Urban Update 5 September 2019



5 September 2019


·       Climate change crisis

Local authorities across England threatened with legal action unless they introduce new climate change plans

Can you create a sustainable settlement in an unsustainable location?

·       Parking in Towns and Cities – ½ day conference £7 for members

·       Urban Design Directory – Featured Scheme - Crab Hill, Wantage – Optimised Environments (OPEN) Ltd

·       NHS Healthy New Towns Report: Putting Health into Place

·       National Urban Design Conference – 2 weeks left to book

·       Many new career opportunities

·       September – October – November events list:

Newcastle - Brighton - Nottingham - Manchester  - Birmingham - London


UDG AGM 6.00pm 26 September 2019 Birmingham

As part of the 2019 National Urban Design Conference

Election of UDG Executive and Honorary Officers

To receive and approve the Annual Report and Accounts

If you would like to stand for election to the UDG Executive for the 2019-2020 session please contact the UDG Office administration@udg.org.uk


Climate Change Crisis

Government’s target for ‘net-zero’ by 2050 undeliverable unless clean growth policies introduced

House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report raises concerns over the abandonment of policies that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the closure of grant schemes intended to promote sustainable energy; and the  abandonment of the vehicle fuel price escalator, against year on year increases in the cost of public transport.

The report calls for a number of measures including:

·        Strategy for decarbonising heat

·        Incentive scheme for energy efficiency home improvements

·        Plan for reducing vehicle emissions

·        Support for onshore wind and solar power

·        Removal of greenhouse gases

·        Support for local authorities – including a statutory duty to create “emission reduction plans”

The BBC in its coverage of the report focussed on the challenge of motor vehicles


“A government strategy should aim to reduce the overall number of vehicles required, the report says.

  • Promoting and improving public transport
  • Reducing the cost of public transport relative to driving
  • Encouraging vehicle usership in place of ownership (car sharing, car hire and taxis)
  • And boosting walking and cycling.”

The AA responded that the committee had underestimated the contribution new technology could make in reducing emissions.   But have they?   The energy used by a vehicle is a combination of air resistance, rolling resistance, losses in the powertrain, and losses in braking: every time the brakes are applied, the energy in the motion of the car (its kinetic energy) is lost as heat.  The development of electric vehicles, hydrogen or battery powered, with regenerative braking will reduce the energy lost in braking, but the energy used in overcoming air resistance and rolling resistance will remain unchanged.  And there are no new technologies in sight that can help.   Developing renewable energy sources to replace the entire energy supply for heating and cooling, transport, industry and food, is a huge challenge: not one that can be dreamed away by magical thinking.    Energy used for heating can be slashed.  We have the technology for very low energy buildings.  But true low energy vehicles will be illusive.  The answer is to address hypermobility.


What type of urban design can tackle car-dependency?

A website developed by UCL shows the 2011 UK census data in map form, including use of car as the method of travel to work.  The link below will open a map centred on Northampton including Upton, feted as an exemplar development, with great attention having been paid to layout, public realm, sustainability of buildings, SUDS etc.  Despite this, It has the same levels of car dependency as the adjoining estates.  It is located within a motorway-dual carriageway superblock.  60 and 70 mph highways are almost on the doorstep. And the surround retail development is car-based too.  Car dependency in this location is almost inevitable.


Colour code – white: least reliant on cars for journeys to work     red: most reliant


Use this link to view the map in detail



Explore the rest of the map to see where people walk, cycle, drive or use public transport to get to work.


Roger Evans, in campaigning for strategic urban design, has highlighted the problem that we are building on isolated, poorly connected sites, rather than creating coherent, sustainable urban form.  This UCL website provides clear evidence in support of his views.  Low car-use developments are found in or close to town and city centres, or in cities where there is a strong walking and cycling culture. 


Urban design has a vital role to play in reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, but it is urban design in its truest sense: about towns and cities understood as a system that provides the full range of activities and uses that form part of human life.  It is not about car dependent monoculture greenfield residential estates, irrespective of whether they are badged as sustainable, eco or garden.  Greek philosophers used to discuss whether it is possible to live a good life in a corrupt state.  We need to ask whether it is possible to live a sustainable life within an unsustainable society, or to create a sustainable settlement in an unsustainable location.


The evidence from the 2011 census is that almost all greenfield development has been car dependent.  One can make a pedestrian and cycle friendly development, but if it is in a location where car-use is essential, then people will use cars.    If you know of any recent greenfield schemes that are achieving high levels of walking and cycling, and low levels of car use, please let the UDG know.


Climate Earth Lawyers threaten legal action against 100 local authorities across England unless they introduce new climate change plans




Climate crisis: Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280m people, UN warns | The Independent



Greenland's ice faces melting 'death sentence'



Climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in Europe — European Environment Agency


Value of EU agricultural output predicted to fall by 16 per cent over the next 30 years.


Are we heading towards a global water crisis? | BBC



Parts of northern England could run dry by 2035, report reveals | UK news | The Guardian



Next UDG London Event

Parking in towns and Cities

17 September   ½ day conference

·        How can the need for parking provision be reduced? And what is the right level to go for?

·        What pricing options are there?

·        How can the land we currently use for parking be put to better use?

·        Find the answers to these and many more questions at the forthcoming half day conference.

·        Are some parking layouts more efficient than others?


Find out the answers to these questions and more at this half day conference organised in partnership with London Living Streets.



·        Parking pricing, and subsidies & update on Centre for London research on 'Future parking and kerbside management'
Martin Wedderburn, Transport Planning Society & Silviya Barrett, Centre for London

·        Towns for people or towns for parked cars?
Amanda Reynolds, AR Urbanism & Urban Design Group

·        Integrating transport planning and land use planning, health and liveability
Jenny Raggett, Transport for New Homes  

·        History of the highway - how the car came to dominate
David Harrison, London Living Streets

·        Space to Park - best design for parking
David Birkbeck, Design for Homes


Tea Break

·        Workplace Parking Levy
Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden (including Transport)

·        Innovations in car parking and urban design - Vauban and beyond
Emma Griffin, Independent Journalist and Campaigner

·        Reimagining streets without parked cars
Brenda Peuch, Streets for People 

·        Rethinking parking restrictions and legislation
Julian O’Kelly, British Parking Association 

17.00 Close


Members, Public Sector/Local Authorities, Students £7

Non-members £20




Next UDG North East Event

Wednesday 18th September

6-8pm @ The Gallery, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Newcastle University, NE1 7RU


Town Centre Living:

A Caring Place

Diarmaid Lawlor, Architecture & Design Scotland

Rose Gilroy, Newcastle University

This talk, jointly hosted by the Landscape Institute North East and Urban Design Group, will be given by Diarmaid Lawlor, Director of Place at A&DS. Diarmaid will be discussing A&DS’ recently published report “Town Centre Living: A Caring Place”. Our demographic future is one in which people are living longer and although this is undoubtedly positive, it also challenges us to think about how we ensure that we live not only longer but that we live well. The report puts forward 10 Principles of a Caring Place which place user needs at the heart of decision-making, service provision and investment in our places.


Following Diarmaid’s talk we will also hear from Rose Gilroy, Professor of Ageing, Planning and Policy in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University. Professor Gilroy will talk about her research which challenges the dominance of chronology and promotes building houses for all ages.


Free registration:



National Urban Design Conference 2019

26.27.28 September - Birmingham

Making People-Friendly Places


Design Quality Summit now sold out – sorry


Well over 20 local authorities already represented at the conference

Local authority officers and members can attend for just £35 inclusive, thanks to generous sponsorship.


·        Design Quality Summit - now 2/3rds booked

·        UDG AGM

·        Urban Design Fest

·        Main Conference

  • Making People Friendly Towns and Cities
  • Frameworks and Strategies for People Friendly Places
  • Designing with and for People: Understanding Human Need and Behaviour
  • Designing with and for People: Towards Urban Environments that Work
  • Paying for and Profiting from People Friendly Places

·        Guided Walks

·        Conference Dinner

·        Exhibition


Sponsored tickets available for Local Authority / Public Sector from just £35 thanks to support from:


GreenBlue Urban




Barton Willmore



Boyer Planning

Glenn Howells Architects




Take part in the Conference’s Poster Session

Do you have a great idea on how to transform cities or streets?  Or meet the challenges of the climate emergency?  Or some innovation that would make places truly people friendly? 


This is your chance to get your idea noticed.


Send a poster illustrating designs, products, visions, views or just crazy ideas for the unimaginable, futuristic or innovative, which are free from any constraints.


  • A sample of entrants will be chosen to give 2 minute presentations at the Urban DesignFest on Thursday 26 September at a session chaired by Paj Valley
  • All entrants will receive a 25% discount to the member price ticket for entrance to the National Urban Design Conference Friday 27 September session, and will be invited to display their poster on the UDG website, and a further selection invited to bring their A2 posters for display in the main exhibition area of the conference.

If you would like to take part please send your entry as soon as possible  to: Administration@udg.org.uk Include your name, organisation, contact details and title of your poster. Pdf no larger than 5MB please.


Deadline midnight, Thursday 5 September 2019 


Urban Design Directory
Featured Project

Crab Hill, Wantage – Optimised Environments (OPEN) Ltd

Crab Hill is one of the South-East’s most significant strategic housing projects. Due to its location, scale and the inherent qualities of the site it presents a great opportunity to develop a high quality, sustainable mixed-use development. OPEN led the masterplanning process for Land Improvement Holdings (LIH) which involved the delivery of representations to the emerging Core Strategy and the preparation of a successful Outline Application securing permission for up to 1500 residential units, combined with a primary school, a neighbourhood centre and other supporting mixed uses.


Following the successful site promotion and Outline Application, OPEN were subsequently appointed by the landowners’ development partner St Modwen to clear conditions and provide masterplanning and design services for the infrastructure works and significant areas of public open space and landscape.


The site is located on the urban edge of Wantage and extends to around 90ha. The site abuts both an AONB and a green wedge identified as important in preventing coalescence; OPEN’s Landscape and Visual Assessment as part of the Environmental Assessment was therefore critical in ensuring a sensitively designed masterplan with embedded mitigation emerged. Meaningful consultation with both the adjacent local community and Vale of the White Horse District Council officers ensured that an acceptable approach to the sensitive edge conditions was agreed, particularly where existing residential properties back onto the site.




News and Research

Politics, Philosophy, Economics

Investors in Kevin McCloud's projects told they could lose 74% and 97% of their money in a worst-case scenario.



New Zealand scraps KiwiBuild affordable homes target



Humans, Health, Society

Healthy New Towns Report: Putting Health into Place


The report stresses the importance of location… “development should be focussed in the most sustainable places”  “choose locations suitable for public transport”  “choose sites where it could be easy to get around by walking and cycling”.  These are the very sites that the current planning system is not able to deliver.  Most of the healthy new towns that the NHS were given to work on are in locations that are inherently car-dependent.


Recommendations on design include:

·        Create compact neighbourhoods

·        Create compact and connected places

·        Design places and services to maximise use and impact

·        Practise inclusive design

·        Design multi-functional green spaces

·        Maximise active travel 

·        Embed active travel from the earliest stages of planning

·        Design active travel to meet local needs


Race and Class in safety on streets an urban design issue

An article recording how the most dangerous streets, both in terms of crime and pedestrian and cyclist safety are in the poorest and often most racially segregated areas



Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Amazon paying “the square root of diddly-squat” in UK tax according to critics



Investors in Kevin McCloud's projects told they could lose 74% and 97% of their money in a worst-case scenario.



New Zealand scraps KiwiBuild affordable homes target




New car-free school in Leeds will have no parking spaces

If approved it will complement a zero-carbon neighbourhood already under development near the Royal Armouries Museum,



Motorists Lavished With 60% Of Manchester's Transport Space Despite Doing Only 13% Of Journeys



Auckland Roads and Streets Framework Published



Urban Nous videos



Improving the Process used to identify land for development - New

Paul Reynolds, Urben



Why are well conceived urban design masterplans so rarely realised?

Katja Stille, Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design



Scores of recorded urban design lectures kindly provided by Fergus Carnegie


2019 Events


Parking in towns and cities

17 Sep 2019 - 1:00pm - 5:00pm


National Urban Design Conference 2019



City Resilience  & BS67000

16 October  (diary date)


Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture

Professor Kate Jeffery, UCL

14 November


Transport for New Homes


New housing and public transport: making the connection
Mon 9 September 2019, 6pm – 8pm

The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EL


Historic Towns and Villages Forum


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

Thursday 17th October 2019


Autumn School: Making Places

Strategies for Managing Major Traffic Routes through Historic Towns and Villages

Monday 14th &Tuesday 15th October,

County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford SG13 8DP


Booking on….



York: Keyhole Surgery - Increasing the Capacity and Performance of Historic Centres

Thursday 21st November 2019




From Bauhaus to Brutalism and Beyond:
Conserving Post-War Buildings and Places’,

Wednesday 2 Oct - London



Urban Design London



Design Review: the User’s Perspective

11th September


Applying London Plan Polices

25 September


Bringing Active Travel to Life

1 October


Understanding Good Design and How it can Help

30 October


Academy of Urbanism

Design for Living conference – Watch online



4x4 Manchester

29 October


Centre for Cities


What future for the British High Street

12 September


Housing supply and affordability in high demand cities

17 September


Civic Voice



Future of London


Council-Led Housing Forum – Winning resident support23 July

24 September, 1.45-5.00 pm


Good Homes Alliance


Delivering Net Zero and Future Homes

19 November – London


Kent Design


Achieving Better Design – What Can Councillors Do?

10 September




Visit to Stratford, London Spotlight on key developments

September 2019


Landscape Institute



Empowering parks for the 21st Century

26th September – Birmingham


attend this and follow on with the National Urban Design Conference UrbanDesign Fest in the evening!


London Living Streets

Extinction Rebellion & Stop Killing Cyclists - The National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist & Die-In.

7 September


Safe Routes to School

16 September



Parking in Towns and Cities

17 September


Museum of Walking


Walks continue through September


Nottingham Urban Room



Understanding the Planning Process in Nottingham

14 November



The Developer and the Planning System

25 November



Association of Regional Urban Design Officers

Empty shops: What happens in Nottingham?

9 October  10am-3pm



Place Alliance



RTPI North West

Planning and Mental Health

10 September – Manchester



Healthy City Design 2019

Designing for utopia or dystopia?

People and planetary health at a crossroads

Royal College of Physicians, London, UK,

14–15 October 2019





Senior Urban Designer / Associate - Tibbalds


Urban Designer - North West Leicestershire District Council


Urban Designer or Architect - DAP Architecture Ltd


Experienced Layout/Urban Designer - Pegasus Group


Principal Urban Designer - Uttlesford District Council


Regeneration Masterplanner - Brent Council


Urban Designers - PRP


Urban/Landscape Design Officers - Eastleigh Borough Council


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