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Past Event

Thu 21/07/22

High Streets are struggling. We will consider what makes a successful High Street and how planning, transport and public realm interventions can help create them, fit for the 21st century

Past Event

Tue 05/07/22

This session will set out what a good code or guide needs to meet local objectives and requirements for green and blue infrastructure, flood risk and biodiversity, including understanding Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems and the value of ‘parklets’. Including:

  • Climate responsive & biodiversity Masterplanning
  • Environmental codes to create great places
  • Codes for blue infrastructure
Past Event

Thu 30/06/22, 12–1.30pm

Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) may be presented with design codes drawn up by developers and/or landowners, prior to setting their own local design code policy. How can LPAs ensure quality, compliance, influence and effective decision making in the process. Are there unintended consequences in developer led design codes and can they fit with LPA led, policy based area wide codes required by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill?

Past Event

Thu 23/06/22

Looking at how codes and guides can set out settlement layout patterns, what types of streets, parking and open spaces should be provided where and how these should be designed and detailed. Including:

  • Layout and street pattern options
  • The importance of good master planning
  • Residential street codes


10.00 Welcome, Sue Vincent & Esther Kurland

10.05 Introduction, Marcus Wilshere

10:10 Streets for all – principles in practice, Glenn Higgs & Rea Toruhan

10.35 Masterplanning streets: an overview, Ludo Pittie & Stuart Hurrell

10.50 Residential street codes, Josh Grantham & Wesley Wroe

  • Q&A / Discussion

11.15 Looking at parking layouts – exercise on Miro

11.30 Close

Past Event

Tue 24/05/22, 12–2.30pm

There is much confusion on how to achieve zero carbon and where the milestones lie along the way. This session will look at a range of approaches and discuss the practical challenges.


12.00 Welcome & Introduction

12.05 Overview: Lynn Sullivan

12:25 Learning from the zero carbon approaches:

  • Future Homes Standard Approach, Chris Twinn
  • Passivhaus Approach, Lisa Jackson
  • The LETI Roadmap Approach, James Woodall

Q&A / Discussion

Comfort Break

13.30 Including the neighbourhood and beyond:

  • Zero Carbon Transport & Net Gain Nature, Frazer Osment
  • Whole Neighbourhood Connectivity, Phoebe Nicol

Q&A / Discussion

14.30 Close

Past Event

Wed 18/05/22, 10am–12.30pm

In this bespoke networking session we will discuss what knowledge you need for design coding, what you want to use codes for and look to set up areas and/or theme ‘code clubs’, where we can support each other and share our design code knowledge and expertise.


09:30 - 09:45 *Optional Miro Training*

10.00 Welcome & Introduction

  • Why Design Codes? Stephen Barker
  • Introduction to Codes, Esther Kurland

10:25 Group Discussion

  • What are your hopes and ambitions?
  • What do you need to get there?

10:55 Discussion in Miro breakout rooms:

City/Urban Plot

Conservation area

Town Centre

Village Extension



  • What would be helpful?

Documentation and case study exchange

Knowledge/practice and skills

Ideas, experiences, and lessons learnt?

  • How can we best support each other?

Resource Library

Regular meetings

Forming a club around selected theme?

12:15 Round up

12:30 Close

Past Event

Tue 10/05/22

This session will set out the components of a good code and what gives buildings identity. It will include how to set out key building design principles and standards, what they look like and how buildings should perform in the long term: including:

  • Building design principles
  • Understanding materials, detailing and architectural approaches


10.00 Welcome and Introduction

10.10 Understanding design codes for building elements:

  • Building Forms, Graeme Phillips
  • Built Form, Layouts and Blocks, Hugh Petter
  • Street Blocks and Plots, Marcus Wilshere


11:15 Comfort Break

11.25 Overview of building design principles and standards and how they fit together, Stephen Proctor

11.50 Ensuring building identity, James Turner


12.30 Round up & Close

Past Event

Tue 26/04/22

This session will look at the importance and role of communities in developing and delivering codes that will create great places. Including:

  • How best to encourage pro-active communities
  • Helping communities guide design in their area
  • Co-developing a code


10.00 Welcome & Introduction

10.10 Unpicking Design Engagement, Laura Alvarez

10.25 Role of Communities in Developing Design Codes,

Hana Loftus

10.40 Community Engagement on Design

Sue Cook

Comfort Break


11.10 Co-designing with Village Communities, Hana


11.30 Breakout Rooms & Discussion

12.20 Round up

12.30 Close

Past Event

Tue 12/04/22

This session looks at how to ensure our homes and neighbourhoods are well-designed and sustainable. It will set out design principles that support sustainability, health and well-being, and how homes can work well in their context, enabling communities to flourish.


10.00 Welcome & Introduction

10.15 Why we need well-designed homes

10.30 Key characteristics of good housing design, Esther Kurland

10.45 Understanding housing design, David Birkbeck

  • Relating a development to the wider neighbourhood context
  • Understanding how parts of a development work together
  • Identifying aspects of good design in the home environment, including bins and bikes


12.00 Close

Past Event

Tue 05/04/22

This session will look at how best to procure or partner with others to create codes and ensure they are being applied correctly. We will look at the Cambridge Compliance Tracker as well as understand how technology can help ensure code compliance and good local outcomes. Including:

  • Tracking compliance and working with partners
  • Commissioning design work
  • Using tech to help ensure code compliance

Past Event

Tue 22/03/22, 10am–12.30pm

Technology allows us to easily share data on planning tools and is driving a revolution on interactive planning and back office planning functions. This session will go through the basics of how authorities can get the best from technology, what is available and how it can be used and shared with others.


10.00 Welcome

10.10 Where are we with the digital revolution? Overview of government digital process, Euan Mills (DLUHC Digital)

10.30 Update on digital planning tools pilot, Joe Welch (Urban Intelligence)


Comfort Break

11.00 Engagement and public opinion, Rosa Bolger (Commonplace)

11.20 The future of engagement, Victoria Hills (RTPI)

11.50 Benefits and limitation of digital tools, Sophia de Sousa (The Glass-House Community Led Design)


12.30 Close

Past Event

Tue 22/02/22, 9.50am–12.30pm

Taking stock of viability, this vital session will separate fact from fiction and help us understand the essential elements of any viability assessment. We will investigate how to provide and support social value for your communities.


09.50 Welcome

10.00 Viability: Fact v/s Fiction, Valerie Conway & Debbie

Lloyd (David Lock Associates)

10.30 Social value: Principles & Benefits Sophia Taysom (Keyah Consulting)



11.15 Importance of Social Value & Well-being: Valuing

Architects Shade Abdul (Deft Space) & Oliver Osbourne (OOA)

11.30 Capturing Land Value & Delivering Social Value – Case


  • Northumberland Line, Tony Cahill & George Hazel (E-Rail)
  • Plasticine & Power– The Social Value of Urban Design, David Rudlin (URBED)


12.30 Round up & Close

Past Event

Tue 08/02/22
Related Events: Councillor's Network

For any Councillor who has an interest in place-making and design; these sessions share knowledge, discuss topical issues and present emerging policy and research.


9.50 Welcome

10.00 Briefing Updates

  • Isabel Gumpert (DFT)
  • Sarah Allan (DLUCH)
  • Chris Standish (Homes England)
  • Esther Kurland (UDL)

10.45 Discussion & Panel Questions

11.30 Close

Past Event

Thu 20/01/22, 10am–12pm

This briefing will hear from the government and their partners including an update on the work of the national design quality body Office for Place and progress of the design code pilots.


09.45 Registration

10.00 Welcome, UDL

10.05 Introduction, Joanna Averley (DLUCH)

10.20 Discussion - Delegates New Year Wishes for Planning

10.40 Updates

  • Design Code Pilots Update, Scott Adams (DLUCH)
  • Digital tools in planning pilots, Euan Mills (DLUCH)
  • Office for Place, Nicolas Boys Smith (Create Streets)

Comfort break

11.30 Permitted Development Rights

  • How are PD rights working out on the ground? What opportunities and challenges are emerging from experience in the boroughs?, Discussion led by Esther Kurland (UDL)

12.00 Close

Past Event

Tue 18/01/22

Understanding the important role that streets play in supporting healthy, sustainable and successful communities. We will look at how to prioritize active travel and balance the demands from non travel activities, different modes of travel, servicing and freight. Including:

  • The importance of good street design
  • What makes a liveable neighbourhood?
  • Kerbside demand and its challenge


10.00 Welcome, Sue Vincent

10.05 Understanding the importance of streets and good design

  • The link and place principles, Prof. Peter Jones (UCL)
  • Tools for good street design, Rebecca Jones (PJA)
  • Designing & managing kerbside space, John Dales (Urban Movement)
  • Break

11.15 Case Studies

  • Sustainable urban drainage, Zac Tudor (Arup)
  • Improvements for walking & cycling, Amanda McDermott (2B Consultancy)
  • Tactical Urbanism – from temporary to permanent Public Realm Solutions, Darren Bray & Amanda Moore (StudioBad)

12.30 Importance of streets in placemaking, Rob Singleton (Active Travel England)

  • Discussion

13.00 Close

Past Event

Wed 15/12/21

Building on how codes relate to zoning and plan-making, this session will look at how to understand your area and develop character appraisals and assessments to inform local codes and guides. Including:

How to develop character appraisals

  • In rural areas
  • In growth areas
  • In historic areas


10.00 Welcome, Sue Vincent (UDL)

10.05 Intro – lessons from Pilots, Stephen Barker (PAS)

10.10 What is character appraisal or study and how these link to design codes & guides

  • Jane Manning (Allies & Morrison) & Alice Strang (Allies & Morrison)
  • Robert Kerr (ADAM architecture)
  • Q&A

11.05 Communities and character appraisals

  • How communities can help define character and steer change, Samantha Banks (Herefordshire County Council)
  • Q&A

11.20 Break

11.25 Character appraisal to inform design codes from large scale schemes to conservation areas

  • How appraisals support large scale schemes, Amy Burbidge (Homes England) & Dan Roberts (Homes England)
  • Rural and suburban area character appraisals, Katja Stille (Tibbalds)
  • Conservation area: character appraisals, Robert Lloyd Sweet (Historic England)

12.30 Q&A, round up

12.45 Close

Past Event

Tue 30/11/21

Showing how to read a plan and the various ways in which schemes can be visually represented, assessing projects that use different drawing types and the common tricks used in applications.


09.55 Registration

10.00 Welcome & Quiz

10.30 The Good Place

10.45 Plans for Graphics

11.00 Plans for Planning

11.15 Break


11.30 Scale

12.00 Streets, Landscaping & Residential Layouts

12.45 Detailing

13.00 Close

Past Event

Tue 09/11/21

This session will explain these tools what you can expect them to achieve for your area, including how codes relate to zoning and plan-making and explain latest government policy updates. Including:

  • What are design codes and guides?
  • How these tools fit into the current planning system
  • Understanding current policy direction and latest updates


09.45 Registration

10.00 Welcome, Esther Kurland (UDL)

10.05 Introduction, Stephen Barker (Planning Advisory Service)

10.10 What are Design Codes and Guides – A History, Paul Dodd (UDL)

10.25 Introduction to the National Model Design Code, Vicky Payne (URBED)

10.40 Planning for the Future, Rory Stracey (Trowers & Hamlins LLP)

  • Break

11.10 Design at different scales, Lionel Eid (Allies & Morrison)

11.30 Pilot update, Henry Primarolo (Housing & Communities)

  • Q&A

12.00 Close

Past Event

Wed 13/10/21, 9.30am–4pm

Over the last 18 months, UDL has held a series of Urban Challenge events looking at fresh thinking on how urban areas are designed, planned and managed. The conversations have been amazingly rich, pointing to potential ways we can practically combat climate change, inequality, public health problems and biodiversity decline.

This session continues the series, building on concepts previously discussed whilst bringing in new voices.

Watch a short video here on 'Can we plan for local living? And should we?' by Esther Kurland, Head of UDL.

If you are not a member, please email to book your place.


9.30 Session 1: New ideas on cities

  • Introduction, Esther Kurland, UDL
  • Commentary, Examples & Tool, Yolande Barnes, UCL & Adam Scott, Freestate

10.15 Comfort Break

10.30 Session 2: New ideas on travel

  • Introduction – Are all journeys equal? Valuing movement properly, Esther Kurland
  • Commentary, Examples & Tools
    • Planning a mutli-time city, Sebastian Weise, Place Changers
    • The 1m city in Sweden, Dan Hill, Vinnova
    • Identifying neighbourhoods for intensification, Russell Curtis, RCKa Architects
    • Softhub mobility and access to local services with capacity to support a growing population, Ed Parham, Space Syntax
    • From macro high tech solutions to local low tech improvements, Scott Shepard, The Internet of Mobility

12.15 Lunch Break

13.00 Session 3 New ideas on buildings & activities

  • Introduction – Don’t control the use, control the impact, Camilla Siggaard Andersen, Hassell Studio
  • Commentary, Examples & Tools
    • Designing for intensity of activity, not building density & approaches to managing mixed use, Alexis Butterfield, Pollard Thomas Edward Architects
    • Supporting flexible, locally based work space, Grace O'Mara NearU
    • Ground floor masterplans in Oslo, Matthew Sandu, Leonard Design Architects

14.15 Comfort Break

14.30 Session 4 New Ideas on neighbourhoods

  • Introduction – Prioritise local solutions before city wide approaches, Camilla Siggaard Andersen, Hassell Studio
  • Commentary, Examples & Tools
    • Are suburbs automatically convertible to walkable neighbourhoods?, Eleanor Warwick, Clarion Housing
    • New ways of designing locally focused communities, Max Farrell, LDN Collective
    • Encouraging local verses global commerce, Ina von Turow, FNDR

16.00 Close

Evening Reception

17.30 - 19.30

We are inviting conference attendees to join us for an evening reception at Hassell, to continue the conversation about urban futures in person.

The address is: 6 – 14 Underwood Street, London N17JQ.

If you are travelling from afar, Hassell also has a few hot-desk spaces available for the day.

Please email Maanya Bali to sign up.

Past Event

Tue 12/10/21, 9.30am–12pm

This session provides an understanding of what makes a great neighbourhood; looking at the characteristics of well-designed places, how they help to achieve planning & policy objectives and the tools and processes for good outcomes Including:

  • Why we need good placemaking
  • Design tools and processes
  • Setting out the principles of good design


09:30 Welcome & Introduction

09:40 National placemaking drivers, Esther Kurland (UDL)

10:00 Why do we need good urban design, Prof Matthew Carmona (UCL)

Q&A and Comfort Break

10:30 Principles of placemaking and urban design, Hillary Satchwell (Tibbalds)

11:00 Design tools and processes, Kruti Patel (Metropolitan Workshop)

11:30 Q&A

12.00 Feedback and close

Past Event

Wed 16/06/21
Related Events: Code School

How to set up monitoring systems to tell if your Codes have met your objectives.

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