Urban Design 113 - Winter 2010

Local authorities and urban design


Publication date: 01 January 2010


The role of local authorities in framing their area’s environment is rarely mentioned other than through some form of criticism.  Yet in many instances they have a very positive - though rarely recognised - influence. This issue ofUrban Design celebrates the contributions made by a cross-section of public authorities to improve the quality of design. Tim Hagyard, himself a Development Control Manager in a district authority, has assembled a collection of articles which show the  variety of initiatives taken by authorities not just in England but also in Wales and Scotland. These range from the now venerable Essex Design Guide for Residential Areas - still influential today - through the continuous work of the County Council’s Built Environment Branch, to urban design training for Fife’s officers and members; and from Design Review Panels to Design Champions in various guises. What these articles show is that there is an array of reflection and leadership in the public sector, without which implemented schemes would not achieve an acceptable level of quality. If overall standards have improved in the past few years, it is as a result of the work outlined in the pages of this issue.


Urban Design also has a new image; following consultation with the readership the magazine has a fresher, crisper and more up-to-date image. It has also a  few extra pages to accommodate the student projects presented by students of Master courses in urban design.


The fact that Urban Design is of international interest is shown by the contributions made by overseas authors, in this case from Argentina and Israel. And to challenge a possibly too comfortable urban design orthodoxy, Darryl Chen has produced a series of annotated sketches.


As usual there is more in this issue of Urban Design; a contribution from CABE and the regular interview of one of our members, book reviews and reports of events, plus the usual Endpiece by Joe Holyoak