What is urban design?

Urban design is the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process of shaping the physical setting for life in cities, towns and villages; the art of making places. Whereas architecture focuses on individual buildings, urban design also addresses the design of groups of buildings, or streets and public spaces, or whole neighbourhoods and districts.

The urban design service is concerned with ensuring that the growth and change that new development brings to our towns and villages is well designed, and acts to protect and enhance the built and natural environment to make our urban areas attractive, functional and sustainable.

The government also attaches great importance to the design of the built environment and has embedded this within the recent National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which makes clear that “Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute to making places better for people”.

A key role of the urban design service is therefore to assist in encouraging new development within the Borough that achieves a quality of design that both reinforces and enhances the characteristics of a place and meets the standards set out in the NPPF. This is facilitated by providing specialist design advice/input that is founded not only on the specific urban design issues associated with individual projects but also on a range of common principles & objectives and best practice that has been identified by highly respected national design organisations. The links provided will direct those interested to the range of guidance that is used.