The publication of the Green Paper on Planning has magnified the significance of urban design frameworks, development briefs and master plans. Despite general recognition that making places socially, economically and environmentally successful depends on high standards of urban design, there is less understanding of how good design can be delivered. The challenge is to influence the development process, not only on high profile sites, but wherever urban change is reshaping places.
Local authorities need a framework of planning and design policy (currently set out in their development plans) complementing the new generation of community plans and neighbourhood renewal strategies. The effectiveness of all these tools in delivering effective planning and good design depends on urban design guidance.
There remains a great deal of confusion about what design guidance is, how it should be prepared, what clients expect, what services consultants offer, and what resources are required. This manual focuses on the detail, spelling out exactly what local authorities might include in urban design guidance and what developers and designers should expect to find in it. It provides a framework for all those involved in the development process.
The aim of this manual is to help people use the right tools for the job, and to use them effectively. It is addressed to everyone who plays a part in commissioning, preparing or using guidance, whether as developers, council officers, consultants, politicians or members of partnerships.