2020 Student Award Judges

With many thanks to our judges of the National Urban Design Awards 2020 in the Student category.

   Graham Smith, Chair


Formerly Principal/Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Oxford Brookes University and Joint Centre for Urban Design. Graham has a career long experience in teaching, writing and contributing to urban design, architecture and fine art. Graham is interested in the user-experience of architecture, the layout and design of movement in public space, the experience of people within it and the levels of risk they are exposed to. Seeing the highway more as a ‘seam’ than a barrier, a place connecting people and activities and therefore in challenging the orthodoxy which continues to see the highway as predominantly for motorised vehicular movement.



   Hannah Smart, Edge Urban Design


Winner of the Oxford Property Festival Young Person of the Year for 2018 and judge for the 2019 awards, Hannah is a leader in her field and promotes high-quality development and regeneration. Hannah featured in the BBC 2 documentary “The Newbuilds are Coming”, which followed a housing development through the Planning System. She is Director of Edge Urban Design and has successfully designed and delivered mixed-use masterplans of between 1 and 20,000 units in the South East, predominantly Oxfordshire, and also frequently teaches Urban Design, Landscape and Architecture at The University of Sheffield.

"It was fantastic to see the variety and volume of entries to this years awards which made the task of judging many great entries challenging and stimulating for the judging panel. We were delighted by the response to the call for entries and very encouraged to see not only the great work being produced by students in the UK but also to see the interest in the UDG Student Awards growing year by year."


   Laura Alvarez, Nottingham City Council


Laura is a Senior Principal Urban Designer and Conservation Officer at Nottingham City Council, where she is developing the Design Quality Framework for the City, which includes bringing together various partnerships to co-create the design guides, and establishing changes to planning and engagement processes for the city. Laura launched and co-runs the Urban Room acting as the lead Curator and is the East Midlands Convenor for the Urban Design Group.

“This year’s entries have demonstrated how varied and focused the field of Urban Design can be. Submissions showcased innovation in dealing with a number of serious issues such as climate change, human behaviours, health and social justice. It was refreshing to have a glimpse of what future professionals are thinking, and how their imagination and creativity could change the way we live.”   



   Yann Leclercq, Dar


Yann is an Associate urban designer and planner with Dar. He has led the delivery of regeneration strategies, new urban extensions and city-wide spatial development strategies of a variety of scales across the World. He was most recently responsible for a series of industrial masterplans in Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria.

“It was a genuine honour and a big responsibility to have been invited to be a judge on this year's student entries. It is great to see genuine emerging talent with new ideas and such a variety of different approaches. I would encourage students to participate as we all learn and see new things from the entries!”


   Louise Thomas, TDRC Ltd


Louise Thomas is the director of urban design consultancy TDRC Ltd, established in 2004, and has held senior roles in major planning and urban design companies in the UK.  She is also Director of the Historic Towns & Villages Forum, based at Kellogg College, Oxford. Louise is the co-editor of the Urban Design Group’s quarterly journal Urban Design, and a Trustee of the Francis Tibbalds Trust and Oxford Civic Society. She teaches post-graduate urban design and urban planning Master’s programmes at the University of Westminster, London. Her passions lie in urban design, development processes and the public’s involvement in shaping places.

“This year’s awards demonstrated the amazing opportunities available to students to explore and respond to urban design’s changing context.  The best projects were outstanding because they dealt well with uncertainty, ways of influencing others, and creating a vision which was both broad-brush, as well as detailed in its intentions. It is reassuring that newer urban designers are thinking in physical, environmental, economic and social terms.”


   Alan Thompson, A P Thompson Built Environment Consultancy


Alan is a RIBA and RIAS registered architect and client advisor who has 25 years’ experience in Architecture and Urban Design and is Principal of A P Thompson Built environment Consultancy. Alan acquired expert design advisory skills while serving as a Senior Government Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and as Head of Design Review at the UK Design Council. He has chaired and served on many juries for national award schemes, including: the Housing Design Awards, the Landscape Institute Awards and the Academy of Urbanism Great Streets Awards.