About the Urban Design Group


Working together to make life better in our cities, towns and villages.

The Urban Design Group (UDG) is a membership charity open to all who care about the quality of life in our cities, towns and villages and believe that raising standards of urban design is central to its improvement. The UDG believes that good urban design depends upon successful collaboration between all those who shape the built environment, whatever their professional or personal background.

The Group is established for the public benefit for the following purposes:

  • To promote high standards of performance and inter-professional co-operation in planning, urban design and architecture, landscape design and all other aspects of the built environment.
  • To educate the relevant professions and the public in matters relating to urban design.

Since our foundation in 1978, we have played a major role increasing the understanding and awareness of urban design. There have been some major successes and a transformation in the quality of existing and new development.

However a great deal of development is still badly designed. More than three quarters of all planning applications in the UK are prepared by someone with no design training. Much development is designed or planned by people with little idea of how to work in an urban context. Our mission is to raise standards of education and awareness of urban design across societies both in the UK and internationally.

Our Core Commitments

The UDG is committed to:

  • Improving the quality of life for people who live and work in cities, towns and villages
  • Providing high quality information on best practice in urban design through: a quarterly journal URBAN DESIGN; a free electronic news service Urban Update;  free on-line lectures kindly recorded and edited by Urbannous; running events and workshops; and an annual non-profit making conference
  • Providing a focus for the dissemination of research to practitioners in order to increase impact and for relaying research needs to academia
  • Improving the professional standards in urban design and urban designers
  • Supporting decision makers in making long term decisions about the quality of the towns and cities for which they are responsible
  • Promoting collaboration within the urban design process and between the professions
  • Raising standards in urban design practice
  • Developing a network of urban designers both nationally and internationally

We work to support urban designers and foster an increased appreciation of the value of quality in the public realm through our events programme, newsletter and our acclaimed journal URBAN DESIGN - widely acknowledged as the leader in its field.

The UDG believes that urban design is not the job of any single profession so we welcome members from a broad range of backgrounds who share our principles. There are a number of different categories of membership -  if you are interested in joining please click here.

In 2009 the UDG launched a new initiative, Recognised Practitioner in Urban Design, demonstarting its commitment to the best of urban design skills. This new category of membership gives professionals working in urban design the opportunity to attain greater recognition for their skills and experience as well as a stronger sense of common purpose and identity.

How is the Urban Design Group run?

The UDG is run by an Executive Committee, led by a chairperson with the support of two vice chairs. The Executive Committee meet regularly throughout the year and are responsible for all major decisions relating to policy, new initiatives and the management of the Group. For a full list of current Executive Committee members, please see here.

There are also a number of smaller sub-committees including members of the Executive Committee and others. These committees deal with specifc areas of the UDG's activity such as events, education, links with other organisations and the editorial board of URBAN DESIGN. If you are interested in becoming more involved please contact administration@udg.org.uk.

The day to day management and administration of the UDG is carried out by its Director, Robert Huxford and Manager, Lynn Melvin.

Urban Design Group Board of Patrons

The UDG has an active board of Patrons who help to promote the Group's goals to a wide audience nationally and internationally. Our current Patrons are:

  • Alan Baxter
  • Roger Evans
  • Lindsey Whitelaw
  • John Worthington

Fellows of the Urban Design Group

In 2013 a special UDG fellowship was initiated giving recognition for outstanding service to to the Urban Design Group and urban design more widely. The first fellow was John Billingham.