Urban Update

Parking Policy: Time for Change  29 March
In collaboration with CPRE London looking at the importance of parking policy in the creation of People Friendly Places

Greener and Cleaner Initiative launches in Bromley Shopping Mall with Library of Things

New RTPI paper and illustrative codes

Foundation Certificate in Urban Design endorsed by the UDG


BDP | Bristol City Council | Define | JTP | Origin3 | Pegasus Group | Sevenoaks District Council | The Townscape Consultancy | Urban Green


Parking Policy: Time for Change

Tuesday 29 March 2022 @ 12:30 via Zoom

Parking control may be local authorities’ most effective tool for reducing carbon emissions and pollution. Effective parking policy also delivers safe and attractive streets and promotes active/shared/sustainable travel, while also making transport more accessible. Find out:

  • Why is parking policy so important? What evidence is there that it is not being used to full effect?
  • What changes can local authorities make to parking policy to deliver a better urban realm and environment?


  • Alice Roberts  Head of Campaigns, CPRE London
  • Will Petty  Transport Campaigner
  • Rick Rodgers  Campaigns and Policy Officer, Wheels for Wellbeing



Greener and Cleaner Initiative launches in Bromley Shopping Mall + Library of Things

Greener and Cleaner is an initiative to support people locally in choosing alternative lifestyles that have a lighter impact on the planet. Begun in 2019, the initiative now has over 6000 members and hundreds of volunteers, with advice being offered on reducing waste and over-consumption, reducing carbon emissions, active lifestyles, increasing the sustainability of our homes, and sharing resources. The initiative has now taken a step further by taking a vacant unit in the prestigious Glades shopping mall, which also hosts a 'Library of Things', where people can borrow trade-quality tools and equipment, rather than having to buy them. The unit will act as a hub for the local community, offering advice and practical support and help bring about the change to a sustainable, zero carbon world that we so urgently need.  
Has Greener and Cleaner come up with a model that could be replicated in other cities, towns and neighbourhoods? There many empty shops that could provide this facility, and this new and valuable use would help to bring life and footfall. There’s also scope to parallel the Urban Rooms concept that originated in the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment, where local people can engage with the past, present and future of a place.

To anyone who thinks that the world’s problems are difficult for any individual to take on, Cleaner and Greener offers a route to showing how we can all make a personal contribution to a safer, better future.

Greener and Cleaner are developing a blueprint for other communities who would be interested in setting up their own community hub. If you are working on a town or neighbourhood regeneration scheme, and might be interested in including a Greener and Cleaner hub please contact Parisa Wright gcbbparisa@gmail.com



Design Codes for Net Zero Carbon and Nature Recovery – New RTPI paper and illustrative codes

Published today, the report provides further guidance on designing for net zero and nature recovery, emphasising the need for a multi-disciplinary approach and a culture change in the mindset of designers and development managers.

The report recommends that decisions about growth should be governed by the impact on carbon emissions, and on habitats, biodiversity and green and blue infrastructure, and equally how those decisions influence and facilitate active lifestyles and infrastructure such as public transport, to support more equitable access to jobs and services.  Codes should be based on a Vision, the delivery of long-term outcomes, and embrace digital technology such as Building Information Modelling and virtual reality.
Illustrative District and Site codes are provided for the imaginary “Monteshire” area.  

The District Code provides an overall vision, a baseline assessment raging from topography, water, habitats and nature through to the existing built environment and infrastructure; following then with requirements for Character areas, and Major development sites, Environmental Infrastructure and Habitats, Heat and Power, Mobility and Transport.

Examples of the provisions from the Sites code include:

  • Neighbourhoods will be designed with a mix of densities, with higher density within the neighbourhood centres

 Densities specified range from:
- High Density 75-100 dph
- Medium Density 60 dph
- Low density – minimum of 35 dph

  • All residents will be able to fulfil their daily needs (including primary schools, local shops and mobility hub) within a 10 minute maximum walk or cycle
  • Neighbourhood centres will provide all residents with everyday essentials and should therefore include flexible space that can be used for retail, cafe’s/ pubs or a restaurant, shared serviced offices
  • Each neighbourhood centre will provide a single-form entry primary school, with dual use sports facilities that can be managed for use by the local community
  • No housing shall be constructed beyond a 10 minute walk from one of the neighbourhood centres

 The Code includes examples of Mobility Hubs, Mobility Streets, Living Streets. Features include rain gardens, grey water recycling, electric vehicle recharging points, trees, etc.

Examples of Nature related requirements include:

  • The development will support the delivery of the District’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) by requiring Biodiversity Net Gain on-site and positively contributing to neighbouring Nature Recovery Areas
  • Achieve a 25% net gain in biodiversity on site
  • All neighbourhoods will achieve a minimum Urban Greening Factor score of 0.4
  • Surface water management features will be designed in accordance with the nationally described Hierarchy of Drainage and the most recent edition of the CIRIA SuDs Manual and DEFRA’s technical standards on sustainable drainage systems
  • All lighting plans should follow guidance published by the Bat Conservation Trust

 The RTPI’s research ‘Cracking the Code: How design codes can contribute to net-zero and nature’s recovery’ was conducted in partnership with the RSPB and led by planners at independent consultancy LDA Design. The project benefitted from support by data, climate and transport specialists, City Science, and ecologists, BSG.



Non-UDG Events

Bridge Theatre, London
Straight Line Crazy
Booking until Saturday 18 June 2022
Play about the career and impact of Robert Moses in New York, starring Ralph Fiennes. Which was worse – Robert Moses or Voldemort – or were they just misunderstood?

Association of Collaborative Design
Language in the City: Re-imagining cities through the lens of Language  
Wednesday 30 March 2022 @ 13:00-14:00

Design South East / Kent Design
Design Coding in Practice: Lessons Learned from the National Model Design Code Pilot in Portsmouth
Thursday 31 March 2022 @ 12:30-13:30

Trees and Design Action Group
How can we deliver and maintain trees in highways successfully?
Tuesday 5 April 2022 @ 14:00-16:00

Appealing Design
New research from the Place Alliance on whether design carries weight in planning appeals
Save the date: Tuesday 26 April 2022 @ lunchtime

The Social Fabric Summit
Tuesday 24 May + Friday 27 May 2022



Looking for a short course in Urban Design?

3-Day Comprehensive Foundation Certificate in Urban Design
Endorsed by the Urban Design Group
20-22 June 2022 | Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Discounted rate available for public sector workers

This course deals with urban design, but you don’t need to live or work in a city to benefit from it. We welcome all applications from rural areas, as this course benefits anybody with an interest in planning and design for the built environment. Inclusivity is at the heart of what we do.
  • There are no entry-level qualifications
  • The course is delivered through a range of classroom/lecture theatre-type learning, site visits, and walking tours
  • The course takes place in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom, and learners must attend in person for the duration of the 3-day course
  • There will be virtual post-course sessions to consolidate your learning and to help you apply your new skills in the real world
  • The course is delivered in English both verbally and written
  • The course is UK-based, but its content is transferrable to global contexts



News + Research

Built Environment

Historic England launches aerial photograph explorer tool

Cap parking provision at one space per property, charity says

Children’s Play Policy Forum and UK Play Safety Forum, urge councils to create inclusive child play spaces

Further councils join proptech enabling fund

Politics, Philosophy, Economics

London house prices 50 percent overvalued according to S&P Global Ratings
Outside London by 20 percent – in relation to incomes

Energy, Climate Change

Potential for large scale ground source heat pumps to meet heating needs

Will the energy crisis help with climate change?

Net Zero Navigator

Natural Environment

Wales sewage dumping soars to 105,000 recorded incidents
Over 100,000 sewage spills in just one year… 

Cambridge elm tree revival from plants propagated from cells from disease resistant survivors


Liverpool schools: The parents tackling admission policies
Some places are randomly allocated, rather than allocated by distance from the school. The inevitable result is that some children have very long school commute distances, which can only be undertaken by some sort of motorised transport. There is a knock on effect on journeys to meet friends.

Parents may have to teach children at home because they can't afford to drive them to school due to soaring fuel prices, says Robert Halfon, Chair of Education Committee
It’s a pity then that children don’t have schools to go to that are within safe walking or cycling distance.

Paris plans to build $145 million cable car in suburbs
The 4.5-kilometer-line will have the capacity to serve around 1,600 passengers per hour.

Manual for Smart Streets launched
The Manual covers principally the procurement of smart street services by local authorities, and at the moment appears to focus on vehicles, rather than on people.
While there is a great focus on the technology of vehicle-based ITS, the amount of computing power carried around by pedestrians is generally greater than that found on a car, and more up to date, given that people renew their phones every three-four years, whereas cars should last over two decades.

Detroit to replace interstate with urban boulevard

Consulation on Network Rail's HUB Station proposals
A new model for Great Britain's small and medium sized railway stations.

Humans, Health, Society

Study of air pollution in kitchens in lower income countries
Use of charcoal 3 times more polluting than gas; frying leads to high levels of particulates. Exposure reduced by larger kitchens, mechanical and natural ventilation.

Link between long-term exposure to air pollution and the developing autoimmune diseases
Environmental air pollution is composed of particulates, gasses and vapours which derive predominantly from fossil fuel use in industry production and vehicle exhaust.
Every 10 µg/ m3 increase in PM10 concentration was associated with an incremental 7% risk of having autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Lancet Public Health: Maintaining face mask use for short time after hitting particular COVID-19 vaccination targets offers major economic and health benefits, modelling indicates

Leaving even a dim light on while you sleep may disrupt blood sugar control, a small study in humans suggests
Light pollution was covered in the last edition of Urban Update

Genetically modified mosquitos could be released across US to prevent diseases suck as Zika

Spread of mosquito-borne Japanese Encephalitis in Australia linked to climate change – higher temperatures, greater rainfall

The economic burden of excessive sugar consumption in Canada
Study calculates the health care costs for treatment of chronic diseases associated with excessive sugar consumption.
Among its findings are that if Canadians were to comply with the free sugar recommendation (consumption below 10% of total energy intake (TEI)), an estimated $2.5 billion in direct health care and indirect costs could have been avoided in 2019.

Opportunities: UDG Careers Board 

Associate / Senior Urban Designer
BDP | North of England offices

Principal Urban Designer
Bristol City Council | Bristol

Urban Designers (Various levels)
Define | Birmingham

Urban Designer
JTP | London

Senior / Associate Urban Designer
Origin3 | Bristol

Urban Designers
Pegasus Group | Nationwide

Urban Design Officer
Sevenoaks District Council | Sevenoaks

Consultant / Senior Consultant in Townscape and Heritage
The Townscape Consultancy | London

Urban Designer
Urban Green | Manchester

For more details visit the UDG jobs board