current performance targets with
their narrow focus on speed of decisions?
CABE has done a lot of work to prove the
value of good design and the costs of bad
design. Similarly a shift to a less adversarial
system could save costly planning appeals if
improved quality and a wider perceived sense
of ownership brings greater support for new
development from Nimbys turned Imbys.
As Mark Pearson notes from his most
encouraging work in the south-west, turning
members from ‘critics’ to ‘creators’ of
development is one way of cultivating the
design leadership that is needed from both
politicians and professionals who are most
effective when they share together a common
design agenda.
Tim Hagyard, Development Control Team Manager (West),
East Herts Council
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 17
The Essex Design Guide
Peter Dawson and Barry Shaw explain how Essex
County Council continues to encourage good design
Design Guide, and the later Great Notley Garden
Village development saw the principles embodied in
the revised guide being widely used.
Despite the plethora of national design guidance
the guide still provides a starting point for local
planning briefs and urban design documents.
↑ Chelmsford public
realm strategy, diagram
highlighting the scope of the
Essex County Council (ECC) has supported a county
design team since the early 1970s, when the Design
Guide for Residential Areas was first produced. The
quality of the environment was under threat from
the 1960s affluence that saw a wave of new housing
being built across the county seemingly lacking
in any sense of local identity. The term ‘prairie
planning’ was coined by the Architectural Review
to characterise a certain sort of placelessness for
such housing developments that were dwarfed by
the roads that served them. The design team within
the County planning department developed a set of
residential design guidelines that drew attention
to massing and continuity of form, taking cues
from the historic forms of rural and small town
settlements that characterised the county. It was an
intervention that put the value of the public realm
above that of the individual house. Working closely
with the highway engineers the team challenged
the norm by which highway design standards gave
priority to the car. The resulting Essex Design
Guide, still in use in now its third iteration, got
into the detail of highway design, building design
and space standards bringing them together with
wider urban design issues in one document. It was
perhaps the last time that suburbia received such
attention before the weight of funding and planning
focus shifted to the inner city.
The Essex Design Guide celebrated its 35th year
in 2008. It has been updated over the years but at its
heart it’s still about more than architecture and is as
important now as when it was first published. The
team went on to lead the way nationally in securing
the County Council’s new town development at
South Woodham Ferrers as an exemplar of the Essex
18 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
The Essex Design Initiative
In 2005 the County Council’s Built Environment
Branch (BEB) launched the Essex Design Initiative
(EDI) as part of the process of ensuring the
relevance of design to local conditions and local
campaign to raise the quality of new housing
developments, supported by the production of the
Essex Design Guide Urban Place Supplement and
the EDI Learning Programme. It has been further
developed with the introduction of the Essex
Exemplar programme aimed at helping to deliver
best practice projects, supported by the Essex
Design Review Panel, which is tailored to district
needs and available at short notice, free to use, nonstatutory and informal. The first Exemplar Project,
Brentwood Renaissance, was announced in 2008.
With a national reputation as a centre of
excellence, the 25 strong ECC (BEB), is able to bring
to bear a strong set of skills to influence and support
local delivery. The group consists of seven urban
designers, three landscape architects, two public
art officers, an eight-strong historic buildings team
and a small team co-ordinating and managing the
EDI campaign. This represents the commitment of
the County Council to raising the standards of new
development and improving the quality of life for
residents, businesses and visitors to the county. The
ECC design champion is also the Cabinet Member
for heritage, culture and the arts, which includes
the urban design team. This high level support helps
to raise issues and debate around the importance of
a countywide design team.
The recognised benefit of a centrally
located urban design team is that it provides a
resource which has a wealth of local knowledge
and a better understanding of development
programmes throughout the county. The team has
a real understanding of how all those involved in
development in Essex can ensure that the unique
identity of Essex is enhanced and retained. It
supports and supplements local partners including
District and Borough Councils, delivery groups and
development organisations through the provision of
specialist support in the disciplines of urban design,
architecture, historic buildings, landscape design,
public art, specialist training and consultation. This
work is provided either through long-term service
level agreements or through short-term support on
special projects.
Within the County Council the team is positioned
to work in partnership with highways, regeneration,
planning, asset management and various other
County Council teams to add value, skills and
knowledge to a wide range of projects. During
2008/9 the team worked on 158 projects across all
of the district areas and with one unitary council in
Essex. The work with highways and transportation
is particularly important and provides us with a
great opportunity to influence design, and raise
quality and is leading to a closer collaboration on
standards of civic design. The urban design team
worked with highways on the revised Parking
Standards document and is currently working on
producing a countywide streetscape manual.
The current range of key projects indicates the
diversity of the work and the range of partners.
These partnerships have helped push the new
agendas and ideas in delivering quality, dynamic
spaces, streets and places. Some of these projects
are highlighted below.
Urban designers and landscape architects from the
BEB were approached to assist ECC Highways in
designing and delivering a high quality High Street
scheme for Brentwood. Recognising that such an
intervention could act as a catalyst for a broader
approach to regeneration the team produced
an initial vision document and helped establish
Brentwood Renaissance to engage the local business
community. Since then the BEB has been working
in partnership with Brentwood Borough Council
for over two years, providing design input into a
range of major projects including the design options
for the setting of the historic chapel ruins. The
team has also provided design advice for some key
planning applications and has started work on the
development of a town centre vision and strategy.
This aims to help bring together the relevant
people, policy, guidance and projects to drive
Brentwood town centre forward, re-establishing
it as a desirable place to live, shop and work.
The document draws on national, regional and
local policies to establish a set of principles and
long term aims for a town centre improvement
Harlow Station Vision: A catalyst for smarter
growth is a study document commissioned by
Harlow Renaissance to provide a realistic but
imaginative vision for a key area of Harlow; to
highlight the likely added value of comprehensive
development around the railway station and attract
investment to the area. The Urban Design team
study provides a basis for collaboration between
landowners and other stakeholders. It covers
6has. of land adjacent to Harlow Town station and
considers the implications for a further 4has. of
land north of the railway, in the valley of the River
Stort. Because of the station’s potentially more
central location if urban development expands
to the north, the study considers the wider
implications of possible development in the future.
Chelmsford public realm strategy
The Urban Design Team, in partnership with
ECC Highways and Transportation colleagues
and Chelmsford Borough Council, is working on
the provision of a coordinated vision to improve
the streets and open spaces in Chelmsford town
centre. The work will complement the ongoing
regeneration of the town centre and help bring
forward new residential development. Initial
vision documents including a strategic framework
covering the entire town centre and a more detailed
study for the Duke Street area, including key spaces
such as Tindal Square and a proposed new Station
Square, were produced in 2008-09.
The team has a real understanding
of how all those involved in
development can ensure that
the unique identity of Essex is
enhanced and retained
The documents highlight key issues and
illustrate a range of options to foster both
confidence and enthusiasm in the proposed
schemes. It is hoped they will underpin funding
bids and facilitate stakeholder engagement. The
documents will also inform the Town Centre Public
Realm Strategy and Streetscape Manual being
prepared by Chelmsford Borough Council.
The Urban Design Team was appointed by Tendring
District Council to produce a Large Buildings and
Landmarks Strategy for Clacton Town Centre.
↑ Clacton tall buildings
strategy, analysis and
↑ New pedestrian priority
road types developed in
partnership with Essex
County Council Highways
through the Essex Design
Initiative programme
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 19
bid evaluation and procurement processes, advised
on the appointment of architects and design teams,
managed liaison with the client design adviser,
organised design workshops for schools and BSF
colleagues, and provided urban design, historic
building and landscape consultation on statutory
planning applications. This important role will
continue as the BSF programme advances. Overall,
the team is not only seeking the highest possible
design quality to enable new school developments
to meet current needs, and adapt positively to
future requirements but also to ensure the schools
can contribute fully to their local community and
enhance the local built environment.
→ South Woodham Ferrers,
1976. Essex Design Guide
pilot scheme
↘ Crown Street, Brentwood.
Enhanced public realm
The work is informing and supporting the town
centre’s emerging Area Action Plan. The approach
of the study, covering large-mass and landmarks
in addition to tall buildings, reflects the specific
context of Clacton which is a relatively small seaside
town, with little distinction except a grand axial
plan. After a long period of decline, the centre is
now receiving a number of applications for large
buildings offering both regeneration opportunity,
but also potential blight. The emerging strategy
seeks to harness development pressures, suggesting
taller buildings in selective locations such as along
strategic corridors, co-located to the core area and
station, and avoiding areas constrained by heritage.
A network of building and public art landmarks is
proposed to address key vistas, corners, gateways
and spaces. Design guidance is particularly relevant
in improving design standards with regard to largemass buildings such as large retail units and multistorey car parks.
Barry Shaw is the Head
of Essex County Council’s
BEB and Director of the
Essex Design Initiative
Peter Dawson is a senior
urban designer
Schools for the future
Nationally, Building School for Future (BSF) is
the government’s investment programme for the
improvement of all secondary schools in England.
The aim is to develop schools for the 21st century
that will inspire both pupils and teachers. The BSF
programme aims to support a more diverse teaching
curriculum, to provide facilities for new ways of
learning and special educational needs, and to open
schools up to lifelong learning students and other
community uses.
The BSF programme will take an estimated 10-15
years to complete, subject to future public spending
decisions. It is being rolled out in England in a
series of 15 waves, with Essex recently joining the
fourth wave, initially focusing on secondary schools
in the south of the County as well as a number of
New Model Special Schools (NMSSs).
The BEB has provided consultation on outline
proposals, prepared design briefs, participated in
20 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Resources to deliver a
place-making agenda
Paul Lavelle argues for a holistic approach to urban
design by local authorities
Design Quality monitoring programme
In 2008 BEB commissioned a county-wide
assessment of design quality in recent housing
development, coordinated by the Urban Design
team. A sample of housing schemes across Essex
was assessed using a scoring system based on
CABE’s Building for Life methodology. The results
of the analysis include an informal assessment
of factors that were seen to have contributed to
successful schemes, ranging from working with
urban designers at a County or district level,
to employing experienced housing layout and
landscape consultants. The study provides a baseline
evaluation against which improvements in design
quality can be judged in subsequent design quality
assessments throughout Essex (see UD Issue 111).
The Lessons and the legacy
We continue to work in partnership with nine
district councils and one unitary council in Essex
through service level agreements to provide
specialist advice on historic buildings, conservation
and urban design. Notwithstanding the obvious
benefits of consistency that a county based urban
design team can offer, urban designers and other
design professionals work better as part of a team.
Many of the smaller districts and boroughs find
it difficult to attract candidates, who would be
working in relative isolation and whose resource
would be consumed within the day-to-day pressures
of development control.
The real legacy of the Essex Design Guide was
that it made aspects of design and development
comprehensible to professionals and
non-professionals alike, underpinning long term
support for a county team able to supplement local
resources and ensure a more positive and proactive
approach to project delivery and development
management. It also underpinned long term support
for urban design. Richard Simmons, chief executive
of CABE, has called the Essex Design Guide an icon
for our times. ‘It’s about leadership. It’s about civic
pride. It’s about local people setting out the terms
on which investors will be allowed to add to their
most precious assets: their sense of place, identity
and community. CABE has always argued for local
communities to insist on maintaining their local
distinctiveness. The Essex Design Guide is the
guarantee that Essex will remain Essex. That it will
be somewhere, not a nowhere place’.
‘It is clear that the future will be different from the
past… Local authorities will have a greater role in
place-shaping and economic development’
Homes and Communities Agency
While there is nothing new about local authorities
having a responsibility to secure better design,
the emergence of the language of place and the
prominence of localism suggests their remit is
shifting. They are now expected to lead in bringing
disparate built environment disciplines and public
service responsibilities together in a more holistic
approach to place. Whether what we are talking
about is labelled place-making, place-shaping or
strategic planning, it is clear that urban design
needs to be a core part of it. This should lead us
to examine whether our local authorities have
adequate capacity and support in urban design to
meet the challenge.
Few organisations will be in a position to be
able to invest heavily in design-related functions in
the near future. Alternative ways of strengthening
approaches to design could therefore be of great
benefit to many local authorities. CABE’s direct
experience through our enabling programme
gives us some insight to this issue. Improving
design outcomes for an organisation may well be a
question of design resources, skills, education and
training, but it is just as likely to be organisational
structure, governance and leadership that will
determine its effectiveness as a champion of good
design or positive shaper of place.
Internal support for good design
CABE can back up Tim Hagyard’s observations
(in UD110) that more resources for design and
more training are only part of the issue for local
authorities. Blaming poor quality outcomes on
design education alone misses the point. For every
enabling project and every client, we ask whether
people with strong design skills are employed.
We also question whether the remit of those
individuals is appropriate; whether ‘good design’ is
properly understood; and whether quality of place
and the need for a clear strategy for the future of
a place is properly championed by those in senior
An organisation’s success in achieving good
design outcomes often depends on how those
with design skills are valued and employed. There
are some exceptional people working within
local authorities and many are at the forefront of
thinking about how urban design and design-led
processes contribute to the place-making agenda:
this includes transport planners and highways
engineers, as well as staff specialising in urban
design, architecture and landscape architecture.
Many multi-skilled planners can provide an
understanding of how good design can be applied
to a range of issues across the scales, from tackling
climate change to improving public health. But
they will have little influence over a broader place
agenda without being given the opportunity
to engage in areas such as strategic planning,
procurement and setting investment priorities.
↑ Peace Gardens, Sheffield
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 21
↑ Selwyn Street, Oldham,
Building for Life Gold
Standard 2006
Photograph David Millington
Photography Ltd
Good design in local planning
The most obvious way in which an urban designled approach to place can be embedded within a
local authority’s policies and processes is through
spatial planning. Good planning and good placemaking are inseparable. If the statutory planning
framework provides a supportive environment for
good design, then the organisation is more likely to
make positive use of the design skills possessed by
staff and, ultimately, make good decisions.
In the past, the focus has been on using
design guidance to help do this, bridging the gap
between national guidance and local contexts and
aspirations. Many authorities have written excellent
documents based on a thorough understanding
of place. Good recent examples include Bolton,
Salford, East Staffordshire and Blackburn with
Darwen where character studies of the built and
natural environment have informed adopted
CABE has found through LDF workshops with
local authorities that a good approach to design
within planning is not about possessing a standalone design policy or a document about design.
The core strategy - in setting out clearly and
succinctly the profile of a place and a vision for its
future - is where the real opportunity exists to take
a design-led approach. It should permeate deep into
the culture of an organisation.
Following the workshops, CABE has recently
published Planning for places to share these
learnings. The core strategy has to communicate an
understanding of how a place is going to respond
to future demands and opportunities across a
variety of sectors and themes. Expectations about
design and quality of place cannot be considered
in isolation from their socio-economic and spatial
context. The visioning stage is where staff with
urban design expertise, trained in thinking about
these kinds of relationships can really help. A
strategy that has a strongly embedded design ethos
for spatial thinking and corporate working offers a
supportive context for future conversations about
place-making and investment in place.
22 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Design tools
A supportive strategic context for design still
requires the right tools to be used in defining,
promoting, recognising and rewarding good design.
One well-known approach led by CABE is design
review. This is a proven way for local authorities to
access expert advice to negotiate and deliver better
design outcomes. The recent affiliation of regional
design review panels to the national panel is a great
opportunity: a more coherent network and a more
extensive resource for accessing design expertise.
CABE, in partnership with the Home Builders
Federation, has been particularly active in recent
years promoting Building for Life, which aims to
raise the quality of urban design in new housing
schemes. Over the years, it has evolved from
an awards programme to a widely-recognised
benchmark and evaluation framework. CABE and
others are currently engaged in training a national
network so there will be at least one accredited
assessor working in every local planning authority
in the country.
Accredited assessors are required to have a
previous qualification in architecture, planning
or urban design, and are expected to work closely
with the local authority’s development management
directorates. The aim is for Building for Life to
provide a consistent framework for evaluating
design quality throughout the development
process. Assessments can be made during preplanning discussions, producing a Building for
Life report which can be considered later by the
planning committee. Assessors can then return to
built schemes to prepare a post-completion report
for the authority’s Annual Monitoring Return. In
this way, there is a feedback loop which means
planning decisions can be checked against delivery.
It can help to identify issues for resolution through
planning policy and guidance, frame negotiations
about design with future applicants, and define the
role of officers with the skills to understand and
apply Building for Life.
It is exactly this approach that has framed
North West Leicestershire Council’s enthusiastic
championing of Building for Life. CABE assisted
the council in a local audit of recent new-build
housing in 2008, helping officers make the case for
a new, positive approach to design. This led to the
authority’s own design initiative in October 2009,
using Building for Life to structure discussions
about good design. From the Chief executive
downwards, there is an understanding of the
framework and how it can be used to improve
processes and make better decisions. The council
is now working on embedding Building for Life
assessments formally through pre-planning and
planning processes and training staff.
Shared design resources
If policy, strategy, tools and processes help to
provide a supportive environment for design
thinking, there is still a need to have the people
in place to apply it and for those individuals to be
properly supported. Often this is simply a case of
being creative about the procurement of design
skills and looking beyond the usual outsourcing
model. The government, in the policy document
World Class Places, is now advocating sharing
resources and developing joint services in design
and planning:
‘The planning policy framework now exists to
enable local authorities and their partners to take
an active lead in shaping development in their
areas... [T]here is considerable scope for local
authorities to better deploy skills, by drawing on
external expertise and sharing their own expertise
with others, for instance by developing joint
A number of models of joint services already exist.
These range from simply sharing resources between
two authorities and developing joint approaches,
to more complex and wider-ranging systems of
collaboration and pooling of resources.
Such arrangements need to be based on strong
incentives for collaboration in order to overcome
entrenched institutional and political barriers. In
North Northamptonshire, a shared recognition
across four local authorities (Corby, East Northants,
Kettering and Wellingborough) of the scale of
the challenge in housing growth, and the need
to plan collectively in a complementary rather
than competitive way, led to the establishment of
a joint planning unit in 2004. The unit includes
staff with urban design skills and its resources can
be accessed by all four authorities. Perhaps more
importantly, they can also be applied to collective
endeavours at the sub-regional level. The level
of collaboration across boundaries in this area is
impressive and CABE continues to be involved in
making the strategic approach to planning and
design better still.
An organisation’s success in
achieving good design outcomes
often depends on how those
with design skills are valued and
Beyond the formalities of joint planning,
neighbouring authorities may also be able to justify
and promote joint working through common
challenges and constraints or through shared
social, economic and cultural imperatives. In
Devon, Teignbridge and South Hams came to
an arrangement so that an officer was recruited
and formally employed by one, but contracted
out as necessary to the other. The role spans
development control, consultation, strategic policy
work, enhancement projects and design policy
for a new community. Oldham and Rochdale are
boroughs that share many physical characteristics
and demographic and housing market issues. The
establishment of a joint team through the Housing
Market Renewal (HMR) programme gave them
the opportunity to employ a design and planning
manager as a shared resource and to develop joint
design guidance.
South Yorkshire’s four authorities (Barnsley,
Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) have a more
complex arrangement known as the Delivering
Design Quality (DDQ) initiative. This began as
joint work through the HMR programme and has
evolved into a far-reaching model of collaboration
that has made a fundamental difference to the
design resources and advice available. DDQ not only
seeks to support the partner authorities in building
design skills and capacity through training and
direct project support, but also offers advice and
guidance to developers and RSLs, conducts research
on behalf of its partners and runs a design awards
In Essex, the county council’s Design Guide
and more recent addition of the Urban Place
Supplement is supported by the infrastructure
of the Essex Design Initiative (see article p.18).
This provides resources to support the district
and borough authorities on design issues through
pooling funding from all the authorities involved.
The 30-strong team represents a resource and
source of expertise well beyond what any one
of the local authorities could have developed on
their own. One of the initial drivers for this level
of collaboration was the cultural imperative of
sustaining a shared built heritage and landscape
These examples show the potential of sharing
resources and how it can be effective. It has the
value of being able to offer a more consistent
and broader range of design advice to both
small and large authorities. It can mitigate the
difficulties many authorities have in recruiting
and retaining design staff, give access to a wider
pool of knowledge and skills, and make all the
difference between working in a small isolated
team and having access to a stimulating, discursive
and critical environment. Shared resources in
Essex and Hertfordshire at the county level are
often seen by the districts and boroughs as critical
friends, contributors or moderators. Importantly,
it is difficult to dismiss or override something that
is being considered by multiple organisations. A
shared resource can also help to enhance the status
of design advice and input.
Design should be central to conversations
around how places work across the scales, sectors
and built environment disciplines, and how we can
plan for towns and cities to be places of opportunity
within a regional, national and global context. As
part of this, new agendas around place can help to
overcome the stratified culture of local government
and foster genuine collaboration, and collective
endeavours. The examples mentioned above show it
can be done.
↑ Ideas captured
by cartoonist Joel
Cooper during a North
Northamptonshire Joint
Planning Unit workshop
© North Northamptonshire
Paul Lavelle, Enabling
advisor at CABE
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 23
Design review at the
local level
Anne Stevenson evaluates the role of Design Review
Achieving design quality in the planning process
has been a central focus of countless government
initiatives, publications and training events in
recent years. One model that is currently gaining
ground in the effort to improve the quality of new
developments is the design panel. Popularised
through CABE’s Design Review service, the panel
concept is now widely used at the regional, subregional and local level.
This article traces the development of the
design panel model and draws from a recent survey
to provide a snapshot of current practice. The
practicalities of running a design panel are then
considered in light of new best practice guidance
and a case study of Haringey Council’s Design
Panel. A discussion on further challenges and
opportunities for local design panels will conclude.
↑ Haringey panel’s feedback
led to a better design
solution for this building in a
conservation area
Current practice
Since its foundation in 1999, CABE has been
running a design review service for major
applications across the country. While an ODPM
review in 2005 found that a majority of people
using this service found it useful in securing good
design, it was recognised that the sheer volume of
applications could not be handled by CABE alone.
To this end, How to do design review: Creating
and running a successful panel was published by
CABE in 2006. This guidance set out the basics
of establishing and managing a design review
panel at a local or regional level, providing advice
on selecting members, facilitating reviews and
24 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
monitoring progress. It was intended for this
guidance to increase the use and availability of the
design review process across England.
As the number of local and regional panels in
operation grew over the following years, it was
recognised that the quality of the panels themselves
needed to be ensured. To this end, CABE, the RTPI,
RIBA and the Institute of Landscape Architecture
formed a steering group to monitor the use and
practices of the panels. To help inform the work of
the steering group, in 2008 CABE commissioned
and funded a national review of local and regional
design panels in order to assess their coverage,
location, type and impact. The study revealed
widespread popularity in the design review model,
identifying 81 panels in operation at both the local
and regional level, providing coverage for a total
of 341 Local Planning Authorities (LPA), or 88%
of all LPAs in England. A further breakdown of
these numbers suggests that there may be some
variation in the intensity of coverage. Of the total
81 panels identified, six were regional panels that
provide coverage for 270 LPAs and nine were subregional panels providing coverage for 74 LPAs.
The high number of LPAs covered by regional and
sub-regional panels raises questions over their
capacity to review any significant proportion of all
major applications coming through. The study also
identified three shared local panels responsible for
nine LPAs and 63 local design panels. It was found
that, when available, LPAs prefer to use local panels.
As only 18% of LPAs with access to design review
have their own panel, this suggests that provision at
the local level is lacking.
In addition, the study also conducted in depth
questionnaires with 56 LPAs about the details of
their panel’s management and operations. The
clearest finding of the survey is that there is a wide
variety of practices and procedures: while 83% of
regional panels had formalised aims and objectives,
only half of sub-regional and 63% of local panels
had clear terms of reference. There was also a
considerable difference in the resources allocated,
with local panels in particular ranging from an
annual budget of £50,000 down to less than £1000.
The size and scope of the panels’ work also varied
considerably. While most had between 10 and 20
members, some panels had as few as four while
others had up to 43 active participants. There was
also disparate practice in terms of the remuneration
of panel members, with 59% of panels being
completely voluntary and 41% providing either
payment or reimbursement of expenses to some or
all panel members. There was a notable range in the
level of activity of panels, with some reporting only
two schemes reviewed per year while others as high
as 120.
Panel composition also varied considerably.
While all had independent built environment
professionals, 58% also had representation
from LPA officers, 40% from elected members,
25% from outside agencies and 25% from
community groups. Within the built environment
membership, there was also considerable variation
in skills present. Architecture was represented
on all panels, but town planning, urban design,
landscape architecture, engineering and other built
environment skills were represented on less than
three quarters of the panels.
A number of commonalities were also identified
and they provide insight into practice in the delivery
of design review sessions. A majority of panels meet
at regular intervals, with on average seven members
attending each meeting. Almost all schemes are
presented by the applicants or applicant design
team, and observers are generally welcome to
attend. In roughly two thirds of cases, the panel’s
comments are made publicly available.
There were equally shared challenges in the
management of the panels. Monitoring of their
activities was found to be inconsistent, with only
49% conducting reviews of their work, and most
of these being internal audits conducted by the
panel manager themselves. Maintaining panel
independence was also highlighted as a major
challenge for managers, particularly in terms of
mediating between the panel’s comments and those
made by other council officers. Achieving a good
skills mix on the panel and encouraging referrals
from other departments of the council were also
highlighted as common difficulties.
New panel principles
Following the completion of this study, the
steering group worked to develop updated design
panel guidance, which was due to be published in
November 2009. It aims to address the issues raised
through the study and provide a solid framework for
the establishment of design review panels.
The most significant element of this new
guidance is the setting out of ten new design review
principles. Similar to the ten tips for success in
the original publication, these principles set out
more rigorously the founding objectives that
should guide the work of panels. An important
aspect of these principles is the clarification of
the relationship between the panel and the LPA
it serves. The principles of Independence and
Advisory make very clear distinctions between the
role of the design panel and the LPA, stating that
the review should be conducted apart from ‘the
scheme promoter and decision maker’ and that
the panel ‘does not make decisions’. Accessiblity
is also focused on ensuring the panel’s views are
presented using language that can be understood
and used by decision makers, stressing the
importance of consistently relaying panel feedback
to the LPA decision-makers in order that their
views can contribute to the decision process.
While not offering prescriptive details on how
to organise a panel, a number of the principles do
provide the foundation for best practice in panel
management. The Expert principle clearly sets
out the need to have panel members with strong
professional qualifications and an understanding
of how to conduct constructive reviews. The
Accountable principle further emphasises the
need to ensure panel managers are aware of,
and transparent about, any potential conflicts
of interest. Proportionate and Timely principles
emphasise the need to bring schemes of real
significance to the panel, as well as ensure the
review takes place at an early stage. This provides
helpful rules-of-thumb for panel managers in their
selection of schemes to be reviewed.
This practice helps ensure
objectivity in the assessment and
is successful in helping to avoid
personal aesthetic opinions from
dominating the conversation
The final three principles provide insight into
what the overarching goals and responsibilities
of panel members themselves are. The need
for balanced and well-reasoned assessments
is highlighted in the principle of Objective,
reminding reviewers that comments should not
be based on personal style but rather principles
of good design. Focussed on Outcomes for people
is another reminder about what the end result
of panel comments should be, namely tangible
improvements in the usability and benefits
of places for people. Focussed on Improving
Quality equally emphasises the need to provide
constructive feedback that leads to the delivery
of better places in all aspects: the building, urban
design, highways, landscape and town planning
issues. An essential aspect of this is providing
precise comments that can be translated by design
teams into reality.
Principles in practice
These new principles will have a number of
implications for existing panels. Taking an
example of an existing design panel in Haringey
Council, this section will explore how these new
principles will impact on its running.
↑ New design guidance
prepared by CABE and the
professional institutes
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 25
↑ The Haringey Borough
Council’s Design Review
Panel in action
Anne Stevenson,
freelance urban designer
Haringey’s Panel was set up in 2005 to
help supplement the capacity of the then new
and relatively small in-house design team.
Since its inception, it has seen on average
eight developments per year, ranging from
medium-sized schemes to major regeneration
projects of over 1000 units. Haringey’s current
practice already positively addresses a number
of the principles set forward in CABE’s new
guidance. The panel is made up of a range
of professions from the built environment,
including architecture, urban design, landscape
architecture, engineering, conservation and
town planning. Reviews take place only at the
pre-application stage, helping to ensure that
feedback can be incorporated at an early point
in the design’s development. The panel also uses
the Building for Life criteria as a framework for
discussion on residential schemes. This practice
helps ensure objectivity in the assessment and is
successful in helping to avoid personal aesthetic
opinions from dominating the conversation. The
panel’s comments also revolve around the users
of the proposed development and offer particular
criticisms to help improve the quality of the
While the panel has always maintained a
strictly advisory role, a number of community
groups have recently approached the Council to
request representation on the panel. The panel
managers felt this would be inappropriate as the
panel was intended to be a specifically designoriented advisory group and community input
could be more meaningfully captured through
other existing forums. The Independent and
Expert principles in CABE’s guidance lends
support to this position and helps reaffirm the
panel’s role in the decision making process.
26 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
The principles also help refocus panel
management on key points. Accessibility is a
reminder of the importance of relating feedback
to the design officer promptly and consistently in
order that comments can be incorporated into the
planning process. Accountability calls for more
consistent reporting on panel activities to the
wider council management and elected members,
which will help raise awareness of the panel’s role
and impact. Monitoring allows panel members the
opportunity to see the influence of their work and
the positive role their feedback can have. This is
particularly helpful in maintaining the motivation
of these voluntary members.
The new guidance does leave some gaps that
may require further thinking by local panels. The
Proportionate principle does not address the
question of what role a local panel should play in
major applications that are already being reviewed
by CABE or other sub-regional reviews. It is felt
by some that it is a waste of the panel’s expertise
to have them doubling up on schemes already
receiving detailed design review and that greater
impact could be made by the panel if more modest
schemes were focused on.
Also, although this has yet to be a significant
problem, it is unclear what should be done if there
is conflict from the different levels of review.
Although final judgement always rests with the
development control case officer, contradictory
advice may be seen to undermine the objectivity
and value of the review process and may be another
reason to avoid duplication.
A more specific challenge that has been faced
in recent months is how to maintain regular
meetings as the frequency of major applications
has slowed down as a result of the recession. One
approach Haringey has taken to tackle this problem
is to involve the panel in more strategic planning
issues such as the Core Strategy and emerging
Sustainable Design & Construction guidance. There
has also been discussion of using their expertise in
developing site briefs and area master plans, which
would help ensure design values are incorporated in
Council strategies from the start.
While the benefits of a design panel can be
considerable, both CABE’s research and Haringey’s
experience show that a number of fundamental
aspects must be in place in order for the panel to
work effectively. A skilled and diverse panel with
a clear mandate and rules of operation are crucial
aspects in ensuring quality outcomes from the
design review process. Integration with the wider
planning process is also essential. Maintaining
a strong connection with development control
can help ensure the right schemes are referred
to the panel, and that their comments result in
tangible design improvements and help inform the
decision-making process. The new guidance from
CABE, the RTPI, RIBA and the Landscape Institute
provide valuable advice on these issues, helping to
strengthen existing practice and contribute to the
ongoing success of existing and future panels.
Fife Council Urban
Design Training
Marilyn Higgins and Leslie Forsyth wonder what
difference training makes to the quality of design
In 2006 Fife Council was awarded a
commendation in the Scottish Awards for
Quality in Planning for its Fife Urban Design
Action Plan. The judges were impressed with
the 19 service improvements demonstrating
strong commitment to raising design quality,
highlighting in particular the proposed officer and
elected member training.
This article charts the development of
design awareness in policy and development
management and reflects on the effects that
officer and member training has had on practice.
The evaluation is based on written questionnaires
distributed at the conclusion of each training
session as well as interviews with officers and
members between one and three years later.
Fife is a historic unitary coastal authority in the
central belt of Scotland, containing both urban
and rural areas and diverse landscapes. It has a
growing population of 362,000 within 500 sq.
miles and typically receives about 4,000 planning
applications a year. It is divided into three areas in
terms of service provision: St. Andrews and East
Fife, Kirkcaldy and mid Fife and Dunfermline and
West Fife.
Scotland has been promoting urban design
in a broadly similar way as elsewhere in the UK.
Fife has been one of the more proactive local
authorities in terms of initiatives to raise design
quality. These aspirations were motivated by the
Scottish Government’s Designing Places policy
promoting the design agenda and a realisation
that good quality development on the ground
is what planning should be about, but was not
being achieved often enough. A specialist officer
in urban design was appointed in 2006 to
co-ordinate Council action. Today there is a team
of three. The Urban Design Action Plan referred
to in the introduction gave effect to the Council’s
Urban Design Guide, produced in 2005. This is
supplementary planning guidance and therefore
a material consideration when determining
development applications. The chair and vicechair of the planning committee have been
nominated as Design Champions, another outcome
from the Action Plan.
Training Programme
Urban Design Training (Marilyn Higgins and Leslie
Forsyth) was approached in 2006 to prepare a
bespoke programme of training for officers and
members of the Council. Since then there have
been two courses of training for both officers and
members, with a third course for officers about
to start. The general aim of the officers’ training
is to improve knowledge and understanding of
urban design principles and to develop skills in
design briefing. The authors refined a programme
similar to what they had successfully delivered
to authorities elsewhere in Scotland. It was
delivered in a series consisting of six full days,
approximately one every two weeks. Twelve officers
attended the first course and thirteen the second.
The participants were from planning policy,
development management, transportation and
community services (parks).
It was explicit from the start that the course
would be highly interactive and this drove the
timing and structure. There was a clear expectation
that participants would need to be involved in
considerable work, both during the sessions and
in between. The training days were divided into
two main themes, one dealing with seminars on a
range of subjects relevant to urban design, such as
permeability, use of public space and space syntax.
One officer had to prepare and lead each seminar
using illustrated examples from Fife. The second
session dealt with design briefing for selected local
sites, creating a situation in which each participant
both drafted and responded to a design brief. In
addition, there were talks each week on specific and
requested subjects by the trainers, and participants
were invited to bring current planning applications
for discussion.
Elected members’ training took place in blocks of
four hours at different times of the day in different
locations to encourage attendance. The programme
included reflection on places in Fife based on
participants’ own experience, a review of central
government and Fife initiatives illustrating key
↑ The diverse scale,
character and significance
of Fife’s settlements
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 27
urban design principles, an exercise applying these
principles in decisions about planning applications
and a discussion about the role of members in
relation to other participants in the planning
There was a clear expectation
that participants would need to be
involved in considerable work, both
during the sessions and in between
↑↑ Cuparmuir site entrance,
scheme originally rejected
↑ Balcomie Green, Crail,
corner emphasis
The training is seen as an initial grounding in
urban design, from which a continuing programme
is being developed by the Council.A new workshop
about contemporary design versus a historicist
approach aimed at both officers and members is
currently being planned. Members are also being
briefed about a newly developed Fife Sustainability
Checklist and recent urban design trips(Poundbury,
Upton, Freiburg, Greenwich Millennium Village)
undertaken as part of the Council’s Designing
Sustainable Communities initiative.
28 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Feedback at the end of the training courses was very
positive. After the training had been completed,
officers formed a group to support each other in
promoting learning from the course in their daily
work. Officers contacted recently unanimously
confirm that the training has resulted in greater
motivation and job satisfaction.
Three years after the first training, participants
from the policy team report that greater
understanding about the principles of built form
and open space has strengthened their ability to
convey constructive information to colleagues,
developers and other professions. They highlight
the importance of communication and working
together; the recognition of the importance
of design by everyone involved in the process,
including managers; and the production of wellarticulated design policy, guidance and briefs to
justify decisions. A result is increased confidence
and assertiveness in challenging proposals
and defending professional opinions on design
matters. The training directly spawned activity
resulting in improved policy and increased
guidance. The Council commissioned Gillespies
LLP to produce the Fife Masterplans Handbook
to guide major settlement expansion, which won
the Commendation for Development Management
in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning
2007. The latest drafts of local plans include
diagrammatic strategic development frameworks
for major land allocations that are in line with urban
design principles discussed as part of the training.
Officers acknowledge that a culture change has
begun, including amongst some councillors. One
policy officer moved from Fife to Moray Council in
Scotland and was instrumental in initiating similar
training there.
Development management officers report that
the practical nature of the training has meant that
they are able to apply the principles in their daily
work, insisting, for example, that in housing layouts
streets join up, open space is well defined and
overlooked, front doors face the street, a mixture of
house types is included and cars are not allowed to
dominate. A significant shift occurred after the first
training course, when, for the first time, a housing
development was refused on design grounds in
Cuparmuir, based on the new Design Guide. The
decision was appealed by the developer but the
Council won the public inquiry. This success set a
precedent in that it gave other officers increased
confidence to ensure that the principles in the
guidance are being adhered to, resulting in a
number of cases of improved applications. Officers
had considerable input in terms of urban design in a
new housing development at Balcomie Green, Crail.
Members were also positive about the training
immediately afterwards. The chair of the planning
committee notices that basic urban design messages
about a sense of place are beginning to take root,
becoming more ingrained in daily discussions. He
cites the example of the urban design framework in
the new plan for St. Andrews and East Fife, which
aims to promote connectivity, amongst other design
principles, and believes that guidance is essential
early in the process for large capital projects. The
vice-chair of the planning committee states that
the training helped councillors think about how
proposals conform to urban design principles, not
just how many people objected. Both believe that
the role of the three permanent specialist urban
design officers has been important in raising
the profile and co-ordinating action. However,
they acknowledge that councillors are learning
about many things all at once and more needs to
be done to engage members. One suggests that
the slowdown in the economy is a good time to
upgrade skills and improve guidance. The chair
and vice-chair of the planning committee are
named as the Council’s Design Champions. Both
agree that this role has remained underdeveloped,
with the chair asserting that promoting good
quality urban design is integral to his position in
any case.
The example of Fife Council illustrates an authority
which has taken the urban design agenda very
seriously. It has created a set of documents
providing excellent information for developers
which have been recognised nationally, established
positions to lead urban design initiatives,
promoted a programme of learning for officers
and members and is beginning to see evidence that
these measures are leading to improvements in the
quality of development on the ground. The role of
specialist officers in promoting urban design and
co-ordinating action across the whole authority
has been important, especially where officers are
scattered across geographical areas.
Although it is still early in terms of effects
on the ground, the examples mentioned above
illustrate that there is a growing confidence to
ensure that development proposals conform to
basic urban design principles, for example, clearly
distinguishing public and private space, joining up
streets and having building entrances facing onto
the street.
It becomes clear from the experience of Fife,
and this is backed up by the trainers’ experience
in five other local authorities in Scotland, that
there are several critical recommendations when a
local authority embarks on a training programme,
if real change is to be effected in the long term.
First, it is essential that continued training takes
place over a sufficiently long period to be able to
reach a large proportion of people, if not everyone,
whose job is involved with urban design, including
officers who have newly joined the Council.
Initial training should be followed up with other
topics and reflection on what has been achieved,
deepening the learning. Secondly, it also needs to
be of sufficient length and depth to be effective
in changing mindsets and instilling confidence,
challenging assumptions and leading to action.
To this end, the importance of interactive as
opposed to passive learning cannot be overstated.
Finally, the value of having all of those involved
in both policy and management of development
undergoing this training ensures that there is
a common thread in the authority’s approach.
One aspect of training groups from different
parts of the planning department and other
departments together which emerges regularly
is the improvement in the level of dialogue and
communication within the organisation, resulting
in positive collaborative outcomes.
← Balcomie Green designed
with significant input from
However, the ultimate value of the whole exercise
is what is happening on the ground and it is that
which will eventually define the real success or
failure of the training. Urban design is complex and
culture change takes a long time. There is evidence
that the culture has started to change in Fife but
much remains to be done, with officers, members
and local communities. For example, transportation
officers took part in the urban design training
There is a growing confidence to
ensure that development proposals
conform to basic urban design
and the Council has started to revise policies but
their translation into practice will define their
worth. There is an urgent need now to put new
design policies and guidance into practice so that
more good examples are produced on the ground.
The Fife case shows that a firm foundation of
training initiatives can instil confidence, facilitate
dialogue and promote change. But it is not in itself
a guarantee of significant change: this depends on
strong and sustained leadership and commitment
from both members and officers if quality is to be
consistently raised in the long term.
Marilyn Higgins, Senior
Lecturer, School of the Built
Environment, Heriot-Watt
University and Leslie Forsyth,
Coordinator of the
Postgraduate Programmes
in Urban Design and Head of
the School of Architecture,
Edinburgh College of Art
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 29
Design control in
Welsh authorities
Anna Lermon reports on research
undertaken in Wales
sustainability and movement), or being guided to
consider design at all stages of the planning process
and in different environments, in different types
of development, in detailed matters (biodiversity,
public realm, public art, signs and advertisements)
and by local authorities in their design policy and
advice and development management. The 2009
TAN 12 also explains how development should be
climate responsive.
As in England, national policy feeds into the
development plan, which in Wales will be the
Local Development Plan (LDP). The LDP will be
one document containing area-wide, strategic and
detailed policies for each authority. It is a more
straightforward approach than the English Local
Development Framework with its multiple layers of
Wales differs from England in other ways. Its
22 local authorities are all unitary authorities,
and there are three National Park authorities. The
larger urban areas are in South East Wales (Cardiff,
Newport, Swansea) and North East (Wrexham),
with the remaining areas being predominantly
↑ Drift Park, Rhyl seen from
the sky tower
© Denbighshire County
Much has been written about design control in
England but little about Wales. While elements of
planning remain similar, the two planning systems
are gradually changing at different paces and in
different directions.
A clear national framework for design in Wales
is set out in the Welsh Assembly Government’s
Planning Policy Wales (PPW (2002)) including
revisions such as the Ministerial Interim Planning
Policy Statement (MIPPS) 01/2008 on Planning for
Good Design, and Technical Advice Note 12: Design
(TAN 12) (2009). In contrast to Planning Policy
Statement 1 Delivering Sustainable Development
(PPS1) TAN 12 (2009) describes in detail, design and
how it should be considered and implemented. This
is through detailing the elements of design (access,
character, community safety, environmental
30 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
In 2005 the Design Commission for Wales (DCFW)
in partnership with the Economic and Social
Research Council (ESRC) and Cardiff University
School of City and Regional Planning sponsored
a PhD to research the design control processes of
Welsh local planning authorities. The result was
a comprehensive review of the 22 local planning
authorities (LPAs) and three national park
authorities. Interviews were conducted with all
25 Chief Planning Officers, 24 chairs of planning
committees and at least one officer (selected for
their design literacy) per authority. The data for this
article arises from this research, as do the initial
findings from the next stage of the PhD research
which looks more closely at the involvement of
elected members in the design control process in
two Welsh LPAs.
The research revealed that PPW and TAN 12
(2002) resulted in improved design control in Wales
through the broadened definition and objectives
of design and the attaching of equal importance
to urban design, sustainability and resource
efficiency. The publications increased public and
LPA awareness of design and provided confidence
for good design to be pursued through the planning
process. However the research also identified that
in 2006/7 despite the majority of interviewees
considering themselves to be design literate, Welsh
LPAs were not implementing all aspects of design:
61 per cent of interviewed officers considered
their authority had never refused an application on
grounds of poor urban design quality; 83 per cent of
LPAs had never refused an application on grounds
of sustainability; and only 36 per cent of LPAs were
able to say outright that costs following an appeal
did not deter them from refusing an application
solely on design grounds.
Explanations were sought for these statistics,
and significant obstacles were found which
prevented the implementation of effective design
control in Wales. These will be considered in more
detail below, and compared, where possible, to the
results of a survey conducted by CABE in 2003 of
English LPAs.
Design policy and guidance
In 2007 the status and coverage of design policy
and guidance varied greatly across Wales. Only 10
LPAs had an adopted Unitary Development Plan
(UDP). Five other LPAs were working to complete
them while 20 of the 25 LPAs had begun to work
towards the Local Development Plan(LDP). Design
supplementary planning guidance (SPG) coverage
also varied greatly, from LPAs with SPG that
included sustainable construction (for example
Guidance for Sustainable Design in the National
Parks of Wales) to those with no SPG. This was
despite the Planning Officers Society Wales (POSW)
having published a Residential Design Guide and
Householder Design Guide to assist authorities
struggling to produce design guidance. Planning
briefs were also found to be an overlooked valuable
resource with 44 per cent of Welsh LPAs having
never or seldom used them.
Design skills
The picture is mixed for design skills. As would be
hoped for LPAs, the skills of a Building Conservation
Officer and Landscape Officer are prevalent in
Welsh authorities. Disappointingly, particularly
when compared with the situation in England,
applications in the majority of Welsh authorities
are not assessed by an urban designer, registered
architect or sustainable design and construction
specialist. Furthermore in the majority of LPAs any
specialists are located outside the development
control team, where their primary concern may not
be for development control.
In 2007 no Welsh LPA operated a local authority
design panel to review current applications. DCFW
operates a national design review service which
reviews circa 70 schemes a year, but in 2007 12 per
cent of Welsh authorities had still not utilised the
service. In comparison CABE found in 2003 that
26 per cent of English LPAs ran panels modelled on
the CABE design review service. However this could
be because they are partially resourced to do so in
partnership with CABE and RDAs.
Development control
An investigation of development control functions
in all 25 Welsh LPAs found that despite greatly
varying structures of development control teams
in Welsh LPAs, the strengths and weaknesses
cited were similar. Positively 76 per cent of Welsh
LPAs offered a pre-application discussion service,
although staffing and workload levels were found
to impact on this. However the pre-application
service occurred even though the Welsh Assembly
Government has not linked the Planning Delivery
Grant (PDG) to the eight week determination target
for planning applications. Despite this, the Wales
Audit Office still uses this target in their reviews
and many LPAs felt pressured by the rule. They
considered its influence on design control to be
negative, leading either to immediate refusal, or
to approval of a mediocre application, rather than
allowing the investment of time to improve the
proposal. While not all interviewees felt pressured
by the eight week target, concern was expressed
that the value-added to proposals was not a
61 per cent of interviewed officers
considered their authority had
never refused an application on
grounds of poor urban design
For interviewees the effect of targets for speed
of decision making on the quality of design control
practice was compounded by other obstacles such
as resources and workload. Across many Welsh
authorities in 2007 there were staff retention and
recruitment problems. Authorities struggled to find
adequately qualified staff and/or were experiencing
competition for staff from neighbouring authorities
resulting in a high turnover. If design control was to
be improved officers considered there to be a need
for design training for members and officers as
well as additional staff. Lack of staff, frequent staff
changes or under-qualified staff will inevitably have
an impact on working conditions in LPAs and affect
the value officers can add to applications. With the
current recession the situation may have changed,
especially the concern officers and Chief Planning
Officers had in 2007 for development control
officers workload levels. In two separate LPAs the
interviewees highlighted that the DCLG target of
150 applications per officer per annum was being
markedly exceeded.
Development control in Welsh LPAs was found
to be under-resourced, under skilled and under
pressure (from application processing targets and
workloads) all of which inevitably affected morale
and culture.
↑ Galeri Caernarfon,is an
example of integrated
community regeneration in
Photograph Galeri
Caernarfon Cyf
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 31
Wales without this form of additional guardianship
or support. Conservation Area groups, a significant
actor in the design process, are also few and far
between. Whether this is because the LPA cannot
resource them or because of lack of interest,
it is a concern that even these areas of special
architectural or historical interest do not arouse
public interest and protection.
Further research into member involvement in
design control is in progress, and while it was found
that design training for members is not widespread,
finding the time for training or championing may
be difficult for members when potentially already
juggling a full time job, constituents concerns etc.
Elected members and public
Perhaps in contrast to common belief, members
were not found to constrain design control, but
neither were they leading Welsh LPAs in developing
higher design standards. Good communication
between chairs and officers is essential for the
creation of a good working relationship. However
46 per cent of chairs of planning committee in
Wales said their main contact with officers was at
the monthly pre-planning committee meeting for
the chair, vice-chair and Chief Planning officer.
If design control was to be improved
officers considered there to be
a need for design training for
members and officers as well as
additional staff
↑ The renovated Brewery
Quarter, Cardiff
Photograph Anna Lermon
Encouragingly all Welsh authorities were found
to provide induction training in planning for their
planning committee members, but 40 per cent of
Welsh LPAs had never provided their members with
design training, a statistic on a par with England
in 2003. There were no Welsh LPA Member Design
Champions in 2006/7 and there was, and continues
to be, no national encouragement in Wales for them.
In comparison 43 per cent of English LPAs in 2003
had a senior member or officer design champion
which was double the number that existed in 2001
many of whom had then been more junior officers.
When interviewees were asked who was
most influential in the pursuit of design quality,
the senior officers, planning policy officers,
development control officers and officers in the
Conservation and Design section were rated highly,
in contrast to the general public and local amenity
groups. Relatively few groups were found to be
active in the design control process within each
LPA in Wales. There are civic groups in a number of
LPAs, but not all comment regularly on applications
and a large number of these public groups focus
only on specific geographical areas, leaving areas of
32 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Summary of design control in Welsh
Local Planning Authorities in 2006/7
Since the empirical data was collected in 2007 a
number of significant changes have taken place.
These include the 2009 local government elections
in Wales, an updated TAN 12 Design (2009), Design
Bulletin 32 replaced by Manual for Streets, the
requirement for Access Statements since 2008, and
Design and Access Statements from 1 June 2009,
the inevitable changes in personnel in Welsh LPAs,
the appointment of Jane Davidson AM as the Welsh
Assembly Government Minister for Environment,
Sustainability and Housing, the economic recession
and a newly announced review of the planning
application process. The end of 2009 is also likely
to bring the publication of a revised Planning Policy
While the updated policy and guidance is a
positive step the research has revealed the varied
way national policy is rolled out across Wales. It is
clear that PPW and TAN 12 resulted in improved
design control in Wales. They have widened the
definition of design, explained the objectives and
principles of good design, integrated sustainability
into design, increased design awareness within
LPAs and raised the profile of design, providing
policy backing and thereby increasing confidence in
design matters.
The research identified a number of other strengths
of design control in Wales:
In 88 per cent of Welsh LPAs, applications could
be viewed by building conservation specialists
and in 76 per cent by landscape architects.
Almost half of Welsh LPAs have access to
Designing out Crime specialists. (While this
is a positive finding, these specialists do not
necessarily have the skills to advise on all areas of
Some LPAs had a good range of up to date SPG
that included coverage of sustainable design;
for example the three National Parks worked
together to write Guidance for Sustainable
Design in the National Parks of Wales adopted in
All Welsh LPAs provide induction training
in planning for their planning committee
members. Whether this training is taken up by
members before sitting on planning committee
is unknown, and the design content is likely to be
However significant obstacles were identified that
were preventing the implementation of effective
design control:
Only ten LPAs had an adopted Unitary
Development Plan
Some LPAs had no SPG
Few LPAs applications were reviewed by in house
urban designers, architects, or sustainable design
and construction specialists
No Welsh LPA operated a design panel to review
current applications
The development control application
determination time of eight weeks negatively
influenced design control
Authorities had staff retention and recruitment
There was insufficient design training for elected
members and for officers
Few community groups were identified as being
active in the design control process
Conservation Area groups in Wales are few and
far between. Therefore large areas of Wales are
without this form of additional guardianship.
To improve the design control process in Welsh
LPAs, close attention and resources need to be
focused on the following key recommendations:
All LPAs to have up to date policy frameworks
that developments meet local requirements for
design quality. Following this, SPG to be adopted,
including design briefs for major or contentious
sites, to provide quality and consistency of advice
to applicants and aid pre-application discussion.
The POSW model design guides on residential
and householder development offer an effective
solution or starting point on this matter
The recruitment of design skills, for example
an urban designer or planner trained in urban
design to the DC team in every Welsh LPA. This
will enable each LPA to upgrade all aspects of its
design control practice
LPAs to provide pre-application advice
• AAllpplication
registration requirements in all LPAs
• to be strengthened
to ensure applications are
complete and of sufficient quality in relation to
policy and guidance
Fresh and alternative methods of performance
assessment that consider the added value to
design or contribution to the quality of place,
rather than speed of processing applications
should be developed
A stronger focus on member and officer
relations. For example shared design training
should be implemented to allow members and
officers to work together on design skills and
awareness, helping to develop understanding
and confidence in each other’s perspectives and
abilities. Closer working relationships will also
help to fulfil the requirements of monitoring and
indicators for LDPs
Stronger links between Building Control and
Planning departments. Placing Building Control
and Planning under the same directorate would
allow the departments greater opportunity for
collaboration, especially on monitoring and
indicators, and the increasingly important
sustainable construction agenda
Increase public awareness and facilitate greater
engagement via design competitions, urban
forums and best practice networks, design
awards, guidance, advice and events.
↑ The Senedd, Cardiff Bay
designed by Richard Rogers
Photograph Anna Lermon
Anna Lermon,
PhD Researcher, Cardiff
University School of City and
Regional Planning
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 33
Cultivating Design
Mark Pearson explains the development of design
support for local authorities in the South West
The idea that all local authorities in England should
appoint an elected member design champion stems
from the early years of CABE. A separate leaflet
explained the role in more detail, but the initiative
was introduced in The Councillor’s Guide to Urban
Design alongside other essential information for
elected members. With the current rise of localism
in politics and most parties purporting to in some
way strengthen the role of local authorities and
community leadership following the next general
election, an updated version of this guidance
would be timely. The author certainly found it to
be a most useful introductory text when he was
acting as the Design Action Manager for CABE in
Devon and Cornwall from June 2004 to May 2006.
The programme of work during those two years
included a great deal of informal ‘relationship
building’ alongside more conventional skills
development and training with the authorities in
the two counties. It probably represents the most
concerted effort yet to be undertaken to recruit
design champions at that geographical scale. Some
of the experiences encountered then have informed
a current region-wide initiative which we have
entitled Design Leadership. In this short article
I briefly reflect on some of those experiences of
recruiting and working with Design Champions and
go on to describe how Design Leadership has been
conceived to support them, attempting to fortify
their role and extending their influence amongst
↑ Southgate, Totnes
Photograph Harrison Sutton
Early Support for Design Champions
It would be fair to say that many within councils
(elected members and officers) and many more
34 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
outside local authorities are more than a little
suspicious of the idea that a lay local politician
could act effectively as a champion for good design.
Surely you need to know a good deal about design in
order to champion it? For members, at a time when
resistance to the levels of development suggested
in draft regional spatial strategies is high, there
persists a concern amongst prospective candidates
that Design Champion might approximate in the
minds of the electorate to Development Champion.
In over-coming these apprehensions in the
Design Action programme, a rather bald tactic was
employed in the nature of the offer – ‘We’ll provide a
free training event if you appoint a design champion
to host the occasion’. This didn’t always work, but
in all cases a discussion about the advantages of
working with a design champion was at least agreed
as the closing item of the session. Another essential
ingredient in gaining interest was making part
of the training bespoke – looking directly at the
particular issues regarding design practice in their
authority, usually by comparing and contrasting
two recently completed housing developments.
This helped to bring the notion of design quality
out of the abstract realm into tangible issues that
they could clearly appreciate in the context of their
own community. We used the Building for Life
framework, then in its infancy, as an accessible
way to structure the informal analysis. This was
undertaken directly by elected members but with
officers in support. At the end of such workshops,
it began to become clear to all that the role of the
champion was not to pretend to be the fount of
all knowledge or, worse still, opinion on design
matters, but merely to act as a political focus for a
wider corporate initiative to pursue good design
and sustainability (and since the 2008 Act, this has
become a duty for local authorities). Also, that the
sort of design that was being discussed, was not
of a high-level professional debate, but that which
affected the everyday quality of life for residents
and constituents and certainly, a legitimate
In the best events we were able to identify a live
site, and added brief design exercise that asked the
councillors to draw upon the critical framework
described in the Councillors Guide – taken, in
turn, from By Design - explaining how Aspects of
Development Form can be set against Objectives of
Urban Design. Whilst we pointed out that we were
not expecting to transform the participants into
instant urban designers and architects, it was clear
that the experience of being creator rather than
critic was a new, enjoyable and perception-changing
experience for many.
Once champions were up and running, the
Design Action programme provided other
collective events at which design champions
from all authorities could network and expand
their knowledge, sharing learning with external
practitioners and other public sector officers. The
two Architecture Centres in the region now lead
on the support for design champions (and historic
environment champions) and have been providing
joint workshops on Building in Context jointly
funded by CABE and English Heritage.
The publication of World Class Places highlights
the need to strengthen quality of place skills,
knowledge and capacity (Strategic Objective 7).
The actions identified are important, yet there’s
still a long way to go in most authorities to get the
appropriate balance between members’ lay interest
in design and the objective expertise provided by
officers. Aside from absolute levels of passion, skill
and knowledge in either group, our experience
thus far is that it is the degree to which they pursue
a shared agenda that is by far the most important
ingredient in successful place-making. There is a
pressing need to re-state the value of all this, given
the growing tendency for the term ‘place-making’
to be used to refer to the local alignment of funding
streams rather than any attributes of the physical
environment, even though we are aware that the
two are related.
Perhaps foremost amongst the design champions
active during the period of the Design Action
Programme was Cllr Tudor Evans, then leader of
Plymouth City Council. Tudor was responsible for
acting on the Vision for the city drafted by David
Mackay of MBM architects working in collaboration
with AZ Urban Studio. The Vision successfully
informed the adopted Core Strategy (leading to
an award from the RTPI) and Mackay then became
the inaugural chair of the Plymouth Design Panel.
Tudor authorised some key early investment in the
public realm in order to secure an essential link in
the centre of the city and was an ardent supporter of
the work of the design panel.
Another prominent champion was Cllr John
Wilshire from North Devon District Council.
John requested a bespoke workshop that tested
a development brief for a significant site in
Barnstaple. This helped to rehearse some of the
key considerations for members and officers ahead
of an imminent proposal from a developer. The
↑ Principles of Design
Creating Excellence/ CABE
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 35
site and the design exercise provided an excellent
vehicle with which to explore more general
principles of urban design and place-making.
↑ Design Action Workshop,
South Hams
Totnes Southern Area – a Project
The recently completed housing developments
in the Southern Area of Totnes, Devon were
beneficiaries of the original Design Action
Programme. Councillor Anne Ward initially
contacted the manager concerned to secure some
form of training for her council colleagues. The
workshop, arranged in collaboration with Steve
Munday and other officers, ended with a design
exercise looking at the fundamental moves that
one might make in relation to the three sites.
The workshop was supported by housing expert
Alex Ely and the review of the design exercise was
undertaken with architects from Harrison Sutton
Partnership. That practice had just been appointed
by South Hams to work up detailed designs for
the sites. Unusually, the council was determined
to establish a fully worked-up scheme which met
with local residents concerns before attracting a
development partner. Architects Stuart Kittlety
and Jenny Clayton listened to the councillors
aspirations for the sites as they presented colourful
clay models – intentionally playful and abstract so
as to avoid all detail but concentrate rather on the
fundamental principles. It is interesting that, crude
as this exercise was, it immediately started to set
a different agenda from the site-wide master plan
that had earlier been prepared by Savills (see UD
Issue 99) with much more intense development
suggested for the three sites of the first phase and
a different urban strategy for the lower part of the
site. In commissioning the detailed designs the local
authority were able to insist on a high percentage of
affordable units, excellent community engagement
and firm targets for the environmental objectives
(Eco-home excellent).
Following the workshop, which helped to affirm
the local authorities commitment to good design,
the skills of the architects came to bear and some
ingenious and elegant ideas were developed. The
Design Action Manager, now regarded by elected
members and officers alike as a helpful and
36 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
accessible resource, was invited to assist council
officers in reviewing progress with the architects.
As the scheme was approaching resolution, it was
suggested that it would be appropriate to gain the
advice of the South West Regional Design Review
Panel: the project was a substantial one for the
historic core of the town, and an independent view,
given the council’s role as both client and planning
authority, was thought to be useful. Not only were
architects and the local authority represented but
also the chair of the local community alliance. They
had been opponents of earlier schemes but now
wished to make clear their support for the current
proposals. The review was very supportive, urging
only minor rationalisation of the form but identifying
the potential perils of the next stage of procuring the
project, which would be through a design and build
contract with a development partner.
The opportunity was taken to
re-visit the outcomes of the Design
Action programme and provide
not a further technical service but
developmental support for local
Meanwhile South Hams had appointed a design
champion (Cllr Sally Roberts) and established their
own local design review panel. They collaborated
with Teignbridge District Council to create an
urban design officer post, shared between the two
authorities. The Design Action Manager was also
invited back to provide a further training session.
The sites in the Southern Area were granted
planning permission and Midas Construction chosen
as the council’s development partner. Harrison
Sutton were wisely retained to act on behalf of the
council as client’s representative and could therefore
maintain a vigilance for the design quality through
the final design and construction phase overcoming
the anxieties expressed at the regional design review
panel. The rest, as they say, is history, with the
project winning the National Housing Award for
2009. But along the way Councillor Anne Ward
re-appears, now jointly occupying the role of
design champion with another colleague. She was
able to convene and chair a group that explored
the strategy for expending a section 106 sum for
public art and was persistent in raising concerns
of nearby residents about detailed aspects of the
public realm as the project neared completion.
From Design Champions to Design
About 18 months ago the South West Regional
Development Agency asked Creating Excellence
(regional centre of excellence for the South West)
to re-examine the regional design programme for
which it was providing funding and to re-focus
elements of this upon the Key Areas – those
authorities where the regional economic and
spatial strategies anticipated significant growth.
Alongside the established South West Regional
Design Review Panel, a programme of enabling
was proposed. Of more significance to this article,
the opportunity was taken to re-visit the outcomes
of the Design Action programme and provide not
a further technical service but developmental
support for local authorities that built on the
Design Champion concept.
The notion of Design Leadership was posited –
whereby the pursuit of good design is seen more as
a corporate responsibility shared amongst a group
of key officers and relevant portfolio holders but
with the Design Champion acting now as a clear
focus for that wider group. The programme was
developed by Creating Excellence in partnership
with the two regional architecture centres and with
support from CABE.
The methodology is based upon the notion
that Behaviours, Processes and Resources are the
key capacities for successful place-making. The
seminars help to strengthen particular aspects of
these and, to an extent, are negotiated as a bespoke
offer, allowing the local authority to critically
reflect upon its own current potential for achieving
good quality sustainable places in the round.
This gives rise to a shared progressive agenda for
improvement which the Design Champion can then
monitor and steer.
It is still early days but the seminars have been
well-received and authorities such as Bath and
North East Somerset, Taunton and East Devon have
begun to refresh their agendas for design. Guest
speakers such as Paul Murrain and Sue McGlynn
have helped to articulate the value of design to good
effect alongside more structured sessions raising
awareness of Building for Life or Manual for Streets,
for instance. More inspiration than hard sell,
the reflective session which concludes the event
allows the authority to realise its own necessary
programme of development.
Just as commitment and relationship building at
the national level is undermined by the relentless
merry-go-round of ministers, we have to recognise
that local politics too produces similar frustrations
with portfolios and administrations changing
hands and champions coming and going. The task
of inducting and training incumbents is therefore
endless but none the less vital – it is only where
there is strong political support for design that
officers can, with confidence, draw upon wider
resources such as design review and enabling
services (from whatever source) and, crucially,
act upon them. As David Mackay would often
remark when I sat with him on the Design Panel in
Plymouth – ‘To realise a plan, the effort is fifty per
cent technical and fifty per cent political…’ As urban
designers we forget that at our peril.
↑ The Lamb, Heathway West
Site, Totnes: local architects
Harrison Sutton Partnership
worked with council and
community in working up the
Image HSP
Mark Pearson Head of
Design South West Creating
Excellence / CABE
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 37
Shortlisted Student Projects
Shortlisted Student Projects
St John’s, Northampton
Tom Barrows puts forward a master plan for Northampton cultural quarter
↙ Two perspectives
→ Section
↘ Tissues
↘ ↘ The plan
in the assessment criteria; their shape,
mass and form also fit well into the St
John’s master plan area and topography.
Justification for the use of these blocks is
reinforced by their historical relevance
and ability to adapt with change over time.
The site situated on the southern edge of
Northampton’s town centre is currently
two pay-and-display surface car parks
owned by Northampton Borough Council.
The northern car park has the entrance
to the Royal and Derngate Theatre on its
northern boundary with rear of properties
in Albion Place to the east. The southern
car park is bounded by the busy Victoria
Promenade Road to the south and St
John’s multi-storey car park to the east.
Adjoining the northern boundary of the
southern parcel and eastern boundary
of the northern parcel is Bloomsbury
Place, a new eight storey, residentially
38 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
led mixed use scheme completed in mid
2008. The council’s vision is for a mixed
use development defining their ‘cultural
quarter’ and ultimately becoming an
extension to the town centre.
A number of figure ground and tissue
studies were carried out on the site to
appreciate the context and understand
what impact development would have on
the area. Various parts of Northampton
were dropped on to the site and assessed
for their permeability, adaptability and
density. The blocks around the market
square, established in 1235, demonstrated
the best qualities and scored the highest
Legibility and Permeability
Once the blocks shape was established,
it was considered important to carry out
a movement assessment. The northern
car park saw very little vehicular and
pedestrian movement and appeared
to only serve local residents in Albion
Place, whereas the southern parcel sits
in between the town centre and Beckets
Park; this link has the largest pedestrian
movement. Within the master plan
the streets have been designed for the
pedestrian and only cater for vehicular
movement around the perimeter. This is to
encourage people to continue not only to
use the existing north to south link but to
also use the horizontal movement created
by the scheme which is quicker and more
attractive; these routes are defined by tree
lined streets.
Landmark buildings punctuate the site
corners and their curved facades exhibit
the qualities of existing vernacular within
the town centre reinforcing the sites
legibility and providing another subtle
link to the town’s history. The fronts of
the development are placed where the
main footfall is expected to be, primary
frontages and public entrances are mainly
on the horizontal links creating active and
vibrant routes, with secondary frontages
being transparent and encouraging
pedestrians on to the main streets.
To encourage a permeable and
pedestrian friendly environment, public
and private areas are clearly defined: all
private areas are kept to the rear of blocks
away from the public realm. The master
plan incorporates three public squares/
meeting places, the northern parcel has
two clearly defined spaces, the first at
the Royal and Derngate Theatre entrance
which is currently understated and under
used. Cafes and restaurants with spill
out zones on to the public realm will also
encourage further use of the theatre.
Central to the northern parcel is the
second square, again spill out zones for
cafes have been incorporated with a large
leisure facility along one of the links into
this square. A more intimate square in
the southern parcel has been defined by
strong enclosure on all four sides. These
three areas act as important anchors
within the master plan and are deliberately
on the north to south axis as well as linking
the new horizontal movement.
Mixed Uses
The development is very much mixed use,
horizontally and vertically to ensure that
the majority of buildings are used around
the clock and increasing the development’s
longevity. The southern parcel ground floor
uses are biased towards retail uses along
the main footfall routes, the secondary
streets are mainly commercial, with all
buildings having an element of residential
uses on the upper floors. With the northern
parcel bordering onto the Derngate
Theatre entrance, it was important that
the surrounding uses reflected that of
entertainment and leisure, drawing people
into the area, re-establishing the theatre
and defining a new entertainment district
in Northampton.
The sites topography sloping down
some 14m from north to south was a major
factor when choosing the block shapes as
it was important to keep the floor plates
simple and avoid large complicated split
level blocks. The development takes
advantage of the steep topography by
keeping the taller units at the rear and
staggering storey heights down with the
topography. This allows for views to be
created out and into the site with very little
overlooking within the development.
In conclusion I feel the thought process
and decisions made were of sound
justification and the development fits
within the existing context well. However,
I understand that for an area to succeed it
needs to address more than just scale, mass
and form.
If I were to be given the opportunity
to carry out this master plan again, I
would like to define the character of
buildings through existing precedents in
Northampton: the area is within a cultural
quarter; architectural vernacular and
character will be an important element
if this scheme is to be authentic and
successful. Also the hierarchy of streets
have been defined through the spatial
relationship between buildings; to retain
the principle of a pedestrian focussed
development a set of design codes would be
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 39
Shortlisted Student Projects
Shortlisted Student Projects
The Shambles – A new heart for the Osney
Nick Thorne develops a master plan for part of West Oxford
Osney is a riverside community located
ten minutes walk west of Oxford City
Centre, characterised by a series of islands
surrounded by the River Thames and
Oxford Canal. The islands connect into the
city from Botley Road providing access
to the railway station that links Oxford to
London and the North of the country.
The islands to the north of Osney
contain long rows of Victorian terraced
housing arranged around a grid street
pattern and feature large brick industrial
buildings that once utilised the canal
network for transporting materials and
produce. The area is rich in character
and provides a broad variety of living
accommodation for families, students and
the elderly within walking distance of the
city centre.
Located on an island to the south is
Osney Mead Industrial Estate. Primarily
single use, the area consists of large
warehouses and industrial units that
developed over time resulting in a layout
that relates poorly to the surrounding
area and lacks a centre or focal point. The
location benefits from far reaching views
over the countryside to the south and
river views looking north-east towards
the city. On the riverbank opposite
is an historic mill with storage barns
40 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
that also include the remains of Osney
Abbey. Located between the old and new
neighbourhoods, the mill buildings have
developed sporadically over the years
and sit at a variety of angles creating an
attractive canal side environment that
adds character to the area.
The West Oxford master plan (group
project) re-imagines the industrial estate
as a location to create a new mixed use
neighbourhood promoting social and
physical wellbeing. Environmental
responsibilities are key and feature a
new waterway to reduce flood risk and
create ecosystem corridors to improve
the biodiversity of the local area. The
waterways, which encircle the site, are
brought back into use with new river views
and a water-taxi service terminating near
the castle mound, a few minutes walk from
the city centre.
The proposed master plan will convert
the mill buildings into a community
centre connected to Osney Mead by a
new pedestrian bridge that will increase
permeability from the new grid street
layout to the Victorian street pattern
behind the mill. The mill, including the
waterway, will become part of the new
heart for the Osney Islands and link the
existing and new communities.
A new heart and identity
The Shambles is a proposal for the land
parcel opposite the mill. The new bridge
will create an important nodal point on the
Osney Mead side of the river and analysis
of the existing and proposed urban grain
demonstrated an opportunity to respond
to the new heart with a unique identity
for the new neighbourhood. The existing
perimeter block arrangement is morphed
and broken down at the nodal point to
create a plot structure that recreates
the building lines found by the mill. The
intention is to create a place that is rooted
in the past but not fixed in the past and
that merges creative modernity with
historic and artistic references.
Graffiti located on disused warehouses
along the River Thames north of Botley
Road, was identified as a distinctive,
abstract and creative feature of the
local area. The bright colours, forms
and textures provide exciting and lively
riverscapes that constantly evolve in
response to the changing local population.
A design matrix was compiled to assist the
integration of the creative motif into the
key urban morphological features of block,
street, plot and public realm detailing.
This was achieved by overlaying local
graffiti onto the concept’s street and block
layout, to develop a unique identity for the
buildings and floorscape. The concept of
paint spray was applied to urban structure.
In concentrated areas of paint such as the
bridge nodal point, buildings turn in an
almost irregular way and paving patterns
become increasingly abstracted. As the
spray paint moves further away from the
new heart, paint splatters and individual
units are rotated providing a transition
from the south towards the bridge.
Resilient perimeter blocks
The proposal introduces a mix of
residential types with commercial units
providing a noise buffer next to retail
premises. An industrial element is
retained to accommodate local business
and employment. The proposed industrial
areas are located within the centre of two
perimeter blocks and accessed at ground
level which ramp down to a lower deck. An
upper roof deck provides secure space for
parking and food production to encourage
social interaction and surveillance. A
robust strategy splits the perimeter blocks
into smaller groups of plots to ensure
the buildings can be replaced over time
↙ Individual land parcel
→ Birdseye view
↘ Section through perimeter
↘↘ Ground floor plan and
↘↘↘ Montage of river
without the need to purchase the entire
block or street. The plot structure is
adaptable and can change from residential
to retail or industry; ground floor units
have removable floors to vary storey
A space syntax model highlighted
potential locations for commerce, retail
and industry based upon pedestrian and
traffic flow. The same method was used
to locate a mix of residential plot types
based upon traffic flow and noise levels.
Apartments are located primarily along
busier roads and houses along quieter
roads. Canal frontages provide a greater
opportunity to increase land value
and provide an economic location for
Plots are orientated to maximise solar
gain and active edges provide surveillance
over the public realm. Each ground floor
residential unit incorporates a large glazed
area onto the street with semi-private
outdoor space that includes hedging to
add privacy and defence whilst creating a
dynamic frontage.
Public realm
To promote walking and health a ‘naked
street’ (after Hans Monderman) strategy
is applied to the roads beside the river.
Pedestrian dominant streets will vary
in width to reduce traffic speed and
feature an abstract paving design and
subtle kerbing to slow vehicles. The canal
street scene will feature high quality
architectural buildings designed to express
the local wharf form and structure. The
graffiti motif is displayed within the façade
through a variety of colours and textures
to create surfaces that reflect, absorb and
change with the seasons. Graffiti ‘tag’
sculptures provide stimulating structures
that incorporate resting places to
promote social interaction and encourage
surveillance. The floorscape becomes
a canvas for chalk graffiti to enhance
sensory richness and reinforce the areas
distinct identity.
The Shambles combines references to
the past with the use of an abstract design
motif to create a one-off exciting and
distinctive mixed use neighbourhood that
promotes social and physical wellbeing.
The heart will provide a vibrant location
for the new and existing communities to
integrate and develop their own identity to
attract people from Oxford and beyond.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 41
Shortlisted Student Projects
Shortlisted Student Projects
Caledonian University at Glasgow Green
Piotr Mike relocates the University to regenerate Bridgeton
of its campus. The second important
reason was that Bridgeton – a district
neighbouring Glasgow Green, needed
a catalyst of physical, economic and
social regeneration. We thought that this
big university would be such a catalyst
that could bring positive effects even
beyond Bridgeton, over the East-End of
Glasgow (infamous for high crime rates,
unemployment, low life expectancy
and illiteracy). There were also other
arguments for this big move, such as:
Low level of recreational activity in the
eastern part of Glasgow Green
Focus of the university on built and
natural environment (relevant to the
surrounding parks)
Vicinity of the extended M74 and
planned East End Regeneration Route
Adjacent waters of the River Clyde.
I wanted to take the most from the course,
so for my final credit, I was looking for a
task which offered a big design flexibility
and required a complex approach.
Therefore, I decided to design Caledonian
University at Glasgow Green. It was a
flexible and complex project because the
campus had to be new, big and located
on an attractive green site at the heart of
In my vision, the new campus was
intended to support the regeneration
of Bridgeton, promote education and
knowledge, propagate local history and
culture, encourage a healthy lifestyle,
introduce new recreational elements to
Glasgow Green and be easily accessible
from the whole of the city and further.
The new campus would contribute to
the regeneration of Bridgeton at three
Physical regeneration through
modernised infrastructure, new
architecture and re-landscaping of the
public realm
Social regeneration through education,
as well as bringing students, researchers
and academic staff to the area
Economic regeneration through
new jobs, business and education
opportunities as well as increasing the
land and property value.
This project was my response to the
outcomes of an analysis of the High Street
Corridor in Glasgow. High Street Corridor
encompasses crucial sites at the heart of
Glasgow and is linked to current important
developments for transport, sport,
tourism and residential. It is a substantial
portion of the city with great complexity
but most of all potential.
The key elements of the area were the
M74 extension, the East End Regeneration
Route, Glasgow Green Park, districts of
Springburn, Bridgeton and the Gorbals,
Buchanan Street Bus Station, St. Enoch
Car Park and the campuses of Caledonian
University and Strathclyde University.
Together with other students I carried
out the analysis during the first semester
of my course. We were divided into pattern
groups (landscape, activities, movement,
42 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
built form, habitation and image) and
every group was a mix of students with
different backgrounds (architecture,
planning, engineering and social policy).
My background was civil engineering and I
was allocated to the pattern of activities in
the High Street Corridor.
After the analysis, we re-formed into
strategic groups. Each of the new teams
included one expert of one pattern and
had to develop a regeneration strategy for
the whole of the study area. Finally, each
student took responsibility for one of the
projects resulting from the strategy and
designed it in detail.
My strategy group proposed to
relocate Caledonian University Campus
to the eastern part of Glasgow Green. The
primary reason was that the university
needed a bigger area for expansion
The new Caledonian University was
designed to be open and attractive not
only for students. Other citizens could
enter the campus to enjoy the new
Botanical Gardens with the glasshouse
and the amphitheatre, the library, the
sports centre, the Chapel of All Religions,
restaurants at the university square or the
new Promenade along the riverbank. The
promotion of education and knowledge
were the goals of the openness of the
The detailed design featured elements
typical of Scottish landscape, such as
stone walls in the Botanical Gardens or
Scottish architecture. The Visitors Centre
was meant to, among others, propagate
the history of the university and Glasgow
Green. The Chapel of All Religions was
located in the place where infidels were
secretly baptised in the River Clyde in the
18th century.
I assumed that most students would
either cycle or walk to the university, so
the entire campus was designed as a carfree zone and each building was allocated
bicycle parking. Most car users would
leave their vehicles in either the large
car park or in underground car parks
under selected buildings. The River Clyde
would remain the arena for water sports.
The Promenade and Botanical Gardens
were designed for strolling, jogging, bird
feeding, or recreational cycling. Most
of the sports facilities were located in
Richmond Park.
The main entrance to the campus on
the north side, marked by the tower, was
located ca. 200m from Bridgeton Cross
– the main transport hub in the area.
Having a railway station and a bus station,
Bridgeton Cross provides the access from
the whole of Glasgow and the suburbs. The
on-going extension of the M74 some 300m
South from the campus and the East-End
Regeneration Route planned some 150m
to the East of the university would provide
the access to the existing network of
‘For the common weal’ - this motto
motivated me when I started this project
because all the parties, students and
staff of Caledonian University, citizens
of Bridgeton and other Glaswegians
would benefit from it. The campus would
integrate the East-End with the city
centre, Scottish students and international
students with the citizens of Bridgeton. It
would enliven Glasgow Green Park and the
River Clyde. The university would become
famous for its incredible green setting.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 43
Shortlisted Student Projects
Shortlisted Student Projects
A new centre for Ealing
Armando Delgado describes his proposal for a new mixed-use centre
↙ The Vision for Ealing
→The site
↘ Land uses
↘↘ Section
The project set involved a complete
analysis and re-design of a major
urban area. The aim of the project
was to determine and investigate how
urban design can provide an input into
development briefs that guide urban
development in a positive way. Through
the exploration of an urban design
strategy, the project attempts to provide a
solution and produce a planning proposal.
The area chosen was Ealing Town
Centre, situated in West London and long
established as a leafy suburb comprising
attractive residential neighbourhoods
and a commercial high street. The
area benefits from strong transport
connections, the Broadway shopping
centre, high street shops and restaurants
which make it the central hub of the
A site analysis of the area included its
history, council policies and previous and
current developments within the city in an
urban context. I analysed the area in terms
of building form, movement, land use,
activity and character which enabled me to
identify the main issues that needed to be
44 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
The strengths and opportunities
identified from the analysis included
an important vibrant and diverse town
centre, a suburban feeling highlighting
desirability, distinctive zones of character,
excellent transport links, Haven green
which is a well located focal point of the
town, and office and retail opportunities.
However, there were also several areas
needing improvement such as the lack
of permeability between the park and
the high street and a confused mix of
architecture types but most notably a
confusing and problematic pedestrian exit
from Ealing Broadway station which gives
no clear legibility for pedestrians.
The specific site for intervention,
the Arcade Site, is a triangular plot of
approximately 1.7 hectare, situated south
of Haven Green and the railways and north
of the Broadway. Following the analysis
findings, the next stage was to create a
design strategy framework for the site.
Elements of focus in the initial proposal
were to increase pedestrian routes and
connections between Haven Green over
the railways, to emphasize the commercial
active frontage to the Broadway and to
create a strong and clear pedestrian link
with attractive public spaces at either
end. This aimed to connect the heart of
the commercial area with the transport
interchange whilst providing a welcoming
experience for pedestrians coming from
the station and guide people from the
major nodes and spaces to the bus and
train station. Finally, the idea was to add
value to the existing active frontages
and to recognize important existing
landmarks, such as the Christ the Saviour’s
The preliminary framework proposal
comprised two triangular blocks with
dual uses to the south and new active
frontages to the Broadway, two low-scale
residential long blocks facing the park and
a central sculptural building for communal
and leisure purposes in the heart of the
site. The first block layout included two
major pedestrian routes: north-south and
diagonal east-west from the station to the
Broadway node with the church as focal
In the evolution from the initial
design brief to a more refined proposal,
the main elements did not change
dramatically. Instead of having two major
axes competing with each other, the idea
of having a major diagonal pedestrian
road with active frontages connecting
the north and the south became the
strongest feature of the project. The site
will effectively change from comprising
four separate blocks to two triangular
blocks with mixed uses and one tall land
mark with an attractively designed hotel
building. The density and building heights
will therefore became more coherent
within the immediate urban context. Also,
the service areas become more diverse
and practical with the use of not only the
courtyards but the new introduction of a
large underground car park with storage,
delivery and multiple service areas for the
whole site.
commercial or offices space. The site
presented an enormous opportunity
for potential office and retail uses but,
being more sensible in terms of social
and urban issues, a balance was needed
between land uses and providing mixed
uses, whilst residential floor space
needed to be filled.
A detailed development appraisal with
floor space analysis and approximate
building cost calculations allowed
me to evaluate the feasibility of the
project in more detail. An important
issue arising from those figures was the
financial implications of building over
the railways. However, given the size of
the scheme including a residential area,
buildings above the north part of the
railway, the introduction of a hotel and
other considerations made it possible to
have a positive financial balance with the
additional value of new and well designed
urban spaces. As shown on the proposal
the residential uses were placed facing
the park and new boulevard whilst the
retail and office spaces were planned to
face the high street. The final allocation
of floorspace included around 10000sqm
of office space, 6100sqm of retail mainly
on the ground floor, and over 22000sqm
of residential of which 25% would be
affordable housing.
In summary, this exercise highlighted
a range of challenges that urban
designers contend with on a regular
basis. The proposed urban design
solution for Ealing Town Centre gives a
clear indication of the benefits a project
of this nature can bring to a local area.
Furthermore, it proposes solutions to the
urban design issues that arose from the
site analysis and clearly addresses the
issues in a viable and concrete proposed
urban plan, a sensible urban vision for
the future Ealing Town Centre as a new
attractive spot in the city.
An important part of the project was the
market appraisal and urban typologies
study. It enabled me to assess whether
the proposal was coherent from the
market point of view and its implications
and results in terms of urban types in
the Ealing and London context. Once
the most demanding needs and uses
were established, I determined how the
proposal could best add value to the
land use, for example residential and
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 45
Shortlisted Student Projects
Shortlisted Student Projects
Lucy Montague’s design is inspired by the Situationist International
The Situationist International (SI), a small
group of artistic and political thinkers,
disbanded in the 1960s left a wealth of
notoriously avant-garde theories rooted
in painting and cinema. This immediately
presented itself as a challenging if not
contentious foundation from which to
Distilling Situationist thinking to its
key elements of détournement, psychogeography, flux, unitary urbanism and
drift (or dérive) demonstrated that
although dealing with urban matter,
the theoretical content of the SI does
not directly occupy spatial or physical
dimensions. This determined that
in order to legitimately reflect these
principles, the establishment of an
unorthodox development framework was
necessary, without existing conventions.
This took the form of a Manifesto for
the City of Nantes - a statement of longterm strategic objectives, not explicitly
political in content, but rather dealing
with the construction of everyday life.
However, in order to progress to the
generation of a master plan for the island,
whilst maintaining Situationist beliefs, it
was inevitably necessary to make a leap
from ‘Manifesto’ to ‘Manifestation’. This
essentially required the interpretation
of the powerful ideals of the SI through
the conception of agendas for built form,
open space, movement and activities,
which then in turn facilitated the process
of design.
In order to support the Situationist notion
46 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
of drift, the city structure must offer the
opportunity for spontaneous choices
of route. The grid system offers the
individual maximum capacity for different
routes and achieves decentralisation of
the built form and functions that the SI
purports to. However this theoretical basis
also calls for a fluid, non-architectural
landscape and so in order to deconstruct
the rigidity of the grid, the urban blocks
are offset and displaced according to
the existing structures, allowing their
incorporation within the rejuvenated
urban fabric.
To further deform the structure of the
grid, curves are introduced in the form of
two sinuous paths flowing east to west,
connecting public spaces. Again distorting
the construction of the grid, inlets of water
cut angles through the fabric from the
The element of soft landscaping adopts
the role of the antithesis of the grid. Its
random organic form collides with the
urban block rather than perpetuating
the orthogonal structure of the grid and
continues both between and within the
urban blocks.
meadows of soft landscape, regularly and
indiscriminately re-directed.
Supporting drift, the city grid maximises
opportunities for spontaneous choices of
route. Layered over the linear movement
system, open courtyard typology allows
varied fixed routes through each city
block, further facilitating the individual’s
prospective drift.
Finally, woven within this are variable,
unfixed paths, mown through the
All new built form responds to the
Situationist ideal of an adaptable city of
flux so each unit within the urban block
is constructed as a generic unit that can
accommodate any function. The location
of activities within the urban environment
becomes a fluid conception, transient and
evolving to a different state of existence at
any given point.
Situationist thinking requires a city of
flux that can react and change quickly. For
this rapid transformation to be possible
the urban building blocks must support
this facility and be able to accommodate
a range of functions. The most adaptable
typology is the city block. The city block
also combines with the point typology that
currently exists within the master plan
Détournement then requires the
collision of activities so the block must
be composed of generic units that can be
occupied by commercial, residential or
civic activity. This collision also infers a
blurring of the boundary between public
and private spaces so the city block is
inverted, transforming into courtyard
typology, where the central space is
accessible to the public. From this
courtyard and tower combination there
are many permutations of the block that
can then be employed to create a varied
and rich urban fabric.
This also inherently connects with
the notion of détournement - the city’s
activities are de-centred within the
urban fabric and collided for their
mutual benefit. No restrictions are made
regarding zoning activities - anything can
happen anywhere.
An extension of this is the collision
of public and private space. This is
articulated through the inversion of the
urban block into courtyard typology and
with a direct interface existing between
the built form and the street. Within the
open space the détournement of functions
leads to a strategy of integrating public
spaces and movement channels.
The result is a city of playful urbanism,
de-centred and fluid, inspired by the
Situationist International’s notions of
détournement, dérive, unitary urbanism,
psychogeography and flux. The individual
is free to drift, functions and landscapes
change, public/private boundaries
are blurred, and anything can happen
anywhere. Meadows of tall grasses blanket
the areas of soft landscape, traversed
by ever-changing mown footpaths and
seeded with wild flowers. Silver birches
create strong vertical elements, resolving
the human scale of the landscape and new
structures with the extra human scale of
the retained Beaulieu towers.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 47
Book Reviews
Book Reviews
A Good Read
Our book review
editor Richard Cole
relishes the variety
of books relevant to
urban design even
if not all of them are
entirely satisfactory
48 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
The Everyday Resilience
of the City: How Cities
Respond to Terrorism and
Coaffee, J, Murkami-Wood, D
and Rogers, P, 2008, Palgrave
Macmillan, ISBN 978-0230546738
Whether through ecological breakdown,
terrorism, pandemics or crime, cities are
now widely perceived as permanently under
threat. Consequently, creating resilience has
become a key concept in public policy, and
increasingly, in urban design. One high profile
example is the master plan for Dongtan EcoCity in China which aims to ‘manage risk and
maximise resilience’. The resilience approach
is being formalised with a Counter Terrorism
(CT) supplement added to Safer Places, with
CT measures becoming a material consideration in planning.
Part of the series New Security Challenges, this book offers an overview of current
policies and the organisations charged with
creating multiple strands of resilience. Its
main appeal lies in fleshing out some of the
history and issues behind the emergence of
resilience. There are some useful insights,
but also some limitations. The authors rightly
argue that the core concepts of resilience
emerged before 9/11. The historical overview
contains some interesting material, but
unfortunately emphasises historic continuity over specific factors at work today. It is
unclear, for example, why factors relating to
public space and surveillance of suspicious
groups a century ago should ‘set the tone for
thinking about urban resilience’ in the face
of crime and disorder today. Indeed a unique
factor today, which is never quite explained,
is why after fifteen years of falling levels of
crime, the fear of crime continues to rise.
One answer is that our perception of
threats are often no longer tied to a specific
incident or problem, but are widely believed
to be an ever-present feature of our risk society. In this respect, the authors usefully trace
the roots of contemporary ideas on resilience
to theories of ecology and psychology. After
seeping into numerous areas of policy, resilience has become a catch all phrase for a
society that perceives itself as vulnerable.
These very useful insights remain underdeveloped. The authors complain that the
authorities have used terrorism to appropriate the resilience agenda, with authoritarian
consequences for public space. This seems
to downplay the problems inherent in the
resilience agenda itself. The limits in urban
space today aren’t authoritarian in the traditional sense. Instead they derive from the risk
based view of the world upon which ideas of
resilience are founded - and the imposed and
self-imposed constraints this generates. Engaging communities around risk reinforces an
interventionist ethos in public life. Promoters
of the resilience approach hope to create a
generative urban dynamic. Unfortunately, it
is more likely to have a paralysing effect. This
book is a useful starting point for exploring
the issues.
Alastair Donald
The Public Chance
Aurora Fernández Per and
Javier Arpa, A+t ediciones, £69,
2008, ISBN 078-84-612-4488-1
This super-size and bi-lingual (Spanish-English) book is a collection of 36 public spaces
realised in the past few years, almost entirely
on brown field sites. They are grouped thematically depending on their location: Peripheral voids, Waterfronts, Industrial areas
and Infrastructures.
The book is lavishly illustrated and the
amount of text is limited, but it is there for a
specific purpose and cleverly utilised. So for
instance on a spread of two pages there are
ten ‛opportunities’ for the sites and ten for
the public; this is presented in a simple and
attractive manner and makes the point effectively. Equally the twenty strategies that
the authors have distilled from the schemes,
are summarised in a few words and many
All the necessary information for each
of the schemes is given. In addition a page of
‘layers’ introduces each project and these are:
activities, rooms, routes, buildings, vegetation
and where appropriate, water; diagrams at the
same scale show how these layers interrelate.
There are always layout plans, frequently an
aerial photograph and several images that
give a good idea of what the scheme is about
and how it relates to its surroundings. The geographical coverage of the book is wide though
not universal: there are schemes from Australia to Turkey, many from Spain and the US, none
from the UK. Some are of a very large scale and
a reminder, in these suddenly austere times, of
what grand vision and public investment can
do to a city. These public spaces will outlive
most of the current decision makers and the
financial crisis, and will be a legacy for future
Though not cheap, the book is a very
useful reference for potential clients and for
practitioners looking for inspiration and reassurance of what is possible. The title seems
carefully chosen: these new urban landscapes give the public a chance. Finally the
book allows us to evaluate what good urban
design has achieved in the recent past.
Sebastian Loew
Britain’s New Towns,
Garden Cities to Sustainable
Anthony Alexander, Routledge,
2009, £29.99 pb, £80.75 HB, ISBN
In just 180 pages Anthony Alexander lucidly
traces the origins, creation and the consequences of Britain’s designated new towns.
The narrative is clearly but densely written and draws together the multiplicity of
influences impacting on the New Towns, in a
simply to read style.
Alexander has drawn on a wide range
of sources but it is perhaps a pity that the
majority of these are secondary. He seems
unaware of The New Towns Record which
brings together all the original source material and includes interviews with significant
players in the new towns story.
The book is sub-titled Garden Cities to
Sustainable Communities, but the concept
of sustainability does not seem to be woven
into the body of the text. Indeed discussion
of sustainability is limited to the penultimate
twenty pages. This creates the impression
that the sustainable notion was added as an
after thought.
There are, however, two themes that
occur throughout which would be worthy of
emphasis. The first shows that the problems
of new town housing are often reflected in
contemporary equivalents elsewhere in the
country. The second, and perhaps more
significant, is the exposure of the conflict
between satisfying local needs through local
action, and autonomy and the seemingly
inevitable tendency of all British governments
to demand greater central control and direction. Alexander demonstrates that the development corporation model was an effective
mechanism for delivering major projects and
shows that government interference, often
for unsubstantiated reasons, appears as a
damaging phenomena.
Overall this is a useful book collecting
together the new town history; it is particularly valuable given that it is now over fifteen
years since the last English new town, Milton
Keynes, was wound up.
If nothing else Alexander has shown the
clear need for deeper research to be undertaken into the whole new towns programme,
a task that governments departments have
have singularly failed to tackle.
Richard Cole
Vigo Waterfront
Guillermo Vasquez Consuegra,
Gustavo Gili, 2008, £40, ISBN
This book recounts the changes made along a
key section of Vigo’s waterfront and provides
substantial detail about the work implemented so far, with some further building projects
to be completed. Vigo is the main city of
Galicia with a population of about 300,000
with 500,000 in the metropolitan area, well
known for its fishing industry, shipyards and
cultural life. In 1991 the various bodies carrying responsibility for the port area invited
four architects to present ideas to ‘Open Vigo
to the sea’, set within an overall framework
already produced by consultants. The objective was to eliminate an obsolete series of
industrial structures linked to port activities
and to create a new central space able to
revitalize the coastal areas closest to the city.
Following this, in 1994, four architects were
given commissions for separate parts of the
overall area. Consuegra was awarded the
work involved in the overall urban landscape
together with some specific buildings.
The book’s foreword summarises the
objectives - a space formerly devoid of life
taken up by car traffic and parking areas was
set to become an area for citizens to enjoy:
a new urban centre overlooking the sea. This
has become possible by the essential step of
building a tunnel to remove traffic from the
area. Four introductory articles set the context for the project. The text by Peter Buchanan is the most lucid although it excludes any
images, and that by Vicente Verdu the most
poetic. The following sections look at individual parts of the project – the area adjacent
to the original fishing village, the waterfront
and gardens, a new restaurant structure
next to the tunnel entrance, the tunnel itself
and details of urban furnishings and public
art. Each of these sections in the book of
over 300 pages provide the general context
and detailed information. This is a wellproduced handsome document illustrating
the way each section of the waterfront has
been handled. It will be particularly useful to
designers involved in the detailing of urban
projects. From an urban designer’s point of
view it would have been more informative if
contextual sketches could have accompanied
the introductory articles.
John Billingham
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 49
Practice Index
Practice Index
Regional contacts
Practice Index
John Billingham, architect and
planner, formerly Director of Design
and Development at Milton Keynes
Development Corporation
If you are interested in getting
involved with any regional activities
please get in touch with the following
Darryl Chen is an urban
designer working for Hawkins Brown
Robert Huxford and Louise Ingledow
T020 7250 0892
[email protected]
Directory of practices, corporate
organisations and urban design
courses subscribing to this index. The
following pages provide a service
to potential clients when they are
looking for specialist urban design
advice, and to those considering
taking an urban design course.
London and South East
Richard Cole architect and
planner, formerly Director of
Planning and Architecture of the
Commission for New Towns
Maya Shcherbakova
M 07884 246190
[email protected]
South West
Alastair Donald is an urbanist.
He’s currently co-editing The Future
of Community: Back from Beyond the
Neil Double is a planner and
urban designer working on the
development of the Core Strategy
of the London Borough of Tower
Joe Holyoak, architect and
urban designer, Principal Lecturer in
Urban Design at University of Central
Sebastian Loew, architect and
planner, writer and consultant,
teaching at the University of
Louise Thomas, independent
urban designer and Director of the
Urban Renaissance Institute
Neither the Urban Design Group nor
the editors are responsible for views
expressed or statements made by
individuals writing in urban design
Judy Preston
M 07908219834
[email protected]
Laura Alvarez
T0115 962 9000
[email protected]
West Midlands
Patricia Gomez
[email protected]
East Anglia
Daniel Durrant
T01223 372 638
[email protected]
Annie Atkins of Places Matter!
[email protected]
North East
Georgia Giannopoulou
T0191 222 6006
[email protected]
Alona Martinez-Perez
[email protected]
[email protected]
Northern Ireland
James Hennessey
T028 9073 6690
[email protected]
The North of England region and
Wales require contacts
Those wishing to be included in future
issues should contact the UDG,
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
T020 7250 0872
[email protected]
C Louise Ingledow
Alan Baxter & Associates
Consulting Engineers
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
T020 7250 1555
[email protected]
CAlan Baxter
An engineering and urban design
practice. Particularly concerned with
the thoughtful integration of buildings,
infrastructure and movement, and the
creation of places.
Allen Pyke Associates
The Factory 2 Acre Road,
Kingston-upon-Thames KT2 6EF
T020 8549 3434
[email protected]
CJohn Brodie, Rob Chiat
Innovative, responsive, committed,
competitive, process. Priorities:
people, spaces, movement, culture.
Places: regenerate, infill, extend
Andrew Martin Associates
Croxton’s Mill, Little Waltham,
Essex CM3 3PJ
T01245 361611
[email protected]
CAndrew Martin/
Sophie O’Hara Smith
Masterplans, urban design, urban
regeneration, historic buildings,
project management, planning, EIA,
landscape planning and design.
Arnold Linden
Chartered Architect
54 Upper Montagu Street,
London W1H 1FP
T020 7723 7772
CArnold Linden
Integrated regeneration through the
participation in the creative process
of the community and the public
at large, of streets, buildings and
Atkins plc
Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road,
London NW1 3AT
T020 7121 2000
[email protected]
CPaul Reynolds
Interdisciplinary practice that offers a
range of built environment specialists
working together to deliver quality
places for everybody to enjoy.
50 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
Austin-Smith:Lord LLP
Bree Day LLP
Brock Carmichael
Port of Liverpool Building,
Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1BY
T0151 227 1083
[email protected]
CAndy Smith
Also at London, Cardiff and Glasgow
Multi-disciplinary national practice
with a specialist urban design unit
backed by the landscape and core
architectural units. Wide range and
scale of projects.
The Crescent Centre, Temple Back,
Bristol BS1 6EZ
T0117 933 8950
[email protected]
CClaire Mitcham
Site context appraisals, urban design
and regeneration frameworks,
area action plans, masterplanning,
site promotion, design guides and
Barton Willmore
Beansheaf Farmhouse, Bourne Close,
Calcot, Reading, Berks RG31 7BW
T0118 943 0000
[email protected]
CClive Rand
Concept through to implementation
on complex sites, comprehensive
design guides, urban regeneration,
brownfield sites, and major urban
The Bell Cornwell
Oakview House, Station Road, Hook,
Hampshire RG27 9TP
T01256 766673
[email protected]
CSimon Avery
Specialists in masterplanning and the
coordination of major development
proposals. Advisors on development
plan representations, planning
and appeals.
16 Upper King Street, Norwich NR3 1HA
T01603 763 939
[email protected]
CLuke Broom-Lynne
Planning, Landscape and Urban
Design consultancy, specialising
in Masterplanning, Townscape
Assessment, Landscape & Visual
Impact Assessment.
Blampied & Partners Ltd
2A Brackley Road, Chiswick
London W4 2HN
T020 8747 3870
[email protected]
CClive Naylor
Architectural masterplanning,
urban design, tourism, education,
commercial expertise in the United
Kingdom and overseas.
The Old Chapel
1 Holly Road, Twickenham TW1 4EA
T020 8744 4440
[email protected]
CTim Day
Eco-urbanism guides the
partnership’s core disciplines of
architecture, urban design and
community planning.
19 Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9JQ
T0151 242 6222
[email protected]
CMichael Cosser
Masterplans and development
briefs. Mixed-use and brownfield
regeneration projects. Design in
historic and sensitive settings.
Integrated landscape design.
Morton House Morton Road,
Darlington DL1 4PT
T01325 462345
[email protected]
CD D Brown
Urban design, masterplanning
and digital visualisation services.
Clients include One Northeast, Taylor
Woodrow, Lovell, and District of
Building Design Partnership
16 Brewhouse Yard, Clerkenwell,
London EC1V 4LJ
T020 7812 8000
[email protected]
CAndrew Tindsley
BDP offers town planning,
masterplanning, urban design,
landscape, regeneration and
sustainability studies, and has teams
based in London, Manchester and
Burns + Nice
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
T020 7253 0808
[email protected]
CMarie Burns/ Stephen Nice
Urban design, landscape
architecture, environmental and
transport planning. Masterplanning,
design and public consultation for
community-led work.
Capita Lovejoy
Level Seven, 52 Grosvenor Gardens,
London SW1W 0AU
T020 7901 9911
[email protected]
CDavid Blackwood Murray/
Martin Kelly
Also at Birmingham 0121 329 7976
Land planners specialising in
environmental planning, urban
design and landscape architecture in
the UK and overseas.
Chapman Taylor LLP
10 Eastbourne Terrace, London W2 6LG
T020 7371 3000
[email protected]
CAdrian Griffiths/ Paul Truman
Bass Warehouse, 4 Castle Street
Castlefield, Manchester M3 4LZ
T0161 828 6500
[email protected]
Chapman Taylor is an international
firm of architects and urban
designers specialising in mixed-use
city centre regeneration projects
throughout Europe.
Chris Blandford Associates
1 Swan Court, 9 Tanner Street,
London SE1 3LE
T020 7089 6480
[email protected]
CChris Blandford/Mike Martin
Also at Uckfield
Landscape architecture,
environmental assessment, ecology,
urban renewal, development
economics, town planning, historic
landscapes and conservation.
City Design Co-op Ltd
4 North Court, Glasgow, G1 2DP
T0141 204 3466
F0141 221 7746
[email protected]
CBeatriz Bauer
City Design has developed a
reputation for thoughtful and
creative site responsive projects
across a range of scales.
23 Trenchard Street
Bristol BS1 5AN
T0117 917 7000
[email protected]
CMike Rawlinson
Place branding and marketing vision
masterplanning, urban design,
public realm strategies, way finding
and legibility strategies, information
design and graphics.
Clarke Klein & Chaudhuri
63-71 Collier Street, London N1 9BE
T020 7278 0722
[email protected]
CWendy Clarke
Small design-led practice focusing
on custom solutions for architectural,
planning or urban design projects.
Exploring the potential for innovative
urban design.
Colin Buchanan & Partners
10 Eastbourne Terrace
London W2 6LG
T020 7053 1300
[email protected]
CMartina Juvara
Planning, regeneration, urban
design, transport and traffic
management and market research.
Area based regeneration, town
centres and public realm design.
Colour Urban Design Limited
David Lock Associates Ltd
Conroy Crowe Kelly
Architects & Urban
65 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
DEGW plc Architects
& Consultants
Milburn House, Dean Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1LE
T0191 242 4224
[email protected]
CPeter Owens
Design oriented projects with full
client participation. Public spaces,
regeneration, development,
masterplanning, residential,
education and healthcare.
T00 353 1 661 3990
[email protected]
CClare Burke and David Wright
Architecture, urban design,
masterplanning, village studies.
Mixed use residential developments
with a strong identity and sense of
Conservation Architecture
& Planning
Wey House, Standford Lane, Headley,
Hants GU35 8RH
T01420 472830
[email protected]
CJack Warshaw
Historic cities,towns, sites, buildings,
conservation areas, regeneration,
studies, new buildings, guidance,
masterplanning, expert witness
Cunnane Stratton Reynolds
3 Molesworth Place, Dublin 2
T00 353 1 661 0419
[email protected]
CDeclan O’Leary
Landscape design and town
planning, from project appraisal to
strategy in a range from masterplans
to framework plans and detailed
Dalton Crawley Partnership
29 Carlton Crescent,
Southampton SO15 2EW
T02380 719400
[email protected]
CSteve Dalton
Urban design and masterplanning of
commercial developments, medium
to large scale residential and mixeduse schemes.
David Huskisson Associates
17 Upper Grosvenor Road,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2DU
T01892 527828
[email protected]
CNicola Brown
Landscape consultancy offering
masterplanning, streetscape
and urban park design, estate
restoration, environmental impact
50 North Thirteenth Street,
Central Milton Keynes,
Milton Keynes MK9 3BP
T01908 666276
[email protected]
CWill Cousins
Strategic planning studies,
area development frameworks,
development briefs, design
guidelines, masterplanning,
implementation strategies,
environmental statements.
The Merchant Centre, 1 New Street
Centre, London EC4A 3BF
T020 7239 7777
[email protected]
CSteve Smith
Development planning and briefing.
Masterplanning and urban design.
Strategic briefing and space
planning. Architecture and interiors.
200 Upper Richmond Road,
London SW15 2SH
T020 8780 1800
[email protected]
CDuncan Ecob
Adding value through innovative,
ambitious solutions in complex urban
DHA Planning & Urban
Eclipse House, Eclipse Park,
Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone,
Kent ME14 3EN
T01622 776226
[email protected]
CMatthew Woodhead
Planning and Urban Design
Consultancy offering a full range
of Urban Design services including
masterplanning, development briefs
& design statements.
DNS Planning & Design
Gloucester House,
29 Brunswick Square
Gloucester GL1 1UN
T01452 413726
[email protected]
CMark Newey
Urban design practice providing a
responsive and professional service
by experienced urban designers from
both landscape and architectural
DPDS Consulting Group
Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old
Town, Swindon, Wilts SN1 4BJ
T01793 610222
[email protected]
CLes Durrant
Town planning, architecture,
landscape architecture and urban
design: innovative solutions in
masterplanning, design guidance
and development frameworks.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 51
Practice Index
DPP (Development Planning
Partnership) LLP
Audrey House, 16-20 Ely Place,
London EC1N 6SN
T020 7092 3600
F020 7404 7917
[email protected]
CRoger Mascall
Dualchas Building Design
Duisdale Beag, Sleat,
Isle of Skye IV43 8QU
T01471 833300
[email protected]
CLara Hinde
The Johnson Building, 77 Hatton
London EC1N 8JS
T020 3009 2100
[email protected]
CBill Hanway and Jason Prior
Express Networks Phase 2, 3 George
Leigh Street, Manchester M4 5DL
T0161 200 1860
5 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7AL
T0131 226 3939
Urban design, planning, landscape
architecture and economic
development services. Particular
expertise in market-driven
development frameworks.
Entec UK Ltd
Gables House Kenilworth Road,
Leamington Spa, Warwicks CV32 6JX
T01926 439 000
[email protected]
CNick Brant
Masterplanning, urban design,
development planning and
landscape within broad based
multidisciplinary environmental and
engineering consultancy.
38 A High Street, Alton,
Hampshire GU34 1BD
T01420 593250
CJohnny Rath
Dobson House, Northumbrian Way,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 0QW
T0191 268 3007
[email protected]
CNeil Taylor
Architectural design services from
inception to completion. Expertise
in transport, urban design,
masterplanning, commercial and
leisure projects.
Faulks Perry Culley
and Rech LLP
Lockington Hall, Lockington,
Derby DE74 2RH
T01509 672772
[email protected]
CTim Jackson
Integrated design and
environmental practice. Specialists
in masterplanning, urban and mixed
use regeneration, development
frameworks, EIAs and public
Practice Index
Feria Urbanism
Second Floor Studio, 11 Fernside Road
Bournemouth, Dorset BH9 2LA
T01202 548676
[email protected]
CRichard Eastham
Expertise in urban planning, master
planning and public participation.
Specialisms include design for the
night time economy, urban design
skills training and local community
Fletcher Priest Architects
Middlesex House, 34/42 Cleveland
London W1T 4JE
T020 7034 2200
F020 7637 5347
[email protected]
CJonathan Kendall
Work ranges from city-scale
masterplans (Stratford City, Riga) to
architectural commissions for highprofile professional clients.
Framework Architecture
and Urban Design
3 Marine Studios, Burton Lane,
Burton Waters, Lincoln LN1 2WN
T01522 535383
[email protected]
CGregg Wilson
Architecture and urban design. A
commitment to the broader built
environment and the particular
dynamic of a place and the design
opportunities presented.
Garsdale Design Limited
High Branthwaites, Frostrow,
Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5JR
T015396 20875
[email protected]
CDerrick Hartley
GDL provides masterplanning and
urban design, architecture and
heritage services developed through
25 years wide ranging experience in
the UK and Middle East.
Environment by Design
21 Carlton Court, Glasgow G5 9JP
T0141 420 8200
[email protected]
CBrian M Evans
T0161 928 7715
[email protected]
CJim Gibson
T01865 326789
[email protected]
CPaul F Taylor
Urban design, landscape
architecture, architecture, planning,
environmental assessment,
planning supervisors and project
G.M.K Associates
1st Floor Cleary Court,
169 Church Street East,
Woking, Surrey GU21 6HJ
T01483 729378
[email protected]
CGeorge McKinnia
52 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
10 Stratton Street, London W1J 8JR
T020 7911 2234
[email protected]
CChristopher Hall
Also at Birmingham and Manchester
Planning, development and urban
regeneration providing deliverable
design solutions from the strategic
regional scale to site specific.
Halcrow Group Ltd
44 Brook Green, Hammersmith
London W6 7BY
T020 7602 7282
[email protected]
CRobert Schmidt
Award winning consultancy,
integrating planning, transport and
environment. Full development cycle
covering feasibility, concept, design
and implementation.
Hankinson Duckett
HTA Architects Ltd
106-110 Kentish Town Road,
London NW1 9PX
T020 7485 8555
[email protected]
CJames Lord/Sally Lewis
Design-led housing and
regeneration consultancy offering
inter-disciplinary services including
architecture, masterplanning, urban
design, graphic design, landscape
design, sustainability and planning.
Hyland Edgar Driver
One Wessex Way, Colden Common,
Winchester, Hants SO21 1WG
T01962 711 600
[email protected]
CJohn Hyland
Innovative problem solving, driven
by cost efficiency and sustainability,
combined with imagination and
coherent aesthetic of the highest
The Stables, Howberry Park, Benson
Lane, Wallingford OX10 8BA
T01491 838 175
[email protected]
CBrian Duckett
An approach which adds value
through innovative solutions.
Development planning, new
settlements, environmental
assessment, re-use of redundant
Intelligent Space
60 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3TN
T020 7336 8030
[email protected]
CDavid Bickle
Multi-disciplinary architecture and
urban design practice specialising in
mixed-use regeneration, educational
masterplanning, sustainable rural
development frameworks, transport
infrastructure and public urban realm
HOK international Ltd
Qube, 90 Whitfield Street
London W1T 4EZ
T020 7636 2006
[email protected]
CTim Gale
HOK delivers design of the highest
quality. It is one of Europe’s leading
architectural practices, offering
experienced people in a diverse
range of building types, skills and
Holmes Partnership
89 Minerva Street, Glasgow G3 8LE
T0141 204 2080
[email protected]
CHarry Phillips
Urban design, planning, renewal,
development and feasibility studies.
Sustainability and energy efficiency.
Urban Design Team, National
Consultancy Unit, Central Business
414-428 Midsummer Boulevard,
Milton Keynes MK9 EA
T01908 692692
[email protected]
CLouise Wyman
Atkins, Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road
London NW1 3AT
T020 7121 2558
[email protected]
CElspeth Duxbury
Planning analysis and support,
pedestrian modelling, GIS and
specialists in retail and urban
Tower Bridge Court, 224-226 Tower
Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP
T020 7939 1375
[email protected]
CDan Bone
Multidisciplinary urban design,
masterplanning and architecture as
part of the integrated services of a
national consultancy.
Jenny Exley Associates
Butler’s Quarters, The Mews, Lewes
Danehill, East Sussex RH17 7HD
T0845 347 9351
[email protected]
CJonathan Sayers
Landscape architecture. Urban
design. Catalysts for transforming
sensitive urban realm and education
projects. Inspirational vision
underpinned by public workshops,
consultation, contextual analysis,
character assessment, contracts.
JMP Consulting
Audrey House, 16-20 Ely Place,
London EC1N 6SN
T020 7618 4149
[email protected]
CPaul Smith
Integrating transport, planning and
engineering, development planning,
urban design, environmental
assessment, water & drainage
throughout the U.K.
John McAslan & Partners
7-9 William Road, London NW1 3ER
T020 7727 2663
[email protected]
Architectural practice with
experience in delivering outstanding
design for urban infrastructure,
residential, commercial and mixeduse, historic, education, arts and
John Rose Associates
The Landscape Partnership
Tunnel Wharf, 121 Rotherhithe Street
London, SE16 4NF
T020 7252 0002
[email protected]
CJoanna Ede
Four offices undertaking urban
design, landscape design and
environmental planning with creative
approach to projects and emphasis
on place-making.
Berkeley Court, Borough Road
Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 1TT
T01782 382275
[email protected]
CJohn Rose
Analyses problems, prepares
briefs and creates bespoke
design solutions, which maximise
development opportunities, and
formulates sustainable strategies.
Landscape Projects
John Thompson & Partners
43 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD
T020 7383 5784
[email protected]
CJohn Grantham
Urban regeneration, landscape
design, masterplanning, sustainable
development, land use planning,
EIA, SEA in UK and overseas. London,
Glasgow and Bristol.
23-25 Great Sutton Street,
London ECIV 0DN
T020 7017 1780
[email protected]
CMarcus Adams
2nd Floor Venue studios, 15-21
Calton Road, Edinburgh EH8 8DL
T0131 272 2762
[email protected]
CAlan Stewart
Addressing the problems of physical,
social and economic regeneration
through collaborative interdisciplinary
community based planning.
Jon Rowland Urban Design
65 Hurst Rise Road, Oxford OX2 9HE
T01865 863642
[email protected]
CJon Rowland
Urban design, urban regeneration,
development frameworks, site
appraisals, town centre studies,
design guidance, public participation
and masterplanning.
31 Blackfriars Road, Salford,
Manchester M3 7AQ
T0161 839 8336
[email protected]
CNeil Swanson
We work at the boundary between
architecture, urban and landscape
design seeking innovative, sensitive
design and creative thinking.
Land Use Consultants
St Michael’s, Queen Street, Derby DE1
T01332 365777
[email protected]
CDerek Latham/ Jon Phipps
Urban regeneration. The creative
reuse of land and buildings.
Planning, landscape and
architectural expertise combining the
new with the old.
Lavigne Lonsdale Ltd
22 Hanover Square, London W1A 2BN
T020 7493 6040
[email protected]
CGuy Bransby
Other offices: Manchester, Leeds,
Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh
Providing commercially driven
planning advice to a range of public
and private sector clients through
our national offices. Specialising in
all areas of planning.
38 Belgrave Crescent, Camden
Bath BA1 5JU
T01225 421539
55 Lemon Street, Truro
Cornwall TR1 2PE
T01872 273118
[email protected]
CMartyn Lonsdale
We are an integrated practice of
Masterplanners, Urban Designers,
Landscape Architects and Product
Designers. Experienced in large
scale, mixed-use and residential
masterplanning, health, education,
regeneration, housing, parks, public
realm and streetscape design.
Kay Elliott
LDA Design
Jones Lang LaSalle
5-7 Meadfoot Road, Torquay, Devon
T01803 213553
[email protected]
CMark Jones
International studio with 30 year
history of imaginative architects
and urban designers, creating
buildings and places that enhance
their surroundings and add financial
14-17 Wells Mews, London W1T 3HF
T020 7467 1470
[email protected]
CJohn Phillipps
Multidisciplinary firm covering all
aspects of masterplanning, urban
regeneration, public realm design,
environmental impact and community
Levitt Bernstein Associates
1 Kingsland Passage, London E8 2BB
T020 7275 7676
[email protected]
CPatrick Hammill
Urban design, masterplanning, full
architectural service, lottery grant
bid advice, interior design, urban
renewal consultancy and landscape
LHC Urban Design
Design Studio, Emperor Way, Exeter
Business Park, Exeter, Devon EX1 3QS
T01392 444334
[email protected]
CJohn Baulch
Urban designers, architects and
landscape architects, providing an
integrated approach to strategic
visioning, regeneration, urban
renewal, masterplanning and
public realm projects. Creative,
knowledgeable, practical,
Lichfield Planning LLP
26 Westgate, Lincoln LN1 3BD
T01522 546483
51 Charlton Street, London NW1 1HY
T020 7388 3312
[email protected]
CSteve Kemp
Consultancy delivering integrated
and dynamic planning services
with expertise in sustainable
regeneration, masterplanning and
development frameworks. Extensive
experience in the UK and overseas.
Livingston Eyre Associates
35-42 Charlotte Road, London EC2A
T020 7739 1445
F020 7729 2986
[email protected]
CLaura Stone
Landscape architecture, urban
design, public housing, health,
education, heritage, sports.
Liz Lake Associates
Western House, Chapel Hill
Stansted Mountfitchet
Essex CM24 8AG
T01279 647044
[email protected]
CMatt Lee
Urban fringe/brownfield sites where
an holistic approach to urban design,
landscape, and ecological issues
can provide robust design solutions.
4 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
T00 353 1887 4448
[email protected]
CConor Norton
Urban design, architecture and
planning consultancy dedicated to
working for better places: places
with a real sense of identity, a better
quality of life.
LSI Architects LLP
The Old Drill Hall, 23 A Cattle Market
Street, Norwich NR1 3DY
T01603 660711
[email protected]
CDavid Thompson
Large scale masterplanning and
visualisation in sectors such as
health, education and business, and
new sustainable settlements.
MacCormac Jamieson
9 Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ
T020 7377 9262
[email protected]
CLiz Pride
Major masterplans to small, bespoke
buildings. Acclaimed contemporary
buildings designed for historic
centres of London, Cambridge,
Oxford, Bristol and Durham.
Macgregor Smith Ltd
Christopher Hse, 11-12 High St,
Bath BA1 5AQ
T01225 464690
[email protected]
CMichael Smith
A broad based landscape/urban
design practice with particular
emphasis on high quality prestige
landscape schemes.
Matrix Partnership
17 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R
T0845 313 7668
[email protected]
CMatt Lally
Masterplans, regeneration strategies,
development briefs, site appraisals,
urban capacity studies, design
guides, building codes and concept
Melville Dunbar Associates
The Mill House, Kings Acre,
Essex CO6 1NN
T01376 562828
[email protected]
CMelville Dunbar
Architecture, urban design, planning,
masterplanning, new towns, urban
regeneration, conservation studies,
design guides, townscape studies,
design briefs.
14-16 Cowcross Street, Farringdon,
London EC1M 6DG
Te020 7566 0450
[email protected]
CDavid Prichard/ Neil Deely
Metropolitan Workshop has
experience in urban design, land
use planning, regeneration and
architecture in the UK, Eire and
Metropolis Planning and
30 Underwood Street, London N1 7JQ
T020 7324 2662
[email protected]
CGreg Cooper
Metropolitan urban design solutions
drawn from a multi-disciplinary
studio of urban designers, architects,
planners, and heritage architects.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 53
Practice Index
1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn
London EC1N 2HG
T020 7822 2560
[email protected]
CLudovic Pittie
Integrated urban design, transport
and engineering consultancy,
changing the urban landscape in a
positive manner, creating places for
sustainable living.
Parkway Studios, Belmont Business
Park,232-240 Belmont Road,
Belfast BT4 2AW
T028 9076 8827
[email protected]
CJohn Eggleston
The planning and design of
the external environment from
feasibility stage through to detail
design, implementation and future
Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
14 Regent’s Wharf, All Saints Street,
London N1 9RL
T020 7837 4477
[email protected]
CNick Thompson
Also at Newcastle upon Tyne and
Urban design, masterplanning,
heritage/conservation, visual
appraisal, regeneration, daylight/
sunlight assessments, public realm
National Building Agency
Hatherton, Richard Avenue South,
Milltown Dublin 6
T00 353 1497 9654
[email protected]
CEoghan Ryan
Strategic planning, town centre
regeneration, urban design
frameworks, masterplanning urban
extensions, village planning, design
guidance and design briefs.
New Masterplanning Limited
2nd Floor, 107 Bournemouth Road,
Poole, Dorset BH14 9HR
T01202 742228
[email protected]
CAndy Ward
Our skills combine strategic planning
with detailed implementation,
design flair with economic rigour,
independent thinking with a
partnership approach.
NJBA Architects & Urban
4 Molesworth Place, Dublin 2
T00 353 1 678 8068
[email protected]
CNoel J Brady
Integrated landscapes, urban
design, town centres and squares,
strategic design and planning.
Novell Tullett
7 Unity Street, Bristol BS1 5HH
T0117 922 7887
E [email protected]
CMaddy Hine
Urban design, landscape
architecture and environmental
Practice Index
Paul Davis & Partners
Mozart Terrace, 178 Ebury Street
London, SW1W 8UP
T020 7730 1178
[email protected]
CPedro Roos
New Urbanist approach establishing
a capital framework with a
subsequent incremental approach.
Bridging the divide between urban
design and architecture.
Paul Drew Design Ltd
23-25 Great Sutton Street
London EC1V 0DN
T020 7017 1785
[email protected]
CPaul Drew
Masterplanning, urban design,
residential and mixed use design.
Creative use of design codes and
other briefing material.
The Paul Hogarth Company
Avalon House, 278-280 Newtownards
Road, Belfast BT4 1HE
T028 9073 6690
[email protected]
CJames Hennessey
Bankhead Steading, Bankhead Road,
Edinburgh EH30 9TF
T0131 331 4811
[email protected]
Integrated urban design and
landscape architecture practice,
providing masterplanning,
regeneration and public realm
consultancy to the public and private
PD Lane Associates
1 Church Road, Greystones,
County Wicklow, Ireland
T00 353 1287 6697
[email protected]
CMalcolm Lane
Urban design, architecture and
planning consultancy, specialising
in masterplanning, development
frameworks, site layouts,
applications, appeals, project coordination.
Pegasus House, Querns Business
Centre, Whitworth Road, Cirencester
T0128 564 1717
[email protected]
CMike Carr
Masterplanning, design codes,
sustainable design, development
briefs, development frameworks,
expert witness, community
involvement, sustainability appraisal.
Philip Cave Associates
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
T020 7250 0077
[email protected]
CPhilip Cave
Design-led practice with innovative
yet practical solutions to
environmental opportunities in urban
regeneration. Specialist expertise in
landscape architecture.
54 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
The Planit Group, 10-12 Cecil Road,
Hale, Cheshire WA15 9PA
T0161 928 9281
E [email protected]
CPeter Swift
99 Galgate,Barnard Castle,
Co Durham DL12 8ES
T0845 003 7755
[email protected]
CAndy Dolby
10 Summerhill Terrace,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6EB
CCraig van Bedaf
Masterplanning, site appraisal,
layout and architectural design.
Development frameworks, urban
regeneration, design codes, briefs
and design and access statements.
Pollard Thomas Edwards
Diespeker Wharf 38, Graham Street,
London N1 8JX
T020 7336 7777
[email protected]
CRobin Saha-Choudhury
Unit S204, Second Floor, Merchants
Court, Derby Square, Liverpool L2 1TS
T0151 703 2220
[email protected]
CRoo Humpherson
Masterplanners, urban designers,
developers, architects, listed building
and conservation area designers;
specialising in inner city mixed-use
high density regeneration.
Powell Dobson Urbanists
Charterhouse, Links Business Park
St Mellons, Cardiff CF3 0LT
T029 2079 9699
[email protected]
CJames Brown
Masterplanning, design frameworks,
design codes, town centre strategies,
housing renewal. A commitment to
people, places, sustainability, design
and delivery.
Pringle Brandon
10 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4QJ
T020 7466 1000
[email protected]
CAlison Anslow
Offices, hotels, workplace design.
Project Centre Ltd
Saffron Court, 14b St Cross Street,
London EC1N 8XA
T020 7421 8222
[email protected]
CDavid Moores
Landscape architecture, public realm
design, urban regeneration, street
lighting design, planning supervision,
traffic and transportation, parking
and highway design.
PRP Architects
10 Lindsey Street
London EC1A 9HP
T020 7653 1200
[email protected]
CAndy von Bradsky
Architects, planners, urban
designers and landscape architects,
specialising in housing, urban
regeneration, health, education and
leisure projects.
Quartet Design
The Exchange, Lillingstone Dayrell,
Bucks MK18 5AP
T01280 860500
[email protected]
CDavid Newman
Landscape architects, architects and
urban designers. Masterplanning,
hard landscape projects in urban
areas achieving environmental
Building 7, Michael Young Centre,
Purbeck Road, Cambridge CB2 2QL
T01223 271 850
[email protected]
CSheena MacCallum/Jon Burgess
Site specific design solutions related
to urban design and masterplanning;
site development briefs; public realm
design; historic buildings; community
Randall Thorp
Canada House, 3 Chepstow Street,
Manchester M1 5FW
T0161 228 7721
[email protected]
CPauline Randall
Masterplanning for new
developments and settlements,
infrastructure design and urban
renewal, design guides and design
briefing, public participation.
Random Greenway
Soper Hall, Harestone Valley Road
Caterham Surrey CR3 6HY
T01883 346 441
[email protected]
CR Greenway
Architecture, planning and urban
design. New build, regeneration,
refurbishment and restoration.
Redrow Urban Design
Redrow House, 6 Waterside Way,
The Lakes, Northampton NN4 7XD
T01604 601115
[email protected]
CIrina Merryweather
Richard Coleman
14 Lower Grosvenor Place,
London SW1W 0EX
T020 7630 4880
[email protected]
CDorthe Bendtsen
Advice on architectural quality,
urban design, and conservation,
historic buildings and townscape.
Environmental statements, listed
buildings/area consent applications.
Richards Partington
First Floor, Fergusson House
124 – 128 City Road, London EC1V 2NJ
T020 7490 5494
[email protected]
CSimon Bradbury
Urban design, housing, retail,
education, sustainability and
commercial projects that take
a responsible approach to the
environment and resources.
Whitely Farm, Ide Hill, Sevenoaks,
Kent TN14 6BS
T01732 741417
[email protected]
CRichard Reid
Lansdowne House, 57 Berkeley Square
London W1J 6ER
T020 7353 0202
[email protected]
CBen van Bruggen
Brunswick House,Brunswick Place,
Southampton SO15 2AP
T02380 713900
[email protected]
CPeter Frankum
Offices throughout the World
Savills Urban Design creates value
from places and places of value.
Masterplanning, urban design,
design coding, urban design advice,
planning, commercial guidance.
Robert Adam Architects
Saunders Partnership
Richard Reid & Associates
9 Upper High Street, Winchester
Hampshire SO23 8UT
T01962 843843
[email protected]
CPeter Critoph
World-renowned for progressive,
classical design covering town
and country houses, housing
development, urban masterplans,
commercial development and public
Roger Griffiths Associates
4 Regent Place, Rugby
Warwickshire CV21 2PN
T01788 540040
[email protected]
CRoger Griffiths
A quality assured landscape
consultancy offering landscape
architecture, land use
planning, urban design, project
implementation, EIA and expert
witness services.
at London, Birmingham, Bristol,
Swindon, Oxford, Durham
T0800 587 9939
[email protected]
Part of the RPS Group providing a
wide range of urban design services
including masterplanning and
development frameworks, design
guides and statements.
Rummey Design Associates
South Park Studios, South Park,
Sevenoaks Kent TN13 1AN
T01732 743753
CRobert Rummey
Masterplanning, urban design,
landscape architecture, architecture,
environmental consultancy.
Responsible place-making that
considers social, environmental and
economic issues.
Studio Four, 37 Broadwater Road,
Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 3AX
T01707 385 300
[email protected]
CMartin Williams
Scott Brownrigg Ltd
St Catherines Court, 46-48 Portsmouth
Road, Guildford GU2 4DU
T01483 568 686
[email protected]
CLuan Deda
Integrated service of architecture,
urban design, planning,
masterplanning, involved in several
mixed-use schemes regenerating
inner city and brownfield sites.
Scott Tallon Walker
19 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
T00 353 1 669 3000
[email protected]
CPhilip Jackson
Award winning international practice
covering all aspects of architecture,
urban design and planning.
3-4 Foxcombe Court, Wyndyke Furlong,
Abingdon, Oxon OX14 1DZ
T01235 468700
[email protected]
CPaj Valley/ Ken Jores
Also at Birmingham, Leeds, London,
Manchester, Plymouth
Urban design, planning, landscape,
economic and architectural
design expertise supported by
comprehensive multidisciplinary
Shaffrey Associates
29 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
T00 353 1872 5602
[email protected]
CGráinne Shaffrey
Urban conservation and design, with
a particular commitment to the
regeneration of historic urban
centres, small towns and villages,
including new development.
Sheils Flynn Ltd
Bank House High Street, Docking,
Kings Lynn PE31 8NH
T01485 518304
[email protected]
CEoghan Sheils
Award winning town centre
regeneration schemes, urban
strategies and design guidance.
Specialists in community consultation
and team facilitation.
Shepheard Epstein Hunter
Phoenix Yard, 65 King’s Cross Road,
London WC1X 9LW
T020 7841 7500
[email protected]
CSteven Pidwill
SEH is a user-friendly, awardwinning architects firm, known for
its work in regeneration, education,
housing, masterplanning, mixed-use
and healthcare projects.
Sheppard Robson
77 Parkway, Camden Town,
London NW1 7PU
T020 7504 1700
[email protected]
CCharles Scott
27th Floor, City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza
Manchester M1 4BD
T0161 233 8900
Planners, urban designers and
architects. Strategic planning, urban
regeneration, development planning,
town centre renewal, new settlement
Smeeden Foreman
8 East Parade, Harrogate HG1 JLT
T01423 520 222
[email protected]
CTrevor Foreman
Ecology, landscape architecture
and urban design. Environmental
assessment, detailed design,
contract packages and site
Soltys: Brewster Consulting
87 Glebe Street, Penarth,
Vale of Glamorgan CF64 1EF
T029 2040 8476
[email protected]
CSimon Brewster
Urban design, masterplans,
design strategies, visual impact,
environmental assessment,
regeneration of urban space,
landscape design and project
Space Syntax Limited
4 Huguenot Place, Heneage Street,
London E1 5LN
T020 7422 7600
[email protected]
CTim Stonor
Spatial masterplanning and
research-based design; movement,
connectivity, integration,
regeneration, safety and interaction.
Junction 41 Business Court, East
Ardsley, Leeds WF3 2AB
T01924 873873
[email protected]
CAdrian Spawforth
Urbanism with planners and
architects specialising in
masterplanning, community
engagement, visioning and
development frameworks.
Stuart Turner Associates
12 Ledbury, Great Linford,
Milton Keynes MK14 5DS
T01908 678672
[email protected]
CStuart Turner
Architecture, urban design and
environmental planning, the
design of new settlements, urban
regeneration and site development
studio | REAL
59-63 High Street, Kidlington, Oxford
T01865 377 030
[email protected]
CRoger Evans
Urban regeneration, quarter
frameworks and design briefs, town
centre strategies, movement in towns,
masterplanning and development
School of Construction & Property
Management, University of Salford
M5 4WT
T0161 295 5279
[email protected]
CRita Newton
Taylor Young Urban Design
Chadsworth House, Wilmslow Road,
Handforth, Cheshire SK9 3HP
T01625 542200
[email protected]
CStephen Gleave
T0151 702 6500
Urban design, planning and
development. Town studies, housing,
commercial, distribution, health and
transportation. Specialist in urban
design training.
Terence O’Rourke LTD
Everdene House, Deansleigh Road,
Bournemouth BH7 7DU
T01202 421142
[email protected]
Town planning, masterplanning,
urban design, architecture,
landscape architecture,
environmental consultancy, complex
urban design problems.
Terra Firma Consultancy
Cedar Court, 5 College Road
Petersfield GU31 4AE
T01730 262040
[email protected]
CLionel Fanshawe
Independent landscape architectural
practice with considerable urban
design experience at all scales from
EIA to project delivery throughout UK
and overseas.
Terry Farrell and Partners
7 Hatton Street, London NW8 8PL
T020 7258 3433
[email protected]
CDrew Nelles
Architectural, urban design, planning
and masterplanning services.
New buildings, refurbishment,
conference/exhibition centres and
visitor attractions.
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 55
Practice Index
Tibbalds Planning & Urban
19 Maltings Place, 169 Tower Bridge
Road, London SE1 3JB
T020 7089 2121
[email protected]
CAndrew Karski
Expertise in masterplanning
and urban design, sustainable
regeneration, development
frameworks and design guidance,
design advice.
Townscape Solutions
128 Park Road, Smethwick, West
Midlands, B67 5HT
T0121 429 6111
[email protected]
CKenny Brown
Specialist urban design practice
offering a wide range of services
including masterplans, site layouts,
design briefs, design and access
statements, expert witness and 3D
TP bennett LLP
One America Street, London SE1 0NE
T020 7208 2029
[email protected]
CMike Ibbott
Development planning, urban
design, conservation and
masterplanning – making places
and adding value through creative,
progressive, dynamic and joyful
Tribal Urban Studio Team
87 - 91 Newman Street, London W1T 3EY
Offices in the UK and Overseas
T020 7079 9120
[email protected]
CSimon Gray/ Simon Green
Tribal's Urban Studio team (formerly
the planning practice of Llewelyn
Davies Yeang) have expertise in
Urban Design, Master Planning,
Landscape Architecture, Planning,
Policy, Strategy and Sustainability.
Tweed Nuttall Warburton
Chapel House, City Road, Chester CH1
T01244 310388
[email protected]
CJohn Tweed
Architecture and urban design,
masterplanning. Urban waterside
environments. Community teamwork
enablers. Visual impact assessments.
Urban Design Futures
97c West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JP
T0131 226 4505
[email protected]
CSelby Richardson
Innovative urban design, planning
and landscape practice specialising
in masterplanning, new settlements,
urban regeneration, town and village
Education Index / Endpiece
Regent House 5-7 Melbourne Street,
Bedford MK42 9AX
T01234 353870
[email protected]
CBally Meeda
Graphic design and illustration
for urban design, planning and
transport. A range of projects
from desktop publishing reports to
exhibition and web design.
Urban Initiatives
1 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5HE
T020 7380 4545
[email protected]
CKelvin Campbell
Urban design, transportation,
regeneration, development planning.
Urban Innovations
1st Floor, Wellington Buildings,
2 Wellington Street, Belfast BT16HT
T028 9043 5060
[email protected]
CTony Stevens/ Agnes Brown
The partnership provides not only
feasibility studies and assists in site
assembly for complex projects but
also full architectural services for
major projects.
Urban Practitioners
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
T020 7253 2223
[email protected]
CAntony Rifkin
Specialist competition winning urban
regeneration practice combining
economic and urban design skills.
Projects include West Ealing and
Plymouth East End.
URBED (Urban and Economic
Development Group)
10 Little Lever Street,
Manchester M1 1HR
T0161 200 5500
[email protected]
CDavid Rudlin
26 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HR
T020 7436 8050
Urban design and guidance,
masterplanning, sustainability,
consultation and capacity building,
housing, town centres and
Vincent and Gorbing Ltd
Sterling Court, Norton Road,
Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2JY
T01438 316331
[email protected]
CRichard Lewis
Masterplanning, design statements,
character assessments, development
briefs, residential layouts and urban
capacity exercises.
W A Fairhurst & Partners
1 Arngrove Court, Barrack Road
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6DB
T0191 221 0505
[email protected]
CMiles Walker
56 — Urban Design – Winter 2010 – Issue 113
West & Partners
Isambard House, 60 Weston Street,
London SE1 3QJ
T020 7403 1726
[email protected]
CMichael West
Masterplanning within the
creative interpretation of socioeconomic, physical and political
urban parameters: retail, leisure,
commercial, residential.
WestWaddy: ADP
The Malthouse, 60 East St.Helen Street,
Abingdon, Oxon OX14 5EB
T01235 523139
[email protected]
CPhilip Waddy
Experienced and multi-disciplinary
team of urban designers, architects
and town planners offering a full
range of urban design services.
White Consultants
18-19 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3DQ
T029 2064 0971
[email protected]
CSimon White
A holistic approach to urban
regeneration, design guidance,
public realm and open space
strategies and town centre studies
for the public, private and community
Whitelaw Turkington
Landscape Architects
33 Stannary Street, London SE11 4AA
T020 7820 0388
[email protected]
CLindsey Whitelaw
16 Globe Road, Leeds LS11 5QG
T0113 237 7200
[email protected]
CGuy Denton
Urban regeneration, streetscape
design, public space, high
quality residential and corporate
landscapes. Facilitators in public
21 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3DQ
T029 2072 9000
[email protected]
CGordon Lewis
Also at London, Newcastle,
Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and
Regeneration and development
strategies, public realm studies,
economic development planning,
masterplanning for urban, rural and
brownfield land redevelopment.
Willie Miller Urban Design &
20 Victoria Crescent Road, Glasgow
G12 9DD
T0141 339 5228
[email protected]
CWillie Miller
Conceptual, strategic and
development work in urban design,
masterplanning, urban regeneration,
environmental strategies, design and
development briefs.
Willmore Iles Architects Ltd
267 Hotwell Road, Bristol BS8 4SF
T0117 945 0962
[email protected]
CAndrew Iles
Architecture, town planning, urban
design, campus development
frameworks. Architects and urban
designers with specialisms in
education and student residential
Yellow Book Ltd
3 Hill Street, Edinburgh EH3 8DG
T0131 225 5757
[email protected]
CJohn Lord
Place-making, urban regeneration
and economic development involving
creative and cultural industries,
tourism and labour market research.
Education index
Birmingham city University
Birmingham Institute of Art & Design
Corporation St, Birmingham B4 7 DX
T0121 331 5110
[email protected]
CJoe Holyoak
MA Urban Design. This course
enhances the creative and practical
skills needed to deal with the diverse
activities of urban design. Modes of
attendance are flexible: full-time,
part-time or individual modules
as CPD short courses. The course
attracts students from a wide range
of backgrounds.
Cardiff University
Welsh School of Architecture and
School of City & Regional Planning,
Glamorgan Building, King Edward V11
Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WA
T029 2087 5972/029 2087 5961
[email protected]
[email protected]
CAllison Dutoit/Marga Munar Bauza
One year full-time and two year parttime MA in Urban Design.
Edinburgh College of Art
School of Architecture
Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DF
T0131 221 6175/6072
CLeslie Forsyth
Diploma in Architecture and Urban
Design, nine months full-time.
Diploma in Urban Design, nine
months full time or 21 months parttime. MSc in Urban Design, 12 months
full-time or 36 months parttime. MPhil
and PhD, by research full and parttime.
Leeds Metropolitan
The Leeds School of Architecture,
Landscape and Design, Hepworth
House, Claypit Lane, Leeds LS2 8AE
T0113 283 2600 ext. 29092
[email protected]
CEdwin Knighton
Master of Arts in Urban Design
consists of one year full time or
two years part time or individual
programme of study. Shorter
programmes lead to Post Graduate
Diploma/Certificate. Project based
course focussing on the creation of
sustainable environments through
interdisciplinary design.
London South Bank
Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences,
103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA
T020 7815 7353
CBob Jarvis
MA Urban Design (one year full
time/two years part time) or PG Cert
Planning based course including
units on place and performance,
sustainable cities as well as project
based work and EU study visit. Part of
RTPI accredited programme.
Oxford Brookes University
Joint Centre for Urban Design,
Headington, Oxford OX3 0BP
T01865 483403
CGeorgia Butina-Watson/
Alan Reeve
Diploma in Urban Design, six months
full time or 18 months part time. MA
one year full-time or two years parttime.
Drum’n’pint of Bass
In UD 100 I reflected on the pleasures of
quietness in the city, and how rare and precious it is. More typically the city is a source
of various kinds of noise, which we celebrate
or complain about, according to inclination. Noise and quiet can in fact pleasingly
complement each other. The Sunday before
writing this I was eating cake at a garden
party in a quiet back garden in Moseley,
punctuated by occasional huge roars from
less than a mile away as Flintoff belted a six
and several fours.
But that is suburbia. One of the most
contentious issues in the repopulated city
centre is the conflict between established
music venues and residential newcomers,
a few of whom, at least, appear to expect
to enjoy the same quiet they would find in
the suburbs. In Birmingham this conflict
first showed in the case that ended with the
closure of the Fiddle and Bone in 2003. This
was a celebrated canalside pub, close to
Brindleyplace, which was created specifically
University College London
Development & Planning Unit, The
Bartlett, 34 Tavistock Square,
London WC1H 9EZ
T020 7679 1111
[email protected]
CSara Feys
MSc in Building and Urban Design
in Development. Innovative,
participatory and responsible design
in development and upgrading of
urban areas through socially and
culturally acceptable, economically
viable and environmentally
sustainable interventions. One year
full time or two years part time.
University of Greenwich
School of Architecture & Construction,
Avery Hill Campus, Mansion Site,
Bexley Road, Eltham, London SE9 2PQ
T020 8331 9100/ 9135
CRichard Hayward
MA in Urban Design for postgraduate
architecture and landscape
students, full time and part time with
credit accumulation transfer system.
University of Newcastle
upon Tyne
Department of Architecture, Claremont
Tower, University of Newcastle,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU
T0191 222 6004
CGeorgia Giannopoulou
MA/Diploma in Urban Design. Joint
programme in Dept of Architecture
and Dept of Town and Country
Planning. Full time or part time,
integrating knowledge and skills
from town planning, architecture,
as a live music venue by two musicians from
the CBSO (a violinist and a trombonist – get
it?). Residents of new apartments across the
canal, backed by their developer, eventually succeeded in having the pub’s licence
Currently the focus is on venues in Digbeth, an industrial area increasingly populated by places of entertainment and that
other kind of industry known as creative, and
on two pubs in particular, the Spotted Dog
and the Rainbow (amusingly painted black).
One new resident, in an apartment across the
street from the Spotted Dog, has complained
about the music from both pubs, and the City
Council has served Noise Abatement Orders
against them. The law appears to be loaded
grossly in favour of the complainant. It does
not matter if fifty other residents write to
say they are happy with the music, and that
is why they moved to Digbeth (they have).
Legally they don’t count.
Digbeth is the kind of place that is often
described as vibrant, a word that usually
means trouble. You might think that people
buying apartments here would know what
environment they could expect. You might
also think that housing developers would put
University of Strathclyde
Department of Architecture,
Urban Design Studies Unit,
131 Rottenrow, Glasgow G4 ONG
T0141 548 4219
[email protected]
COmbretta Romice
The Postgraduate Course in Urban
Design is offered in CPD,Diploma and
MSc modes. The course is design
centred and includes input from a
variety of related disciplines.
University of the West of
England, Bristol
Faculty of the Built Environment,
Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane,
Bristol BS16 1QY
T0117 328 3508
CMartin Boddy
MA/Postgraduate Diploma course in
Urban Design. Part time two days per
fortnight for two years, or individual
programme of study. Project-based
course addressing urban design
issues, abilities and environments.
University of Westminster
35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS
T020 7911 5000 x3341
[email protected]
CBill Erickson
MA or Diploma Course in Urban
Design for postgraduate architects,
town planners, landscape architects
and related disciplines. One year full
time or two years part time.
in high levels of sound insulation, and perhaps also think that the planning authority
would survey established music venues and
not allow new apartments to be built next to
them. None of these things appear to have
happened. The RDA commendably commissioned Atkins to write a report on how to
resolve the conflict between music venues
and new residents, which contains a series of
constructive recommendations. It remains to
be seen whether the City Council will deign
to take advice from the RDA.
I have designed a new roof, to keep the
decibels inside, for the yard at the back of
the Rainbow, which has just received planning approval (the pub also has music stages
in a factory building and a railway viaduct
arch). On August 1st the Rainbow held an
all-night fund-raising event (with special approval from the City Council). The street was
closed (it has a licence to do this five times
a year), marquees were erected, eight music
stages were in action, more than 3,000 attended. It felt like - this is how the city ought
to be. It was busy, noisy, colourful, vibrant.
Apparently nobody complained.
Joe Holyoak
Issue 113 – Winter 2010 – Urban Design — 57
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