What is 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.

The Urban Design Group 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, running events and workshops, and an annual non-profitmaking 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. 

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.