Urban design skills and their importance in the planning delivery process

TRA has been designing and delivering urban design training for planning officers and Committee Members in local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales since 1996. 

In the revised NPPF (paragraph 124) the government describes the creation of high quality buildings and places as “fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve”. Good design is described as a “key aspect of sustainable development”. The NPPF goes on to say that “Being clear about design expectations, and how these will be tested, is essential for achieving this. So too is effective engagement between applications, communities, local planning authorities and other interests throughout the process”. However, a report published in late 2017 by the Bartlett School of Planning described urban design skills and capacity in local authorities as “woefully low and declining”. Whilst many Councils are unlikely to be able to afford to buy-in specialist design skills, providing training for existing staff could help to bridge this gap.

We offer a wide range of urban design workshops, the most popular of which can be seen on our website:

  • Sustainable Development by Design
  • Securing Good Design within the NPPF
  • The Language of Urban Design
  • Basic Principles of Urban Design
  • The Principles of Urban Design in the Historic Environment
  • Design in Planning Applications: how to add value
  • Housing Design and Layout
  • Character and Appearance as a Material Consideration
  • Place Identity.

This series of workshops is developed and delivered by TRA Presenter, Timothy Crawshaw.

Tim is an innovative designer with over 25 years' experience in both the public and private sectors. Formerly Conservation and Design Group Manager for Kirklees Metropolitan Council, he is now a freelance consultant working throughout the UK. He is qualified in Architecture and Urban Environmental Design and now operates as a multi-disciplinary consultant involved in masterplanning, development briefs, characterisation, wildlife, ecology and sustainability. He is actively engaged in international development work in a number of contexts for the UN Development Programme and other agencies, building on experience gained in the UK and EU in the fields of sustainable transport, energy efficiency and green city planning.

If you feel that your authority would benefit from any of the above in-house workshops, please contact Angela Holmes directly, for more information.