Urban Design Panel

The Urban Design Panel is concerned mainly, although not exclusively, with the interactions and influences between transport, traffic and street design at the local level. It promotes good practice, and encourages the transformation of traffic-dominated streets and spaces into vibrant and inclusive settings for urban life.

Streets and roads impact directly on everyone’s daily experience. Their design and management is therefore critical for the quality of urban life. They have to serve movement, and provide access to buildings for both people and goods. At the same time, streets and spaces provide the setting for public life, for social interaction, trade, leisure and enjoyment. These transport and “place” functions can often be in conflict, especially where motor traffic dominates.   

Urban Design therefore has an important role to play in creating successful streets and spaces. This involves bringing together and working alongside transport and traffic specialists, architects, land use planners and landscape designers. Urban Design is not concerned only with the look of a place. While aesthetics are important, design of the urban environment now also embraces the goals of economic and social vitality and environmental sustainability.

All streets – from quiet wholly residential streets to busy High Streets and main traffic routes – need to be designed with an appropriate balance between movement and other activities. Everyone must be considered, whether as pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or public transport passengers, and whatever their degree of mobility. Good outcomes involve consideration of trees and other landscaping, sustainable drainage, and designs that are simple and easy to navigate, and without unsightly street clutter. Buildings should relate to the spaces between or next to them, which in turn should provide an attractive and functional setting for buildings and the activities within them.  

When new areas are being created, getting the pattern and alignment of streets right is of fundamental importance because these will usually long outlive the buildings they are initially laid out to serve.

The role of the Panel is to:

  • Develop and promote good practice in urban street design and placemaking;
  • Encourage and participate in policy debates concerning the quality of streets and spaces, including both technical and organisational aspects;
  • Inform the CIHT membership and the wider professional community of emerging issues, policies and practices;
  • Promote the Urban Design perspective as an essential component of urban transport education and professional development.

The Panel pursues this role by undertaking:

  • Regular panel meetings;
  • Contributing articles and commentaries for Transport Professional magazine and the CIHT website;
  • Producing guidelines on key areas of professional practice;
  • Responding to consultations invited by Government and other professional bodies;
  • Sponsoring and participating in workshops, seminars and conferences;
  • Working with other Panels on cross-cutting topics;
  • Supporting the CIHT awards programme.

If you would like more details on the work of the Panel please contact the Secretary on t: +44 (0)20 7336 1564 or e: technical@ciht.org.uk