An Urban Design Manifesto for the Government
The Urban Design Group (UDG) has successfully campaigned since 1978 for urban design to be on the national agenda. The need for high standards of urban design is at last almost universally accepted. What are still missing are the skills, practices and frameworks on which good design depends.
The UDG is focusing on what needs to be done to put these in place. We urge the government to give high priority to implementing the following 12-point programme:
Put Design at the Heart of the New Planning System
1 Vision plans
Require local planning authorities to produce an urban design vision plan as an integral part of every local development framework.
2 Development briefs
Require planning authorities to produce and approve supplementary planning guidance explaining how they will deal with design matters such as development briefs and design statements. A development brief should be prepared for every site larger than 0.5 hectares that the local authority has identified for development.
Integrate Planning and Transport
Unite decision-making on planning and transportation throughout all levels of government from cabinet down.
4 Public realm strategies
Require local authorities to prepare public realm strategies that integrate planning and transport matters into a single policy vehicle for the public realm. Local communities must be involved in this process. Such strategies must set out how the quality of design and the maintenance of streets and squares will be improved to make them more attractive, safer, cleaner and greener.
Develop Urban Design Skills
5 Urban designers
Ensure that every local authority employs at least one urban designer by 2007, to support more effective planning and higher design standards.
Set up a bursary scheme to help professionals study for postgraduate qualifications in urban design through universities that already offer diploma and masters courses in the subject. The professionals would come from a variety of backgrounds, such as planning, architecture, engineering, surveying and landscape architecture. The scheme, run on the lines of the ODPM’s bursary scheme for postgraduate planning courses, could be linked to local authorities’ performance through the planning delivery grant.
Promote Sustainable Development
Insist that every new neighbourhood should be within a 10-minute walk of a station or bus stop, and that existing neighbourhoods are within a 10-minute walk of new or extended public transport routes.
Encourage the re-use of existing buildings by zero-rating VAT on repairs and restoration.
9 Greener buildings and spaces
Introduce measures to encourage investment in sustainable development through renewable energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and increased biodiversity.
Champion Urban Design
10 Design champions
Require every local planning authority to appoint a design champion with responsibility for the built environment and public spaces at cabinet level.
Support the Academy for Sustainable Communities in promoting design skills, CABE in championing design, CABE Space in championing public space, and the Urban Design Alliance (UDAL) in breaking down the silos between the professions and in promoting collaboration between professional disciplines on every major project.
12 Public spending
Require those responsible for all public expenditure on buildings and infrastructure to provide evidence of how they will ensure high design standards.
How to Join
To join the UDG, all you need to do is download this form and return it by one of the following means:
Urban Design Group,
70 Cowcross Street,
If you are joining the UDG as a practice or education member, you should also complete this form and return it with the main membership application form above.
To apply to become a Recognised Practitioner in Urban Design, you should download the following application form and guidelines:
Urban Design Jobs
Upcoming UDG Events
Unless otherwise stated, all events are held in The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ at 6.30 pm.
Tickets can be purchased at the door from 6.00pm: £3.00 for UDG members and £7.00 non-members; £1.00 for UDG member students and £3.00 non-member students.