Urban design is the process of shaping the physical setting for life in cities, towns and villages. It is the art of making places. It involves the design of buildings, groupsof buildings, spaces and landscapes, and establishing the processes that make successful development possible.
Why are so many places so badly designed?
Why are the places we are building sodifferent from the places we like? So many new developments snuff out what makes a place special and give the impression of having been designed (if that is the word!) by someone with no sense of whatmakes a successful place.
Why is so much development so badly designed? The fact that 84 per cent of planning applications are drawn up by someone with no design training may have something to do withit.
But being trained in design does not necessarily mean that the person responsible for the development will designing something that might make a successful place. After all, they may not haveseen that as their job. They may have been thinking only of limited and short-term aims: to build something that the developer can sell quickly; or to serve the building’s users, rather than making amore pleasant experience for people passing by.
The public interest is wider, and longer term. Urban design appeals to people who are interested in more than just the design of a single building or theinterests of a single user. What gets urban designers out of bed in the morning is the challenge of creating a place that will be used and enjoyed by a wide range of different people for differentpurposes, not only now but in years to come.
New projects, new skills
Twenty-five years later, urban design is a mainstream professional activity, which local and central government and localcommunities greatly value. But urban design has not turned into a new profession somewhere between architecture and planning. Urban design is more than that: it is a set of skills, a state of mind and a...