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Urban design has been described as the art of making places for people. Urban design covers the connections between people and places. It considers the relationship between movement and the physical form of buildings, streets and neighbourhoods. Urban design considers the connection between nature and the built environment. It is also concerned with the processes that ensure successful places are delivered and maintained.
Urban design brings together issues of:
- development economics
- landscape and
It is therefore concerned with how places function, not just how they look.
Good urban design brings many benefits – economic, environmental and social - including public health benefits. Central Government guidance states that ‘good design is indivisible from good planning’. The Core Strategy Policy BCS21 states that new development in Bristol should deliver high quality urban design.
Shaping quality places
The practice of urban design is central to the City Design Group service. The Group comprises of two multi-disciplinary teams:
- Place Shaping and
- Urban Design and Conservation.
Urban designers are integrated within both.
All parts of our service are helping to shape new quality places throughout Bristol. They are also helping to improve the quality of existing neighbourhood areas and sites.
Our services include:
- Archaeology: our specialists provide advice and guidance to planning officers, community groups, residents and developers. We assess the archaeological implications of planning applications and provide information about Bristol's historic environment. We have recently launched the web based resource Know Your Place. We also advise on planning policy and guidance within the Bristol Development Framework.
- Building for Life (pdf, 167 KB) (opens new window): our team of accredited assessors undertakes Building for Life assessments annually. Building for Life is the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.
- City Design Initiative: (pdf, 370 KB) (opens new window) we are promoting better recognition of the value of urban design and its outcomes. We are developing new approaches to urban design practice within the City Council. The initiative promotes good urban design across the city. We are working with the Bristol Urban Design Forum and Bristol Architecture Centre to achieve this.
- Community Involvement: (pdf, 234 KB) (opens new window) we work with community groups to develop strategies for improving neighbourhoods and guiding new development. Understanding local views and identifying opportunities for delivering positive change is part of our approach.
- Conservation: our specialists provide advice and guidance to planning officers, community groups, residents and developers. We assess the implications of planning applications on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas. We are responsible for determining Listed Building applications. We also advise on planning policy and guidance within the Development Framework.
- Legible City: originated by our urban designers in the 1990’s the Legible City is a unique concept. It aims to improve people's understanding and experience of the city. We have delivered numerous supporting projects and manage the pedestrian signing and information system. These projects have included public art, physical improvements to streets and spaces and information design.
- Landscape Design (pdf, 182 KB) (opens new window): our chartered landscape architects design and deliver landscape and public realm improvement projects. This service is available to client teams across the council and to external organisations. Our work spans education, housing, parks, public space and historic landscape contexts.
- Physical Regeneration (Place-shaping) (pdf, 148 KB) (opens new window): our multi disciplinary team provides advice and carry out area or site based projects. We produce vision documents, master plans, development briefs, and public realm strategies. Through these we plan, design and deliver physical improvements to neighbourhoods. This service is available to client teams across the council and to external organisations.
- Public Art: (pdf, 129 KB) (opens new window) we provide specialist advice to planning officers, developers, design teams and community groups. We advise on the planning and procurement of public art negotiated via the planning process. We also commission art works for clients across the council and for external organisations.
- Urban Design Advice: (pdf, 133 KB) (opens new window) our urban designers provide advice to planning officers, developers and community groups. They advise on the urban design aspects of planning applications. We also help shape planning policy and undertake specific project commissions.