Judges and judging criteria 2021

National Urban Design Awards 2021


We're immensely grateful that Jas Bhalla of Jas Bhalla Architects; Jane Dann, Managing Director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design; Roger Evans of Studio REAL; Helen Forman of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Peter Frankum, Director and National Head of Savills Urban Design; Tim Hagyard, Planning Manager for CPRE (Herts) | URBAN DESIGN journal Editorial Board; Emma Spierin of O'Mahony Pike Architects; and Dr Deb Upadhyaya of Homes England brought their experience and insight to the judging panel along with our co-chairs, Christopher Martin of Urban Movement | UDG Treasurer and Alan Thompson of AP Thompson Built Environment Consultancy.

Also, a huge thanks to Dr Patricia Aelbrecht of Cardiff University, Dr Philip Black of the University of Manchester University, and Dr Husam AlWaer of the University of Dundee for convening and longlisting the Student Project Award. 

Christopher Martin (Co-Chair)  Urban Movement, Director of Strategy

Christopher Martin is Co-Founder and Director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement, and a fully qualified Urban Designer and Planner, experienced in leading complex urban projects; focusing on public realm, streets and transport. 

Chris is UDG Treasurer and on the URBAN DESIGN Journal Editorial Board. He is also a Trustee of Living Streets; a member of the Placemaking Leadership Council at Project for Public Spaces; a member of London design review panels; and has been a lecturer and tutor at The Bartlett School of Planning and Architecture for a number of years.

Alan Thompson (Co-Chair) AP Thompson Built Environment Consultancy

Alan has over 25 years’ experience in Architecture and Urban Design and is Principal of AP Thompson Built Environment Consultancy.

Alan acquired expert design advisory skills while serving as a Senior Government Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and as Head of Design Review at the UK Design Council. 

Jas Bhalla  Jas Bhalla Architects

In 2020 Jas was recognised as one of the Architect Journal’s '40 under 40' and is on the design review panels for Essex, Hounslow and Redbridge.

With over 13 years of experience in masterplanning, strategic urbanism, and architectural design at all scales, his practice, Jas Bhalla Architects, has a growing reputation for affordable housing design and policy, having won the William Sutton Prize in 2019 and the Housing for a Better World competition established by Brick by Brick and the Stephen Lawrence Trust in 2020.

Jane Dann  Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, Managing Director

As an architect, planner and urban designer Jane has more than 30 years' experience in practice and advisory roles. Through her work she promotes the role and contribution made by local context and heritage - she has been appointed to the Historic England Places Panel and sits on the London Advisory Committee.

Jane also led the consultant team that worked collaboratively with MHCLG to produce the new National Design Code. 

Roger Evans  Urban Designer, Architect, Town Planner

Roger designs and writes about the built environment.

He is a former tutor in urban design at Oxford Brookes, founded the consultancy and research practice studio REAL, has served as an external examiner on post graduate urban design courses, sits on several design review panels and is a past chair and trustee of the UDG. He is a keen cyclist and urban sketcher.

Helen Forman  West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Urban Design Lead

Helen is an architect and housing professional with a career spanning the public, private and third sectors. Now the urban design lead at West Yorkshire Combined Authority, she is helping to build design capacity in its districts, through training and advice.

Helen has expertise in the impacts of housing development on health and physical activity, particularly in children.

Peter Frankum  Savills Urban Design Studio, Director and National Head

Peter chairs the southern branch of the UDG, is an academician of The Academy of Urbanism and member of several design panels. He speaks nationally at conferences and events, with a focus on delivering quality development and regeneration.

His CV includes work in both the public and private sector, specialising in regeneration, master planning, urban design and public consultation.

Tim Hagyard  CPRE Herts, Planning Manager

Tim Hagyard  has worked as a planner and urban designer within local government for almost thirty years and more recently as a planning manager with CPRE Hertfordshire.

He is a long standing member of the URBAN DESIGN Journal Editorial Board, a keen long distance walker and author of related blogs and books.

Emma Spierin  O'Mahoney Pike Architects Dublin, Urban Designer

Emma has worked on all scales of project from individual houses to large masterplans and strategic infrastructure projects. Before her current role with O'Mahony Pike in Dublin, Emma worked in mainland China and London, in public and private sector roles.

Professionally Emma has an interest in sustainable density as a solution to urban sprawl, urban agriculture, and the interplay between inequality, urban planning, climate change and resilient cities. 

Dr Deb Upadhyaya  Homes England

Deb is a professionally trained architect, urban designer and planner, leading delivery of exemplar large scale and complex housing, regeneration and garden communities’ projects both in the public and private sector, for over 20 years. 

A passionate advocate of sustainable urbanism, delivery of quality places and value creation through collaboration/ design led innovation, he champions inclusion and diversity as the fundamental building blocks of delivering resilient built environments for the future.



The judging criteria are the principles advocated in current and long standing best practice on design quality including:

  • 10 Timeless Principles
    Making People Friendly Towns Francis Tibbalds 1992
  • 10 Characteristics of well-designed places
    National Design Guide MHCLG 2021
  • 3 Perpetual Principles  fit for purpose; durable; brings delight
    Vitruvius circa 30-15BC (quoted in the National Design Guides)

10 Timeless Principles 10  Characteristics of Well-Designed Places
  • Places matter most
  • Learn the lessons of the past
  • Encourage the mixing of uses and activities
  • Design on a human scale
  • Encourage pedestrian freedom
  • Provide access for all
  • Build legible environments
  • Build lasting envirnoments
  • Control change
  • Contribute to the greater whole
  • Context  enhances the surroundings
  • Identity  attractive and distinctive
  • Built Form  a coherent pattern of development
  • Movement  accessible and easy to move around
  • Nature  enhanced and optimised
  • Public Spaces  safe, social and inclusive
  • Uses  mixed and integrated
  • Homes and Buildings  functional, healthy and sustainable
  • Resources  efficient and resilient
  • Lifespan  made to last
Making People-Friendly Towns  
Francis Tibbalds 1992
National Design Guide 2021 England

There are also design requirements that are written into legislation including:

  • Climate Change the current statutory duty on climate change adaption and mitigation, and the objective of net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. This requirement will exclude entries in locations where normal life is only possible with ownership and use of a car.
  • Socio-economic Inequality
  • Equalities promotion of equality of opportunity and elimination of discrimination including age, disability, race, gender etc
  • Public Health
  • Crime + Disorder
  • Safety

The Awards want to recognise places which address issues such as the climate emergency; collaboration; inclusion and social cohesion and in doing so have created places where people really want to work, play and live.

The National Urban Design Awards are not given for perfection but for endeavour in the face of difficulties

Good urban design can be difficult to achieve, especially where the property market is weak, or where political or public aspirations are limited. It is rare that a scheme will be able to achieve perfection in all aspects.

The judges understand this, and the compromises that need to be made to turn a visionary design into something is politically, financially and practically achievable. They will look for schemes where the entrants have tried to respond, as best they may, to these timeless principles of good design, given the particular challenges.