Urban Update 17 August 2018


17 August 2018


International News and Research

Forthcoming Events

Career Opportunities



Urban Update is a free service from the Urban Design Group for all individuals and organisations who care about life in cities towns and villages - planners – landscape architects – architects – conservation practitioners - housebuilders - developers - engineers –surveyors – masterplanners  – managers - urban designers - urbanists – health professionals - politicians – citizens


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Does the DfT request to pause shared space schemes apply to residential streets, mews etc?  ….


Uncertainty continues…..


The DfT in its Inclusive Transport Strategy states We are requesting that local authorities pause any shared space schemes incorporating a level surface they are considering, and which are at the design stage  Some councils have now written to housebuilders and developers asking them to allow sufficient land in their schemes to provide streets with separate carriageways and footways.   


To date, the UDG has established from the DfT that: It is not the intention of the Inclusive Transport Strategy to prevent authorities implementing much-needed traffic management measures or public realm enhancements to improve pedestrian facilities and create better places. Other features often included in a shared space scheme, such as the minimal use of traffic signs and other traffic management related street furniture, removing traffic signals,  removing/modifying formal and informal crossings, raised side road entry treatments, continuous footways, table junctions and shared use routes for pedestrians and cyclists are often integral parts of other traffic management schemes. The use of these as standard traffic management features is not included in the request to pause level surface shared space schemes.


However the DfTs position on residential streets is that it is for the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government to advise.  The UDG has approached the MCHLG.   


At this stage it is wholly unclear whether or not the Department for Transport realised the level surface pause request in its inclusive transport strategy could be interpreted as including all level surfaces including residential streets and parking courts, and how this might impact on the housing delivery programme, viability calculations and the provision of affordable housing.



Garden Communities: Proposals Invited

The MHCLG has published a prospectus for further garden communities and invites proposals from local authorities or private sector with express local authority support

It seeks credible outline proposals which demonstrate consideration of.

  1. Delivery models and timescales
  2. Infrastructure requirements
  3. Opportunities to capture land value
  4. Access to finance and private sector investment

Proposals should be submitted via MHCLGs DELTA portal by 9 November 2018.




Forthcoming events


Expanding towns and smaller cities - A preview of the 2018 National Urban Design Conference

5 Sep 2018 - 6:15pm - 8:15pm


Walking and cycling strategies and design guidance: what's the point?

11 Sep 2018 - 6:15pm - 8:15pm


National Urban Design Conference 2018
Expanding Towns and Smaller Cities – Winchester Guildhall

20 Sep 2018 - 6:00pm - 22 Sep 2018 - 12:30pm

£20 discount for paid-up UDG Members use code MEMBER2018


Electric Vehicles - Infrastructure and Impact

11 Oct 2018 - 1:30pm - 5:00pm


Lessons from 2018 Study Tours to Stockholm & to Abruzzi - celebrating the mighty Alan Stones' last tour

17 Oct 2018 - 6:15pm - 8:30pm




Define : Gravesend Heritage Quarter



A close up of a map

Description generated with high confidence

This complex town centre scheme comprises a mix of retail (~200,000sqft) and residential (~320 residential units) alongside community facilities and widespread public realm improvements, in the immediate setting of a Grade 1 Listed Building, two Conservation Areas and numerous Grade 2* and Grade 2 Listed Buildings.  


Define were initially involved to audit an earlier scheme that failed to obtain planning permission and recommended an alternative approach to scheme concept and massing that would respond more favourably to the existing town assets (heritage, place and river). We were subsequently appointed to shape a new application, carrying out design advocacy, townscape and visual impact assessment and public realm design, which culminated in obtaining a planning permission in 2014. A key part of our involvement was to create a form of development that made stronger connections with the town and the river, with a modulation of building heights to visually frame the spire of the Grade 1 Listed St George’s Church. This task involved detailed modelling of existing built form and using verified visualisations (from land and river) to test and refine the proposed building massing. In addition, our creative interpretation of the rich history of the town and its relationship with the River Thames in a new public realm including new urban squares and a riverside park, was a central theme in members support of the application.



International News and Research



What is Perths identity?



Is Our Future Limited by Car-Friendly Urban Design?



Pune most livable followed by Navi Mumbai


If Mumbai is 3rd, others must be really bad


Hong Kong

How Hong Kongs homeless are kept out of sight by urban design



How the Parc de la Villette Kickstarted a New Era for Urban Design



Housing Green Paper Published: "A new deal for Social Housing"


Meet the street artist transforming Londons railway bridges into works of art


Calls to revive redundant Sheffield church


Planning boost for controversial Allies and Morrison Bath World Heritage scheme


Edinburgh city centre pedestrianisation and traffic plan a step towards a city thats fit for walking

Full details of consultation




Miami street could be blueprint for handling sea level rise


Urban Designers Kayak From Kent to Cleveland to Highlight Cuyahoga River's Importance and Recovery


Urban Ecological Consciousness at Wave Hill: shows dense, small-font text highlights an aesthetic challenge that confronts social practice art


Built Environment

How air conditioning created the modern city


Halfway to boiling: the city at 50C

Which cities are liveable without air conditioning?


Putting the empathy back in architecture


Who owns the space under cities? The attempt to map the earth beneath us


Dumb approach to a smart city


Construction Industry Council responds to Hackitt report (Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report)



New indicators explore the impact of the urban environment on peoples health


City Air Quality translated into number of cigarettes smoked per day



Department for Transport consults on whether an offense of causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced


Anger over official Conservative Party tweet claiming new laws will protect most vulnerable road users from cyclists


More than half of drivers don't look for cyclists and pedestrians before turning right


Pavement trips cost councils at least £2.1m in compensation


Baltimore repeals fire code rules to make room for bike lanes


People living in car-dependent communities become trapped as they lose the ability to drive  - how do you get to the shops how do you get  to medical appointments? NY Times Article



Natural Environment

Rook at this mess: French park trains crows to pick up litter


Its time to start planning for all the plants and animals that call our cities home


North American diets require more land than we have: Study


There can be no sustainable development without profound changes in food systems


Environmental regulations drove steep declines in US factory pollution


Half a degree less warming can avoid precipitation extremes


The value of seagrass in securing a sustainable planet


Politics and Economics

High street job losses mount with Homebase next in line for closures

Why we're susceptible to fake news, how to defend against it


Research and Technology

Article: The commercial space as an engine for urban regeneration: the main street program in the United States


Technological advancement, professionalisation, and building archaeology and conservation


MIT class designs a prototype building to demonstrate that even huge buildings can be built primarily with wood.



Black male youth more fearful when visiting whiter neighborhoods



Director to Graduate Urban Designers - Pegasus

Nationwide regional offices


Urban Designer - Glenn Howells Architects



Urban Designer - JTP



Masterplanner - OPEN (Optimised Environments Ltd)



Urban Designers / Masterplanners - Technical Director or Principal grade - SLR

London, Manchester Midlands (other offices considered in the North West or South East)


Senior Urban Design and Landscape Officer - Monmouthshire County Council

Usk County Hall


Assistant Urban Designer - JTP



Landscape/Townscape Consultant - Lichfields

Kings Cross, London


Design Advisor - Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Ebbsfleet, North Kent


Senior Urban Designer / Landscape Architect - Sustrans

Bristol or Reading


Urban Designers - Graduate to Associate Director - Savills Urban Design Studio

Southampton, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford


Development Control Urban Designer - Derbyshire County Council


Development Control Landscape Architect – Derbyshire County Council




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