Urban Update 17 May 2019


17 May 2019

  • Growing concern over climate change and global eco-system damage
  • 16 + jobs and opportunities
  • Latest National and International News and Research

Events next week and beyond….

People Friendly Big Streets

22 May 2019

Framework for Towns and Cities – Summit
5 June 2019

Full listing below


National Urban Design Conference 2019

Birmingham  26.27.28 September

Making People-Friendly Places

Call for Presentations

Be a part of this year’s conference!

Submit your ideas for a presentation by Sunday 26 May

More details



Latest News and Research

Energy and Climate Change

Phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to end UK contribution to global warming – Committee on Climate Change


Cambridge University exploring Geoengineering options to tackle climate change


Can geoengineering really help us solve the climate crisis? | New Scientist


Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

In Oslo 63% of GHG emissions are from transportation; in Hong Kong, about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to generating electricity almost entirely used in buildings..


A more Energy-Efficient Neighbourhood in Dubai mooted, as Emirate aims to increase renewable energy production to 44% by 2050


Public spaces which claim to be climate resilient


Shade – Its importance and the difficulties in providing it owing to the failure to run the urban environment as a system

This article talks about the difficult of introducing shade to combat deadly heat waves.   Problems arise at the system level:  for example, there are streets where bus shelters are effectively outlawed because of disruption to underground utilities, violating disability access codes which require a minimum width of clear footway, or blocking driveway sightlines.  Elsewhere there is a reluctance to plant trees owing to increased maintenance cost over blacktop and concrete (eg campuses that are typically 90 percent hard-surfaced), or conflict with CCTV cameras and overhead wires.    Architecture also comes in for criticism – a failure to provide shade in buildings, and a bias towards low-density.



Natural Environment

UN publishes warnings over ecological collapse


Nature's emergency: Where we are in five graphics

Habitat conversion from natural environments to agricultural production drives habitat loss.


Failed biosecurity to cost UK £15 Billion as Ash die-back costs mount, including cost of removal of dead trees through to damage to eco-system services



Built Environment

10 examples of public realm from Mexico (largely shade free and hard-surfaced)


The city designed by Leonardo da Vinci

Concepts involve a fusion of architecture and engineering, water-based transport, multi-level living, and ratios of street width to building height.


Indonesia is not the only country planning new cities


Canal focus for Birmingham Port Loop development


Photos reveal how east London docks went from slums of early 20th century to luxury flats


Sustainable Drainage Guidelines in shortly to be released in the forthcoming Sewers for Adoption 8 (England)

SfA8 will provide a formal route for the adoption of SuDS that allows water quality, amenity and biodiversity, as well as water quantity, to be properly considered and integrated into the surface water management and urban design process.  It will include installation, health and safety, maintenance and access requirements of both hard and soft SuDS as part of their designs.


It is thought that the 5 metre rule imposed by some highway authorities that blocks infiltration measures next to highways is to be dropped.  The rule was mistakenly carried over from the building regulations on the location of soakaways next to building foundations and led to the absurd position where highway authorities were refusing swales positioned next to the highway even though the tradition of creating ditches next to highways is over 2000 years old. 

Which public spaces do people want to be in and why? Research Review


Homes not boxes call



Politics, Philosophy, Economics

On the divide between London and the rest of England


Most depressed English communities 'in north and Midlands' | UK news | The Guardian


In Switzerland, Everyone’s an Urban Planner - To reimagine its largest public space, the Swiss city of Lausanne organized a citywide consultation


Life satisfaction ‘worse for those who social rent’ says ONS survey




White van traffic and ownership has doubled over the past 25 years as the economy has moved to online-retail and home-delivery

Pavement Parking Inquiry launched by House of Commons Select Committee


Report recommends creation of cross-city Glasgow Metro system


Legible Cities: The humanistic smart city model


‘Massively unfair’ gulf in bus fares between London and rest of England | UK news | The Guardian




Amazon Scout Delivery robots can now legally roam Washington sidewalks, with a permit


Amazon says fully automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away



Urban Nous videos


2 new videos from recent event hosted by Eric Firley

Scores of recorded lectures kindly provided by Fergus Carnegie.

Latest – Urban Design in China -check out the link above


2019 Events


People Friendly Big Streets

22 May 2019 :@HTA Design

Main streets used to be the most important, elegant, and fashionable parts of a town. The growth in vehicle traffic changed all that, bringing noise, pollution, severance and danger, along with the ugliness of traffic architecture, and a tendency to brutalise what were once fine streets with infrastructure that is wholly out of scale with the surrounding buildings.  Schemes such as Poynton have demonstrated that it is possible to accommodate significant flows of traffic, without the need for a trunk road style street environment. There are examples of boulevards in the UK and overseas that handle even higher levels of traffic. Yet conventional highway design remains wedded to multi-lane carriageways, complex signal-controlled junctions, and large land grabbing roundabouts.      

What can we do to humanise these vitally important spaces? Is there an answer to the health risk posed by air pollution and should we really be creating dense residential development along these corridors? Can we strike a compromise between traffic flow and liveabililty?  

6.30pm : Introduction by Simon Bayliss of HTA Design

Followed by four short presentations:

  • Graham Smith of Oxford Brookeswith an overview of the history of Distributor Roads and what other places are designing instead
  • Chris Martin of Urban Movement on the role of big streets within an urban context and sharing modal priorities
  • Duncan Berntsen of Medway Council on humanising an existing dual carriageway into a linking urban avenue to connect the Medway Towns
  • Nicholas Boys Smith of Create Streets and acting chair of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission on looking forward with ideal qualities of a successful big streets

7.30pm : 30 minute panel discussion and discussion


A Framework for Towns and cities - Summit

The Gallery, 70 Cowcross St., London EC1M 6EJ

Wed, 05/06/2019 - 6:15pm - 8:15pm

How to align legislation, policies, design guidance, practices and technical standards to ensure sustainable development and healthy, happy citizens.

Most people will have heard of cases of masterplans being approved in planning, the street layout being approved by highway authority development control and then being rejected by the technical approval and adoption section of the council, with the final scheme abandoning the people-friendly vision in favour of an environment designed for vehicles.

This is just one example of the sorts of conflicts that occur that are defeating the goal of creating people-friendly places.  It can start at the strategic level with the planning system being unable to bring forward sites that are sustainably located. It goes right down to the detailed level, with problems with planting trees or introducing sustainable drainage systems.

The objective of this event is to discuss how to move towards a system for the planning, design, engineering and management of towns and cities that works well together, and works consistently towards high level objectives, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, central government policies and statutory duties on issues such as climate change, human rights and equality.

  • How can technical standards be drawn up so that they don’t conflict with each other?
  • How can decision making by different sections of public authorities be made consistent with each other?
  • What funding systems are needed to encourage great design and liveability?
  • How can local authorities be encouraged to make the essential updates to their guidance and standards necessary to align with current central government policies and statutory duties?
  • How can urgent objectives for improving public health, or adapting and preventing climate change be translated into action?


6.15  Expert Panel Presentations and Discussion

7.15  Workshop session

8.00  Feedback

8.15  Close

Tickets available on Eventbrite


Calls for Papers

Designing for utopia or dystopia? People and planetary health at a crossroads

14-15 October 2019
Royal College of Physicians, London, UK 

Deadline 2May 2019



Transport for New Homes


Historic Towns and Villages Forum


Buxton: Resilient Cultural Heritage & the Role of the Visitor Economy


Thursday 23rd May 2019

York: Planning for the future with heritage in mind

Thursday 27th June 2019


IHBC Annual School – Nottingham 2019

Heritage, Risk & Resilience confronting conservation calamities
Fire – Flood – Structural Failure


Urban Design London

Designing Liveable Neighbourhoods

5 June

Academy of Urbanism

AoU Congress Eindhoven – A Place to Call Home: Urbanism and affordable housing

June 20 - June 22

Centre for Cities


The end of austerity? Derby after 2020

16 May 2019

Community Land Trust

Future of London


Summer Conference: Water Works

20 June, 8:45 am – 6:00 pm

Good Homes Alliance


Kent Design


2019/20 programme now published

Landscape Institute

Museum of Walking


Nottingham Urban Room

Nottingham Design Quality Framework – Event 2
– Street Design Guide Launch Event

20 May 2019 - 5:30pm - 9:00pm


Place Alliance




Design Review Panel - Southwark Council


Townscape Consultant/Landscape Architect and Urban Designer - Lichfields


Townscape Professionals - Turley

London / Manchester

Associate Director of Masterplanning and Urban Design - Tyréns UK


Director of Masterplanning and Urban Design - Tyréns UK


Urban Designer - Tyréns UK


Planner / Urban Designer - Urban Initiatives Studio

Farringdon, London

Panel Members - Cornwall Design Review Panel

St Austell, Cornwall

Urban Design Officer - Medway Council

Chatham, Kent

Urban Designers - Terence O'Rourke Ltd


Infrastructure Officer, Project Delivery Support - Sustrans


Infrastructure Officer, Project Delivery - Sustrans


Infrastructure Coordinator, Project Delivery Support - Sustrans


Experienced Layout / Urban Designer - Pegasus


Urban Designer - Lambert Smith Hampton

Central London

Design Advisors + Training Manager - Design South East

London / Kent


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