Large scale urban design

Getting the big picture right
How do we deal with the economic, social and environmental challenges of large areas that cannot be solved through local action? This guide outlines a new approach to large scale urban design and includes our step-by-step guide to a new workshop-based process.

www.cabe.org.uk/large-scale-urban-design

A new approach
Large scale urban design is about the bigger picture. It deals with the economic, social and environmental issues over large areas that cannot be solved through local action. In a tough fiscal climate, distinctive places play a critical role in generating community pride and attracting investors. CABE has developed a new approach to planning and urban design which crosses local authority boundaries, responding to the way people live their lives. The guide provides a flexible new framework to inform decisions on where to invest limited resources for infrastructure, or where to focus the energies of developers and public service providers.

More about large scale urban design
Foreword from Richard Simmons Large scale urban design is not about hoping that micro-level interventions will add up to something that works at the large scale. Nor is it about imposing inflexible solutions. It embraces the complexities and uncertainties facing people today using a design process that allows people to shape the places they want. Introduction to large scale urban design People are travelling much further nowadays in their daily lives, which means that the way in which we plan and design our towns and cities and rural areas will need to change. The challenges that it tackles Large scale urban design is good at making connections, at supporting economic growth, and resolving competing priorities. Cross boundary working is also highly relevant for environmental issues. Six distinctive features The process is all about delivery – so it uses a creative and visual approach which engages everyone, but is highly selective when it comes to project scope and outcomes. The outputs Large scale urban design delivers across spatial scales: from an inspiring expression of the story of change, down to the standards and tools to guide masterplans and proposals. The benefits Large scale urban design is suited to organisations and partnerships in the public and private sector which are tasked with delivering solutions to big scale challenges, whether economic, financial or environmental.

Introduction to large scale urban design
People are travelling much further nowadays in their daily lives, which means that the way in which we plan and design our towns and cities and rural areas will need to change. One of the most dramatic changes to affect planning and urban design has been the growth of the area within which people live their lives, or what economists and planners call ‘functional spatial areas’. People now have communities of work and communities of interest and networks of friends, customers, shops, leisure facilities and suppliers which go well beyond the immediately local. These extended areas form the scale at which economic and housing markets now operate, and correspond to the catchment areas of large retail centres, major hospitals, leisure facilities or higher education institutions. Housing and job markets do not observe local authority boundary ‘red lines’ on a map. Nor do people notice red lines when they are crossing them in the car or on the train. Planning needs to operate across boundaries as well. To take advantage of the change from top-down regional strategies, the bigger picture has to be thought about in ways which allow people to work together to find answers to the questions which result from our way of life. So a flexible new framework is needed to inform decisions on where best to invest limited resources for infrastructure, or where to focus the energies of private developers and public service providers. Those whose lives are directly affected have to be involved in the process. In recent years, the statutory plan-making system in England has taken a collaborative approach to local development frameworks and core strategies, but this approach was not always taken for larger areas. So for the past two years, CABE has been trialling a better way to design the bigger picture.

The challenges that it tackles
Large scale urban design is good at making connections, at supporting economic growth, and resolving competing priorities. Cross boundary working is also highly relevant for environmental issues. CABE has worked with many of the cross-boundary organisations set up to tackle big scale challenges, whether economic, financial or environmental. Our experience of these sub-regional development bodies, joint planning units and regeneration partnerships suggests that they could usefully adopt a more creative and collaborative approach to planning and delivering change. Our research showed that their approach could be improved by focusing more on the physical aspects of a place. Indeed, one of the strengths of the new large scale urban design approach is the way that it focuses on improving the quality and distinctiveness of a place by considering social, economic and environmental performance at the same time as its physical characteristics.

Facilitating economic growth
In many places goods manufacturing has been replaced with knowledge-based and service sectors, which rely heavily on access to a skilled workforce. These sectors tend to cluster into specialised centres with strong links and complementary relationships within natural economic areas. Increasingly, competitiveness of places depends on attracting and retaining the right people, which in turn is dependent on providing a distinctive and high quality living and working environment. Economic performance is also affected by how well the physical structure of the natural wider area is designed to facilitate clustering and linkages between the economic centres within it. Where areas are failing to thrive because they are poorly connected to facilities and economic opportunities, large scale urban design will identify the most appropriate response.

Using financial resources efficiently
When public budgets are tight and there is limited private finance, it is essential to address competing priorities. This means that many public services, and most large scale infrastructure, should be considered across boundaries. Whether evaluating or planning the provision of utilities, transport, higher education institutions or hospitals, there are significant

efficiencies to be made through involving all parties in a timely way. This is a key benefit from using large scale urban design.

Achieving environmental sustainability
Many environmental challenges – such as water management, flood prevention, increasing biodiversity and generating low carbon energy – can be addressed most effectively by cross-boundary action. These need to be dealt with alongside social and economic issues, for example managing the seemingly insatiable desire for travel and flows of people and goods whilst reducing resource use and facilitating ‘greener’ lifestyles.

Managing large schemes and masterplanning
Large scale urban design can be used to instigate and orchestrate the delivery of developments like big retail and employment centres and large housing developments and transport infrastructure. It ensures each project is considered within a wider spatial, economic and social context. This approach maximises the value of investment and spreads the benefits brought about by the development across the whole area and to all sectors of the population.

Six distinctive features
The process is all about delivery – so it uses a creative and visual approach which engages everyone, but is highly selective when it comes to project scope and outcomes. There are a number of defining characteristics of the new large scale design approach which make it distinctive from masterplanning, local development frameworks or recent English regional and subregional planning.

1. It is selective in its interests
A project based on this new approach begins with a specific problem and focuses on providing answers to that problem. Restricting the remit to issues that are of genuine cross boundary importance for a natural economic area, and cannot be tackled at any other spatial level, keeps the approach effective and efficient. This selectiveness applies not only to the scope of the project but also to its outcomes -a limited set of strategic themes and projects.

2. It is spatially led, three-dimensional and visually rich
The new approach goes beyond land use planning – which is generally two dimensional – and deals with the physical characteristics of a place in all its complexity and in three dimensions (hence the use of urban design in the label). It results in proposals for specific projects and sites. Even though the final product – a spatial strategy – may show these proposals in a diagrammatic way, the process grounds them in the physical context of a place. Detailed examination of specific issues and proposals may be necessary to ensure viability of the strategic concept. The results are highly visual, synthesising complex ideas in a way which communicates to a full range of people.

3. It takes an integrated approach to analysis and design
Improving the quality of ordinary places is as important as new landmark places and spaces. The new approach considers how the physical, economic, environmental, social and cultural aspects of a place all contribute to its success, and how its natural assets can be protected and capitalised on. It integrates analysis and proposals, across all boundaries and defines an overall vision. This is achieved by translating strategic themes or options into a set of manageable projects.

4. It is an engaging and inclusive process
At the heart of large scale urban design is a creative process which actively engages everyone. It is compressed into a number of workshops where key players come together, assisted by an expert team, to scope the work, input data, prioritise areas

or themes, consider scenarios, draw up preferred proposals and projects and finalise plans for delivery.

5. It is focused on delivery
An integral part of the approach is developing an implementation plan that sets out a programme of what to do now, with the future in mind. By providing a clear policy and delivery framework, it stabilises, coordinates and directs development activity and, in areas with low values and little or no developer interest, creates more attractive conditions for developers and investors. It makes clear to key partners their part in funding, investment, the provision of land, public services and infrastructure.

6. It is flexible
Implementing a large scale strategy takes a long time and the context may change, sometimes radically. The new approach accommodates new data being included, and proposals being re-tested and revised. While being capable of providing flexibility and change, the process and its outputs provide nonetheless enough guidance and detail to ensure quality of the final projects, and effective decision making and delivery.

The outputs
Large scale urban design delivers across spatial scales: from an inspiring expression of the story of change, down to the standards and tools to guide masterplans and proposals. At the end of the large scale urban design process, the people involve will have an inspiring story of change backed by a database, analysis, proposals and principles. Those involved will have:

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an overarching ‘story of change’ – a clear description of the transformation to be brought about by a package of interventions and investments in the built and natural fabric of the wider area, based on its identity and potential. a creative and inspiring visual expression of this ‘story of change’ that can be communicated easily to a wide range of interest groups a database of quantitative and qualitative information which can be analysed spatially, and through multi-layered analysis. This allows a whole range of issues to be considered together, to identify conflicts, synergies and priorities, develop effective proposals and coordinate their delivery a distillation of this analysis into key areas of interest which need to be addressed at this scale or which require greater coordination an agreed set of proposals which define the type and location of priority projects under key themes, including specific sites and design briefs for those sites a set of design and sustainability principles, standards and tools to guide masterplans and more detailed urban design and building proposals.

The benefits
Large scale urban design is suited to organisations and partnerships in the public and private sector which are tasked with delivering solutions to big scale challenges, whether economic, financial or environmental. Large scale urban design will help those organisations and partnerships – often a mix of public and private sector partners – tasked with delivering solutions to the challenges outlined. Key players will include those most responsible for delivery; local or regional government or other cross-boundary partnerships; developers and others delivering large scale projects; urban design and planning practitioners and policy makers. Those whose lives are affected – the community – are the most important people to be involved in the process. This urban design approach will particularly benefit local partnerships that:

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want to improve coordination between sector-specific or local strategies, initiatives and projects want to improve the quality and distinctiveness of what gets built in their area have a concentration of social, environmental or economic problems in the area and need to have a thorough approach to dealing with decline constructively are performing well and growing, and wish to either accommodate this growth or spread its benefits across the wider area, particularly significant housing growth or regeneration need to strengthen the links between town and city centres or within a natural economic area need to plan strategic infrastructure such as water or waste management, energy production or a network of green spaces are planning new facilities such as hospitals or large leisure and shopping centres want to protect or enhance important natural, cultural or heritage assets.

The new large scale urban design approach could be used at a variety of spatial scales (regional, city or town wide), in different delivery contexts (statutory or informal), and internationally.

Workshop-based process
The new approach to large scale urban design uses a workshop-based process split into three phases - prepare, design, implement.

Three phases
1. Prepare – understand the challenge Define the project scope, select a spatial boundary, choose your project team, inform stakeholders, gather information, analyse and write a brief for the design phase. 2. Design - develop a spatial strategy This phase is based on one or more intensive workshops that are guided by expert facilitators. 3. Implement - deliver the strategy The implementation plan sets out how the strategy will be delivered and by whom. This is based on the earlier exploration of delivery issues and its preparation may culminate in a dedicated workshop with delivery partners.

Benefits of a workshop-based approach
A workshop-based approach has many advantages over other methods of spatial planning. These include:

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a shorter time scale: the design process is compressed into a number of workshops, making it cheaper and less likely to be out-of-date before it is finished iterative working: frequent feedback loops and immediate design responses are built in integration: all parties are engaged, and work brought together at different spatial scales in a single design process engagement and sense of ownership: active participation in developing design solutions helps stakeholders to be positive and to own the project conflict resolution: with all parties working together, any conflicts become evident quickly – stakeholders can discuss and resolve them immediately consensus building: working alongside each other allows participants to develop an understanding of the wider issues capacity building: participants become informed decision-makers who are able to develop strategic solutions in a structured and inclusive manner increased probability of implementation: the workshops consider delivery issues from the start through a process that includes multi-disciplinary teamwork and engages politicians, funders, delivery bodies and the wider community.

Despite these advantages, challenges remain. The biggest of these is how to reconcile different views and avoid ‘consensus as compromise’, that is, reaching decisions that no one objects to but no one believes in either. The new approach as outlined in this guide addresses difficult issues head on: this will be a tough process and not everybody is going to get everything they hoped for. It selects a handful of good, deliverable projects rather than agreeing to a long list of untested ones. And it develops strategic themes, spatial options and proposals for

key projects to a level that is detailed enough for the wider community to engage with, allows for proper testing and forecasting of impacts, and provides adequate guidance for delivery partners.

The whole process at a glance
Our guide takes you through the whole large scale urban design process, step-bystep.

Prepare – understand the challenge

Setting up a project management structure o Select the project team o Select the project steering group o Select a project champion o Write your project management plan Scoping the project o Organise a scoping workshop o Determine the spatial boundary Preparing the stakeholder communication plan o Identify all potential stakeholders o Plan the stakeholder involvement Gathering background information o Review existing documents o Source missing data o Explore place identity o Create a dataset resource Summarising and mapping information o Select relevant data o Use GIS where possible o Present data clearly Analysing information o Analyse data o Do a positioning study o Present analysis to stakeholders Writing a brief for the design phase o Re-affirm project aims and boundary o Review the project structure o Consider delivery challenges o Finalise design quality aspirations o Publish the brief

Design - develop a spatial strategy

Developing the strategy o Plan the design workshops o Check workshop logistics o Hold the design workshops o Share the results Testing the options o Create a testing process o Present the findings o Choose a preferred option

Preparing a design guide o Review existing design guidance o Draft design guide o Develop the guide o Publish design guide Finalising the spatial strategy o Write your report o Publish and promote the report

Implement - deliver the strategy

Developing an implementation plan o Understand the challenges o Hold an implementation workshop o Write your implementation plan Planning the delivery o Understand delivery mechanisms o Identify the delivery options o Compare commitments to requirements o Decide who will do what o Attract new delivery partners Delivering the strategy o Decide on planning measures o Develop a phasing plan o Deliver design quality Monitoring and revising the strategy o Measure the impact of the strategy o Revise the strategy

Prepare – understand the challenge
Define the project scope, select a spatial boundary, choose your project team, inform stakeholders, gather information, analyse and write a brief for the design phase. The people who set up the large scale urban design project start by defining its scope. The area of study must obviously relate to the scale at which problems can be understood and possible solutions tested. They select a project team, a steering group and a champion to secure the necessary political backing. The project team writes a management plan that includes the aims, outputs and outcomes, a timeline, milestones, resources and risks. It also sets out how it will communicate with all those involved, including with the general public. The team gathers, summarises, maps and analyses the background information needed for the design phase. This is an intensive and creative part of the process where participants interrogate data and learn a lot about their area. It is informed by perceptions of the quality of the existing area. They look at issues and data in a multi-layered way, assisted by strong and imaginative imagery and presentation of data and spatial information. The culmination of this phase is a design brief that guides the next phase of work. It sets out the vision statement for the project and includes a summary of the information and analysis, delivery challenges for the wide area, aspirations for design quality and indicators to monitor the forthcoming spatial strategy and/or priority projects.

A step-by-step guide to the preparation phase
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Setting up a project management structure Scoping the project Preparing the stakeholder communication plan Gathering background information Summarising and mapping information Analysing information Writing a brief for the design phase

Setting up a project management structure
Project stakeholders decide what the project management structure will be, and set up the project team and steering group. The project team then prepares a management plan. Managing a large scale urban design project will not generally conform to existing project management structures; a new set-up will be required. Stakeholders will need to appoint a:

project team responsible for overall project management and delivering project outputs project steering group responsible for governing the project, including providing strategic guidance to the project team, signing-off key stages of work, raising awareness of the project and coordinating work on the strategy with other activities of the partners project champion from the steering group who is responsible for promoting the project internally and externally, and taking the lead for getting political support.

How to set up a project management structure
1. Select the project team The project team, led by the Project Director, will be responsible for day-to day management of the project and for delivering project outputs. 2. Select the project steering group The project steering group represents all the project partners – members of the client group – and provides a strategic direction for the project. 3. Select a project champion The project champion is the key member of the steering group – often its chair – whose main role is to lead in promoting the project and securing political and community support for it. 4. Write your project management plan This is the responsibility of the project team.

Select the project team
The project team, led by the Project Director, will be responsible for day-to day management of the project and for delivering project outputs. Project team members should be able to:
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manage the complexities of a large-scale project, including multi-agency and multi-sectoral interests combine project management and technical expertise with excellent communication and partnership facilitation skills.

The team may be:
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a group of representatives of the partner organisations (for example, secondments from partner local authorities) an externally procured team that runs the project on behalf of the partnership – this approach will need in-house capability and expertise to project manage the consultants.

During the course of the project, particularly its design phase, the project team will have to be supplemented by teams of specialists to complete specific elements of work. For instance a cross-disciplinary team may have to be brought in to help facilitate or run design workshops and to guide the preparation of materials before, between and after the workshops. Whatever model the project takes, including a component of local expertise in the project team (for example, local authority staff) will be valuable, to bring in local knowledge, ensure strategy deliverability and knowledge transfer.

Select the project steering group
The project steering group represents all the project partners – members of the client group – and provides a strategic direction for the project. The project steering group is often a sub-set of the overall partnership (perhaps the environmental management, planning or place-making sub-group). Its role is to:
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make sure that stakeholders and the public understand the merits of the project be instrumental in agreeing the overall objectives of the project amongst the partners keep the partners and the project team firmly focused on delivering those objectives during the course of the project lead and motivate the project team provide signoff at key stages of work raise awareness of the project internally and externally undertake high-level negotiations amongst the partners and with external parties transfer knowledge from the project to the stakeholders help coordinate the work on the strategy with other activities of the partners and other relevant bodies in the area.

To be able to fulfil its role, the steering group must be both partisan and nonexecutive, as well as representative in terms of various locations within the area and the relevant disciplines and sectors. The group derives its legitimacy from its members, which should come from both public (and therefore representative) and private sector stakeholders. It should also include independent members - individuals with a strong track record in delivering large projects and cross-boundary strategies, to act in an advisory role.

Select a project champion
The project champion is the key member of the steering group – often its chair – whose main role is to lead in promoting the project and securing political and community support for it. The project champion must be fully committed to the project objectives, informed of its progress and be able to promote it in the media, at key events and lead high-level negotiations and meetings. He/she will be the inspirational ‘face’ of the project. The project champion should also have excellent negotiating and diplomacy skills to help reconcile conflicting views and interests and keep the focus of the partners on the strategic issues and objectives.

Write your project management plan
Writing the project management plan is the responsibility of the project team. The plan should include:

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the project aims, outputs and outcomes: at this early stage these will be at a rather general level, but will be amended and expanded as the project progresses (see Scoping the project) project organisational structure, including roles and responsibilities an outline of the process, including key phases and milestones, timeline and the level of resources required (see Scoping the project) a risk management plan that includes a risk register and sets out the general approach to tackling different types of risks that may arise during the course of the project a communications plan that identifies the stakeholders, sets out their communication needs and states how the results of the various stages of the project will be disseminated (see Preparing the stakeholder communication plan).

Scoping the project
Defining the problem and establishing the relevance of the project to stakeholders, building a sense of common purpose, getting agreement to proceed and determining the project’s overall scope, including spatial boundary. Scoping the project involves:
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defining the problem that the project will address outlining the project aims, including specific outcomes and outputs, as well as success indicators outlining the process proposing the organisational structure that will manage the project.

Scoping the project also includes determining the project’s spatial boundary. It is unlikely that a project’s boundary will correspond directly with administrative boundaries. Drawing a large scale urban design project boundary is not a precise science – it often remains ‘fuzzy’. It is important to remain flexible in your approach and to make judgements based on the issues that need to be addressed by the project.

How to scope the project
1. Organise a scoping workshop This will give stakeholders a chance to find out what the project is all about, and for all to become convinced of the benefits of the process. 2. Determine the spatial boundary Depending on the problem that the project has been set up to tackle, you might determine the spatial boundary differently.

Organise a scoping workshop
Organising a scoping workshop will give stakeholders a chance to find out what the project is all about, and for all to become convinced from the outset of the benefits that participating in the process may bring them and the location they represent. At this stage the discussion should be structured at a general level since the project aims will not yet be clearly defined. However, it is important to achieve a sense of common purpose and to build a ‘business case’ for the strategy. The stakeholders may be daunted by the unpredictability and complexity of the process. It will be important to spend time to build trust and give assurances that the risks will be managed over the course of the project. Much of this is about building interpersonal relationships, so the partners can gain comfort with the individual/s leading and facilitating the process. If there is agreement, discuss the organisational structure and working method for the project and allocate appropriate resources in order to carry it through. It is only then that the project can proceed to the next steps (as set out in this guide). If not, discuss what needs to be done to satisfy people’s concerns.

Determine the spatial boundary
Depending on the problem that the project has been set up to tackle, you might determine the spatial boundary differently. Determining the spatial boundary is often done on the basis of one of the following functional patterns:
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labour market definition (travel to work pattern) economic activity (links between business, interrelated economic clusters) service use (travel to study, travel to shop, travel to travel and so on) housing market boundaries (residential moves).

Alternatively you might use other factors that places have in common:
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historic and cultural traditions (for example, a shared post-industrial heritage) shared natural and built environment features (such as unifying landscape features, canal or river corridors, particular townscape features) bioregions, which are interrelated natural and social systems relevant to environmental sustainability media coverage (for example, the catchment of a local or sub-regional newspaper or TV station).

Recent research has also begun to review non-tangible networks of interaction such as information flows or levels of knowledge exchange (physical & virtual). In most cases the eventual project boundary will be based on a combination of a number of these methods. Most importantly the boundary should encompass the area within which the causes of the problem at the heart of the project can be studied and the solutions for it tested.

Preparing the stakeholder communication plan
The stakeholder communication plan sets out who the stakeholders are and how they will be involved. It is part of the project management plan. There are often have multiple levels of governance and numerous public, private and third sector organisations that act at crossboundary level. Many of these influence the area’s identity and performance and have a stake in its spatial development. Large scale urban design stakeholders also include the public (various interest- and placebased groups that sit outside local governance system), potential new investors and skilled workforce which the strategy may aim to attract into the area. You need to plan how the project will engage with all these stakeholders.

How to prepare the stakeholder communication plan
1. Identify all potential stakeholders Identify key stakeholders early on and assess their interest and potential influence on the project. 2. Plan the stakeholder involvement Once you have identified your stakeholders you should decide how and when they need to be involved and record this in a stakeholder communication plan.

Identify all potential stakeholders
Identify key stakeholders early on and assess their interest and potential influence on the project. Assess stakeholder interest in the project and potential stakeholder influence at the beginnning so that you can determine the level of direct engagement and role that each stakeholder may have. Project stakeholders may include:

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local authorities (planning, regeneration, housing, economic development, transport and highways, green space and other relevant departments) through senior officers and elected members, particularly relevant portfolio holders national governmental departments, cross-boundary authorities and partnerships – through senior officer and elected political representatives education and health authorities and key institutions (such as universities) housing companies and agencies highways agency in charge of major roads and motorways the environment and waterways agencies and organisations economic development organisations development or regeneration companies natural environment and heritage authorities and organisations tourism organisations, visitors and convention authorities chambers of commerce major sub-regional institutions and ‘beacons’ (for example, key cultural institutions, , major employers) large infrastructure providers and owners (for example, airports, port authorities) private sector delivery companies such as utility providers, investors, developers, businesses and entrepreneurs relevant third sector organisations, community and voluntary groups (interestor place-based).

Plan the stakeholder involvement
Once you have identified your stakeholders you should decide how and when they need to be involved and record this in a stakeholder communication plan.

Decide on stakeholder involvement
To determine roles and levels of direct engagement for your stakeholders you should assess what their interest and potential influence will be. Depending on their potential influence and interest in the project stakeholders may be involved by:
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formal representation on the steering group (primary stakeholders or project partners) participating and contributing in workshops and meetings (secondary stakeholders), or as observers (tertiary stakeholders).

Alternatively, others may be content to receive information and updates as project outputs become available.

Write a stakeholder communication plan
This should include:
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list of stakeholders classification of stakeholders according to their role and level of engagement how often will the project team communicate with different types of stakeholders what forms of communication will be used for different types of stakeholders, at different stages of the project.

Gathering background information
Establishing a comprehensive evidence base – including ‘hard’ and ’soft’ data – is crucial background for understanding further the problems that the spatial strategy should address and developing responses to them. The ’hard’ data that you require for a strategic urban design project can be split into two types: ‘static’ data, which relates to the area’s physical structure, location, natural and built assets, and ‘dynamic’ data, which is the information related to its population and complex social, economic and environmental processes and relationships. It is important to obtain data at different spatial levels, although generally it is best to obtain data at the most local spatial level available (for instance at street, block or plot level). In some cases this will be crucial to uncover links, interdependencies and causes of problems. The ‘soft’ data that you need to collect includes information on people’s attitudes towards change, as well as their views and perceptions of place identity. This is a crucial part of developing the spatial strategy because a significant step in transforming an area is to understand and change people’s perceptions of it.

How to gather background information
1. Review existing documents This includes reviewing existing cross-boundary strategies, large-scale proposals and relevant policy documents that relate to your area. 2. Source missing data A trawl through existing studies will often provide a wealth of relevant data. If that is not enough, additional data can be obtained from public (free) sources or purchased from commercial providers. 3. Explore place identity As well as consulting with key stakeholders, this phase of work may require more broadly based public consultation to gather feedback on existing attitudes to any possible change and wider area issues that need to be addressed as a priority. 4. Create a dataset resource Because of the importance of good data and the difficulties and costs related to obtaining it, cross-boundary partnerships should establish a dataset resource.

Review existing documents
This includes reviewing existing cross-boundary strategies, large-scale proposals and relevant policy documents that relate to your area. The purpose of this review is to:
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identify the data already available investigate the range, age and relevance of data identify gaps such as additional data that needs to be obtained from other sources or through bespoke surveys and studies.

Identifying the data that is already available should include a review of the following:
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population studies (existing profile, growth projections and demographic profile) vision documents (community aspirations) urban design or morphology studies landscape or townscape characterisation studies regeneration strategies key statutory planning documents, strategies and plans housing market strategies economic development strategies retail studies tourism studies transport plans communications and marketing strategies landscape management strategies environmental protection and management strategies (for example, water, energy, waste) green infrastructure and public realm strategies land capacity studies masterplans for significant areas (for example, urban extensions, town centres, major employment areas) development briefs for sites of strategic importance strategies and proposals related to the distribution and provision of key community facilities (health, education, leisure and physical activity, cultural) urban design, design quality or placemaking guides, charters and protocols.

Source missing data
A trawl through existing studies will often provide a wealth of relevant data. If that is not enough, additional data can be obtained from public (free) sources or purchased from commercial providers. Beware that obtaining relevant data from different sources and making it useful for your strategy may not be a straight forward undertaking - the spatial coverage of the data may be patchy, it will be provided in a variety of formats and at different output levels. Complex data interpretation, conversion and format alignment will be required. If the search through the data sources fails to provide the necessary information, the remaining data gaps can be filled by commissioning bespoke studies and surveys. This should be the last resort, given the usually high cost of such work. To identify gaps in your data, check what you have against the comprehensive list of data sources below.

Data sources
Large scale urban design projects may not need information on all of the sections below, but you will need data on at least some of the following.

1. Location and physical structure
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position in regional, national and international context spatial boundary, size, shape settlements and sub-areas urban configuration and structure

2. Natural and built assets
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topography, key natural features, key views and vistas (including from key roads and railways), protected views landscape characterisation geology green infrastructure, parklands, green links forests key wildlife habitats and ecological areas water system and coastline major public spaces key historic buildings and sites historic and townscape characterisation protected areas (natural and historic)

3. Environmental data
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flood plains and flood protection water supply, aquifers air pollution CO2 emissions waste management (key sites)

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energy use energy production sites

4. Demographics
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population profile (age, gender, ethnicity) working population profile and percentages population density social deprivation levels migration levels and patterns population projections household growth including relative contribution of household formation and (separately) economic development to projected population increase

5. Employment/economic development
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income per capita (including breakdown across major sectors, for example, knowledge-based, services, manufacturing) employment locations by type (including number of people employed at major sites such as town centres, names and locations of major employers, floorspace) established economic clusters and what they specialise in links between businesses or economic clusters projected growth of different industries including land requirement forecast major sub-regional, national and international institutions and firms proportion of national versus local firms types of employment, for example, percentage contribution of knowledgebased and service industries to GDP in the area agricultural uses, productive land (including number of people employed by site) travel to work areas or commuting patterns including to major economic centres outside the area

6. Housing
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location and spatial structure of residential neighbourhoods density, typology, age, quality of stock, state of repair mix of tenures

7. Transport and accessibility
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principal road links including volume of traffic car ownership railway links including frequency of service and journey times to major destinations in the country other public transport systems including frequency of service and number of passengers accessibility of public transport (revealing gaps in provision or areas with no easy access to public transport within walkable distance) nearest airports, accessibility and number of passengers from the area who use them

8. Retail and tourism

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retail locations, floor space, type of retail offer, number of employees in the sector catchment areas major visitor infrastructure – hotels, visitor attractions visitor volume, profile, pattern

9. Social and cultural infrastructure
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major cultural facilities including significant public art major sports and leisure facilities (of cross-boundary significance) education facilities (predominantly secondary and tertiary) health facilities social and civic services catchment areas

10. Future development and existing policies
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development opportunities current applications major land ownerships boundaries of government bodies (for example, local authorities) boundaries of development and infrastructure delivery bodies boundaries of statutory documents and current policies

11. Other
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local and regional media coverage significant residents history internal and external perceptions of the area: results of public surveys or coverage in regional, national and international media photographs or videos related to the place identity and design quality in the area

Explore place identity
As well as consulting with key stakeholders, this phase of work may require more broadly based public consultation to gather feedback on existing attitudes to any possible change and cross-boundary issues that need to be addressed as a priority. Alongside gathering 'hard data' about the area, people’s views on what constitutes the area’s identity - what makes it distinctive - should also be gathered. Importantly this should include views:
  

on what constitutes the identity of the sub-region as a whole and the locations within it held by those who live or work in the area and those from outside it held by people from all sections of the society.

This can be done by holding a place identity workshop, and through media such as local papers, TV or web sites. A place identity workshop may combine the work on defining the area’s current identity with the beginnings of the design phase to start to explore how this may change.

Create a dataset resource
Because of the importance of good data and the difficulties and costs related to obtaining it, cross-boundary partnerships should establish a dataset resource. Because of the importance of good data and the difficulties and costs related to obtaining it, cross-boundary partnerships should consider establishing:
 

a list of relevant datasets for informing strategic projects and monitoring performance a process of regular data gathering and updating.

Many partnerships already have to monitor performance indicators so expanding these to include key spatial data will make the job of developing a spatial strategy much easier. It will also help to monitor the partnership’s performance and effectiveness and generate information to communicate to a wider audience. Integrating data gathering into the partnership’s regular work programme, especially if combined with an in-house resource to do it, may be less costly than continuing to commission consultants to carry out bespoke studies and surveys.

Summarising and mapping information
Pulling together the most relevant information for the spatial strategy and using compelling techniques to present this to stakeholders. Summarising and mapping the relevant data early on will help to detect possible conflicts and synergies. This is normally done when preparing for the first major design workshop. As well as pulling out the data, this task includes thinking about how best to present the information you select as being most important. Using creative and visually expressive techniques will help to:

 

make the data easy to comprehend, especially for non-professional audiences synthesise data and to detect the most relevant issues communicate and promote the strategy and key issues.

How to summarise and map information
1. Select relevant data To avoid data overload you should focus on the most relevant information. 2. Use GIS where possible To analyse the data and start developing spatial options, all data that can be geographically/spatially referenced should be mapped using geographic information systems (GIS). 3. Present data clearly When mapping and presenting the data, use creative and visually expressive, captivating techniques so that people can understand the data.

Select relevant data
To avoid data overload you should focus on the most relevant information. The data should be sifted to decide which datasets are most relevant and at what spatial scale or resolution they should be presented in order to analyse the problem at hand – this could range from an individual plot or street to cross-boundary scale. In deciding on the most appropriate spatial scale, it may be important, for instance, to look at social deprivation at neighbourhood or even street level, while levels of employment at town or city level. In many cases the deciding factor will be the spatial scale of the already available raw data and the resources available for gathering further data. It is often useful to present certain relevant data at different spatial scales concurrently.

Use GIS where possible
To be able to analyse the data and start developing spatial options, all data that can be geographically / spatially referenced should be mapped using geographic information systems (GIS). A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analysing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. Using GIS software packages, data can be referenced as points, lines, surfaces or volumes. It can be mapped in layers and viewed, understood, interrogated, interpreted and visualized in many ways, to reveal relationships, patterns and trends. The data can be presented in different forms, including maps, globes, reports and charts. You can use other software packages or media alongside GIS for mapping or presenting data. However, you need to establish a basic GIS database and maintain it throughout the life of the project (including delivery) so that it becomes a lasting repository of the spatial information about the area.

Present data clearly
When mapping and presenting the data, use creative and visually expressive, captivating techniques so that people can understand the data. Think about the most appropriate and effective presentation technique (map, diagram, chart, table) and the most captivating media (drawings, photographs or videos).

Analysing information
Use a range of analysis techniques – including comparisons with other similar areas – to identify the critical issues that need to be considered further. Once you have gathered the information you need to analyse it to identify the physical aspects of place that need to be addressed in order to achieve project aims. For instance the analysis may uncover critical issues related to the provision of transport infrastructure, health or education provision in particular parts of the area or inadequate range of housing offer for the given population profile. This may seem overwhelming because of the sheer volume of data. You can overcome this by using a range of analysis techniques. The results of the analysis need to be considered by all stakeholders to decide what issues will be selected as the most important and form part of the design brief for the next phase of the project. The analysis should also include comparison with similar areas in the country and internationally, to better understand the qualities and challenges of your area. This type of analysis – called ‘positioning’ – may help to:
   

establish a starting point for the strategy - a position in relation to other comparable areas – against which its impact will be measured set the ultimate goals and to consider how radical the transformation of place and strategy targets could and should be highlight specific issues and aspects of the area that are particularly weak in comparison to its competitors and need to be moved up the list of priorities highlight where the place’s performance may be good in comparison to others.

How to analyse information
1. Analyse data Undertake a SWOT (strengths–weaknesses–opportunities–threats) analysis to understand further the area’s problems and what is causing them, as well as to understand its potentials and qualities that will the starting point for developing the strategy. 2. Do a positioning study Your positioning study should use a range of indicators to compare your area’s position in relation to other comparable areas. 3. Present analysis to stakeholders Stakeholders need to absorb the analysis as part of the process of deciding what issues will be selected as the most important for further consideration.

Analyse data
Undertake a SWOT (strengths–weaknesses–opportunities–threats) analysis to understand further the area’s problems and what is causing them, as well as to understand its potentials and qualities that will the starting point for developing the strategy. Use a variety of techniques to do that, including some or all of the following:
  

   

analyse the different overlays of data to study conflicts or detect potentials and synergies (e.g. Liveable Arterials Plan, Auckland, New Zealand) translate sets of data into a form that can be used to inform the design phase (e.g. Northamptonshire Workstyle Trends Study) use models to analyse the relationship between different aspects of place, principally its physical structure or characteristics and social, economic and environmental performance (e.g. Jeddah Strategic Planning Framework, Saudi Arabia) analyse characteristics of individual places within the sub-region and the roles and relationships between them (e.g. City Links) synthesise key information about the sub-region in a place identity or strategic characterisation document (e.g. Thames Gateway identity project) analyse internal potentials and threats, including attitudes to change (e.g. Cambridge Futures) analyse key global environmental, economic and social trends that may affect the strategy (for instance national or international carbon reduction targets, changes in the nature of the global economic market, ageing population, growth of single person households (e.g. Central Florida Region, USA Where in the World are We?).

Do a positioning study
Your positioning study should use a range of indicators to compare the your area’s position in relation to other comparable areas. If resources are limited, then restrict this study to those aspects of the wider area that are related to the key objectives of the spatial strategy. For example, if the aim is to boost economic performance through improvements in the quality of the built environment then your positioning study should focus on the indicators related to economic performance and quality of the environment. This may subsequently highlight the aspects of the environment that need to be addressed.

Present analysis to stakeholders
Stakeholders need to absorb the analysis as part of the process of deciding what issues will be selected as the most important for further consideration. It is therefore best to conclude this phase of work with a workshop that combines the task of considering the results of the analysis with the next task – writing the design brief.

Writing a brief for the design phase
The design brief summarises the work in the Prepare phase, sets the context for the Design phase and provides an opportunity for partners to reconsider decisions made earlier in the process. The design brief is the culmination of the Prepare phase and establishes the framework for the Design phase. The brief should include:

    

a summary of project motivations (‘the problem’), re-affirmed aims and success indicators confirmed strategy boundary summary of key information about the place analysis of this information (results of the SWOT analysis) what the delivery challenges are design quality aspirations and principles.

At the same time the project management plan should be updated, to re-affirm project organisational structure, process and budget. Most of these elements will continue to be revised throughout the remaining phases of the project. Now is the time to communicate the aims and the inclusive and positive nature of the large scale urban design process to external audiences, particularly prospective investors and developers. If you can engage prospective delivery partners early on in the project they may bring valuable new perspectives and fresh ideas, and a new set of demands and interests, to inform the second – design – phase of the project.

How to write a brief for the design phase
1. Re-affirm project aims and boundary It is important for the project partners to re-consider at this stage the project aims – outputs and outcomes – in the light of the exploratory work that has taken place during the prepare phase of the project. 2. Review the project structure Are the proposed working methods, resources and project team identified in the first task still adequate? 3. Consider delivery challenges The project partners need to focus on delivery issues from the outset. The likely range of delivery routes, partners and mechanisms and land ownership issues must inform the next phase of the project and be included in the design brief. 4. Finalise design quality aspirations You need to agree the broad design quality aspirations and principles that the

projects coming out of the strategy will have to adhere to. This may take the form of a ‘design charter’ or a section of the vision statement.. 5. Publish the brief You are now in a position to finalise and publish the design brief, which will inform the next two phases of work.

Re-affirm project aims and boundary
It is important for the project partners to re-consider at this stage the project aims – outputs and outcomes – in the light of the exploratory work that has taken place during the prepare phase of the project. Project aims are often summarised in the form of a vision statement to be incorporated in the design brief. Sometimes the vision statement will include, in a short outline, only the key principles and issues that the strategy should explore agreed amongst the partners. In other cases it might include the results of the initial round of consultation with wider stakeholder group, including the public on crossboundary issues and strategy aims or broad spatial options (e.g. Christchurch Urban Design Strategy Community Charter). Whatever format you choose, present the vision statement in a succinct and eye-catching way. You also need to re-affirm the spatial boundary. After the intensive period of learning about the place throughout the ‘prepare’ phase of the process the project partners should be in a much better position to decide whether the original boundary is right.

Review the project structure
Are the proposed working methods, resources and project team identified in the first task still adequate? Consider with partners whether they are the best arrangements, given what you now know about the scope of the project and update the project management plan accordingly. This will avoid complications (including potential cost escalation) once the main design stage commences.

Consider delivery challenges
The project partners need to focus on delivery issues from the outset. The likely range of delivery routes, partners and mechanisms and land ownership issues must inform the next phase of the project and be included in the design brief. Doing this may narrow down the range and nature of the activities and projects that the strategy will lead into. On the other hand, consistent consideration of the delivery context, however restrictive it may be, might boost creativity and lead to a creative exploration of alternative strategy scenarios, delivery routes or funding sources.

Finalise design quality aspirations
You need to agree the broad design quality aspirations and principles that the projects coming out of the strategy will have to adhere to. This may take the form of a ‘design charter’ or a section of the vision statement. You can draw on established national, cross-boundary or local design protocols, guides and policies. If that is not available or adequate in order to achieve the high aspirations of the project, then partners may decide that a more comprehensive design guide or policy document should be developed in the next phase of the project.

Publish the brief
You are now in a position to finalise and publish the design brief, which will inform the next two phases of work. The brief is likely to include:
   

vision statement design charter delivery issues paper compendium of sub-regional information and analysis, including strategy boundary (sometimes published separately as a 'place atlas').

Spread positive messages about the prospects for the large-scale urban design process beyond the your area.

Design – develop a spatial strategy
The design phase is based on one or more intensive workshops that are guided by expert facilitators. The people participating develop the vision into a more detailed ‘story of change’ that includes strategic themes and priority projects. The identification of issues and areas of investigation and design into strategic themes is an important characteristic of the process. It identifies the critical issues and projects that need to be addressed at cross-boundary level. They create in parallel a number of spatial options or scenarios for implementing the themes and projects and test these by simulating what the impact would be. The options, together with the results of the testing, are often put out to wider community consultation. Once feedback has been analysed, an option is taken forward and refined, including more detailed design briefs or proposals for specific sites. The key output of this phase is a spatial strategy, which summarises the story of change for the area, preferred themes, projects and the spatial option for their implementation. It is published widely in the area in formats that are easy to understand, to assist public buy in. Those participating then prepare and publish a design guide to underpin the implementation of more detailed proposals: the success of the urban design process will be judged by the quality of the buildings, spaces and places that are developed.

A step-by-step guide to the design phase
1. 2. 3. 4. Developing the strategy Testing the options Preparing a design guide Finalising the spatial strategy

Developing the strategy
Stakeholders work together in design workshops to develop the spatial strategy, including a design guide. The design phase is based on design workshops. The starting point is the work done previously such as identifying the area’s key characteristics, identity and position. In practice, the final part of the prepare phase often overlaps with the early exploration of design possibilities. The purpose of these workshops is to engage stakeholders in:
   

developing the vision into a more detailed ‘story of change’ that includes strategic themes and a number of priority projects under these themes developing and testing a number of spatial options for implementing the themes and projects agreeing the preferred spatial option developing a design guide that includes principles, detailed guidance and quality standards to underpin the delivery of strategic themes and projects.

Throughout the design phase, the various aspects of the spatial strategy - themes, projects and spatial options - are developed in parallel, and tested against the indicators set out in the brief, including indicators concerning deliverability. This is an iterative process; there will be several rounds of testing and adjusting until the final strategy is agreed. It is important that a wide range of stakeholders is involved in the design phase – this is the central creative phase of the project, so their active involvement will be crucial for maintaining the positive attitudes and enthusiasm generated in the initial phase of the project.

What do I need to know?
Before you continue with the design phase, you need to understand the three concepts that underpin the whole phase:

Design workshops Design workshops must be carefully structured to enable different groups of stakeholders and technical teams to work together, and to allow for a series of different types of enquiry to occur in a controlled manner. A story of change Creating a story of change – a joint narrative or scenario that sets out how the area will change over time - helps to make the complex change process easier to comprehend for the many stakeholders and for the general public. Spatial options Spatial options have to be developed to explore how they may be realised in the area’s physical context. It is always good to explore a number of genuine options, based on different combinations of projects or themes.

More about developing the strategy
About the design workshops
Design workshops must be carefully structured to enable different groups of stakeholders and technical teams to work together, and to allow for a series of different types of enquiry to occur in a controlled manner. It is important that as much of the design work as possible is done during the workshops, with the participation of all the relevant stakeholders. Only the work such as further research, digitising hand drawn material, and collating and analysing workshop results should be done during the periods before and after workshops. For the workshops to be a success they need:
   

an experienced facilitation team thorough preparation the right people at the same place at the same time good interaction between the participants who all work on an equal footing and actively input into the process.

Even with all these elements in place, be realistic about what you can achieve and build flexibility into the process so that you can respond to any unplanned situations should they arise. For a strategic urban design project to succeed, political consensus is just as necessary a condition as a good design solution.

Developing a story of change
Creating a story of change – a joint narrative or scenario that sets out how the area will change over time - helps to make the complex change process easier to comprehend for the many stakeholders and for the general public. We all think in stories when we remember, assess or describe something. The story is developed as a set of discrete but interlinked steps in transforming the area’s physical context, that address the project’s economic, social or environmental concerns. These steps (projects, initiatives) are grouped under strategic themes. Depending on the overall aims of the strategy and the vision developed during phase 1, the story of change may be based on either reinforcing the existing identity and position of the area, or a fundamental departure from it. The latter may apply in places characterised by population and economic decline which require a thorough revisioning of the area’s economic rationale and physical and social structure. It may not always be necessary to put a lot of effort into developing the story. For example, a strategy focused on the delivery of a large piece of infrastructure might have a relatively simple story at its heart and could focus immediately on developing spatial options for implementing it. In contrast, a more exploratory strategy will require a more extensive story development, to define strategic themes and identify priority projects. The story of change may be developed as a big overarching idea/project, which then serves as an umbrella for strategic themes and projects sitting underneath it.

Strategic themes may be either:

based on individual disciplines or development sectors - for example, delivering specific types of housing or employment space projects on a specific type of sites (e.g. Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany) multi-disciplinary or multi-sectoral (e.g. Montpellier, France).

Multi-disciplinary or multi-sectoral themes act as containers for different types of projects linked by a certain, recognisable ‘pattern’ or a reference to a particular aspect of place identity. They offer a way of structuring content across sectors by considering both physical and functional aspects of place and forming a basis for mutual understanding and joint action. Strategic themes are implemented through projects, so the identification of projects runs in parallel to development of themes. Themes are evolutionary - their content and meaning can be altered, adjusted, expanded or reduced over time reflecting new trends or challenges. This means that new project may be identified and added to the existing list as the strategy develops.

Developing spatial options
Spatial options have to be developed to explore how they may be realised in the area’s physical context. It is always good to explore a number of genuine options, based on different combinations of projects or themes. The level of detail to which the spatial options for the realisation of themes and projects need to be developed depends on the type of project, the strategy’s key aims and scope and its delivery context. Consider for example the following two scenarios:

A ‘large-scale masterplanning’ project focusing on public transport provision and associated mixed use development is likely to require relatively detailed and prescriptive spatial options and proposals for specific sites (e.g. Glattal light railway, Switzerland). A more explorative strategy aimed at addressing general development pressure or economic decline in the area is more likely to develop and test broad spatial options and set key spatial parameters. This will be supplemented by more detailed strategic design briefs or masterplans for a small number of priority projects identified by the strategy (e.g. Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany or Montpellier, France) or by generic illustrations of how the broad options may be realised at local level (e.g. Hertfordshire Charrette).

Regardless of the final form of the strategy and the level of detail in the final documents, testing spatial options should be based on real spatial proposals and sites, ideally developed to street level, to make sure that project partners make a reliable assessment.

Plan the workshops
You need to decide how many workshops to hold and who to invite to attend each workshop. More than one workshop may be required for the following reasons:

 

The early workshop/s will focus on developing the story, exploring themes, discussing potential projects, while the subsequent workshops may focus more on translating these ideas and concepts into spatial options, testing and evolving options. Not all important gaps in the information can be identified in advance; some research may be required between workshops. While many attendees may have participated in workshops, few are likely to have experienced this particular type of intensive, hands-on design exploration. Multiple workshops allow them to gain the confidence to participate meaningfully. While there is some overlap, it is important to ensure that the workshops serve a different purpose based on a detailed programme of theme and place-based group and plenary sessions. Following a design workshop you may need to do wider community consultation on the options and then organise another workshop to incorporate the results of this consultation in the final options.

Several groups of people will be involved in the workshop during all or some of its sessions:

 

the workshop team headed by the workshop leader – made out of project team, supplemented by a team of multi-disciplinary specialists brought in to help facilitate or run the workshops and lead in the preparation of design material during and between the workshops. the technical team, including local authority officers, representatives of relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies and consultants working for them; the primary stakeholder group, including elected political representatives and senior management level in key stakeholder organisations a wider stakeholder group, including secondary stakeholders (e.g. environmental groups, community groups, business and development community, transport etc) and the general public.

Consider carefully how to involve technical experts where there is a deficiency in local knowledge. Their involvement must not bias any one discipline or interest area over others.

Consider workshop logistics
The workshops are intensive design exercises and you need to make sure you have organised them thoroughly in advance to make sure they are a success. When running the actual workshop/s gather, collate and summarise information at the end of each day so that you can present a summary of progress at the beginning of the next session.

You can also communicate progress via live web updates, blogs or continuously updated exhibitions of the key outcomes at the reception area of the workshop or other dedicated exhibition space nearby. These mediums can also help to keep stakeholders who don’t attend up to date on progress. During the workshops live GIS/CAD should be available to test emerging proposals, get measurements, generate quick overlays etc.

Hold the design workshops
The initial design workshop focuses on ‘visioning’ or ‘place identity’ while the main workshops develop the themes, priority projects and spatial options.

Initial design workshop
The initial design workshop can be combined with the session on finalising the findings of the previous project phase, including the final stages of the SWOT analysis, and positioning work, place identity exploration and development of the design brief. A workshop that combines these activities is typically called a ‘visioning’ or ‘place identity workshop’ and is conducted over several days. Its key outcome is a consensus on the types of strategic themes that will be the focus of the strategy. The work is conducted in plenary and smaller, place-based groups. It includes several focused sessions with relevant specialist and key stakeholders, and one or two open sessions for a wider stakeholder group.

Main design workshops
The main design workshop/s are aimed at developing further the themes, priority projects and, in parallel, spatial options. Participants also test the themes and spatial options (see ‘Testing the options’ task). During the main design workshops a variety of different theme and place-based groups will develop strategic themes and spatial options. Place-based groups are based on the towns, cities, rural areas or any other relevant definition of sub-areas within the strategy boundary. Theme-based groups may be formed on the basis of:
 

the multi-disciplinary strategic themes developed during the course of the previous workshops or the individual key disciplines or sectors involved in the development of the strategy.

The latter might include groups dealing with:

green network (green / open space, biodiversity, land form character, recreation, etc.)

      

movement network (public transport, vehicular traffic, cycling and pedestrian movement etc.) blue network (waterways/lakes/sea) social network (community facilities, cultural issues, wellbeing/health, affordability, crime and safety etc.) employment network (knowledge-based and service sectors, manufacturing, economic initiatives, etc.) activity centres (the functions/roles of district, town or city centres, centres hierarchy and complementarity, relationship to surrounding areas etc.) housing issues (housing preferences, development economics, etc.) environmental quality and climate change (energy, clean water supply, flooding/surface water, recycling, carbon emission, etc.).

Early involvement of the primary stakeholders in the workshop is important for getting project support among their constituents and staff. Politicians should be engaged in the first workshop presentation session, which sets out preliminary ideas and major issues. Midway through each workshop, invite primary stakeholders to attend a review. This provides an opportunity for politicians to:
 

indicate whether there are any provisional ideas to come out of the workshop that carry high political risk assess if the scope of the workshop has sufficiently covered key areas.

The final day of the workshop presents the summary of the work carried out for stakeholder approval and decisions regarding next steps.

Share the results
After the workshops, collated and digitised results of the work should be presented to wider groups. These groups should include:
  

technical officers politicians and senior management community representatives.

Feedback from these presentations should be combined with the feedback gathered during the workshops through live web blogs, updates, exhibitions etc. to feed into the selection of the preferred option.

Testing the options
There are a range of techniques and methods, including innovative community consultation techniques, to help you test the options and select the preferred one for delivering the spatial strategy. There are a number of techniques and methodologies that you can use to simulate and test the impact of the spatial options and proposals being developed during the design phase of the project. Many of the techniques used to analyse place data and ‘diagnose’ problems in the initial phase of the project can also be used to test design proposals. The most useful are models that simulate the effect of changes in the spatial structure and land use pattern on the environmental, social and economic processes and performance of place (e.g. Jeddah Strategic Planning Framework or Cambridge Futures). Note that the testing and modelling techniques should be used to support the design process and decision-making, rather than to generate solutions. Even with the best methodologies in place, the process of developing design options on the basis of the evidence gathered is not an automatic process. Once a set of options has been finalised the project partners need to decide on the preferred option – this may include another round of community consultation to get feedback.

How do I test the options?
1. Create a testing process You need to decide which methodology you are going to use and how the process will work. 2. Present the findings The results of testing the options should be summarised so that they relate directly to the aims and objectives of the strategy. 3. Choose a preferred option Deciding on the preferred option should ideally be done within the workshops, by engaging stakeholders directly in the decision-making process.

Create the testing process
You need to decide which methodology you are going to use and how the process will work.

Decide on the testing methodology
Deciding which technique to use for testing the options depends on the type of strategy and its objectives. There are testing methodologies that focus on specific issues, such as the environmental impact (e.g. Hertfordshire Charrette), or transport and land values (e.g. Cambridge Futures). Often a combination of techniques will be required to test against all objectives of the strategy.

Set up the process for testing options
You should conduct testing during workshops, alongside the actual design work, so that the results can be fed back into the design process directly and inform the evolution of the design solutions. Set up the baseline models before the workshops start and make technical support available while the workshops are running. Since testing can be lengthy and complex, it may not always be possible to complete it during a workshop. In that case the project programme should be structured so that the more time-demanding testing work can be completed between the design workshops.

Present your findings
The results of testing the options should be summarised so that they relate directly to the aims and objectives of the strategy. Think about how to communicate the results to stakeholders, especially wider community, so that they can make an informed decision regarding the preferred option. Focus on a small number of key indicators that will be included in the communications material, while keeping a more comprehensive set of results for the more technical audience, decision makers and potential investors as required. Present the findings in a format that can be understood easily by all stakeholders, using different media - for example, computer simulation and visualisation, diagrams, graphs, tables (e.g. Cambridge Futures).

Choose preferred option
Deciding on the preferred option should ideally be done within the workshops, by engaging stakeholders directly in the decision-making process. This can be combined with the feedback you have gathered from the wider community while the workshops have been running and at presentations of the design work to the wider stakeholder groups. But it is usually necessary to take the preferred options approved by the key stakeholders during the workshops out to wider consultation with the public, through techniques such as exhibitions, questionnaires and web-based voting. The extent of this consultation depends on the type of the strategy, its aims and whether it is statutory or non-statutory. Results of the consultation are fed back into the final design workshop, where stakeholders finalise the preferred option.

Preparing a design guide
The design guide will provide clear advice on the application of the design principles agreed in the previous phase of the project and on how quality standards should be used to achieve shared aspirations. The success of a large scale design process will be judged by the quality of the buildings, spaces and places that are developed in the area’s neighbourhoods, towns and cities. So the project partners need to be satisfied that developers and project proponents are provided with clear guidance about how to achieve this. Project stakeholders need to agree what quality design looks like at the same time as they are developing spatial options through design workshops. The design guide is based on the aspirations and principles that stakeholders agreed in the previous phase of the project. It contains:

more detailed guidance and advice on the application of the agreed design principles across a range of spatial scales, and design standards that all the projects coming out of the strategy must adhere to.

Depending on the type of strategy and its scope, the design guide may be specifically developed for the projects resulting from the strategy. Alternatively, it may be developed for application across the sub-region and beyond the particular sectors and projects covered by the strategy.

How do I prepare a design guide?
1. Review existing design guidance You need to review any existing design guidance against your partnership aims and see whether additional guidance is needed. 2. Draft design guide Nominate people from the partner organisations with sufficient expertise in planning, urban design and architectural quality to identify what additional design guidance is needed. 3. Develop the guide Further development of the guide and consultation with stakeholders should be conducted within the design workshops, alongside work on the spatial strategy. 4. Publish design guide Once the consultation on the guide is finished, it needs to be completed and published.

Review existing design guidance
You need to review any existing design guidance against your partnership aims and see whether additional guidance is needed. During the prepare phase the project partners will have debated, in broad terms, what design quality they expect from the projects coming out of the large scale urban design process. This may have been summarised as one section of the design brief, or as a separate ‘design charter’. Now is the time to check whether these broad outlines about design quality are sufficiently backed up in existing design guidance and policy for the area, or whether you need to publish additional advice. If you conclude that sufficient guidance is not available then move onto the next step.

Draft the design guide
Nominate people from the partner organisations with sufficient expertise in planning, urban design and architectural quality to identify what additional design guidance is needed. The nominated group drafts the guide, if necessary drawing on existing good practice. The guide needs to be generic enough to apply across the whole area, but specific enough to provide clear and unambiguous guidance about what the partners want and find unacceptable in design terms. It should, where possible, include images to help illustrate what good design already exists locally. The style of writing should convey an authoritative voice, but make clear where there is room for flexibility.

Develop the guide through workshops
Further development of the guide and consultation with stakeholders should be conducted within the design workshops, alongside work on the spatial strategy. Once the nominated group has drafted the guide they should present it back to the stakeholders in the initial design workshop. As with the strategy options, it may be necessary to take the guide out for wider community consultation if, for example, you intend to adopt it as a design policy. The strategic urban design process will identify strategic projects for the sub-region and include spatial propositions for these sites in the form of site specific design briefs. The level of detail in these will depend on the scope of the strategy and its type (see ‘Scoping the project’). The team preparing the design guide will have to work alongside the team preparing the spatial strategy to make sure that any areas not covered by the site-specific design proposals are adequately covered by the more generic design guidelines and standards included in the design guide.

Publish the design guide
Once the consultation on the guide is finished, it needs to be completed and published. The guide can be included within the main spatial strategy report or published as a stand-alone document.

Finalising the spatial strategy
This brings together the outputs from the design workshops into an accessible and attractive report. Once you have completed the design work, tested the options and chosen a preferred option you need to collate a summary of the results of the design phase of the strategic urban design process into the main strategy report. This will be the main output of the project. The implementation plan, which will be produced in the next phase of work may be later amalgamated with this report or published as a separate document. It is important that the report also contains a summary of the project context, issues and options considered during the course of the project, presented in a visually rich and captivating way. Visual material should be supplemented by concise descriptions. Another key output of the design work is the GIS database, which contains design drawings, maps and diagrams alongside the mapped social, economic and environmental data generated during the first two phases of the project. The database should be used as a lasting resource, maintained by the project team, to allow implementation monitoring and updating of the strategy.

How do I finalise the spatial strategy?
1. Write your report The key to the large scale urban design approach is the highly visual nature of its outputs. 2. Publish and promote the report The launch of the report should be widely promoted through media, such as TV and radio, conferences, exhibitions and presentations.

Write your report
The key to the large scale urban design approach is the highly visual nature of its outputs. The story of change, that is at the heart of the strategy, and the preferred spatial option should be conveyed in the main report primarily through images – photographs, maps, diagrams and drawings. One or two key images should be used as the main communication material – this could be a simple diagram or 3D visualisation of the proposed key spatial interventions and projects (e.g. Amsterdam Structural Vision 2040).

Promote the report
The launch of the report should be widely promoted through media, such as TV and radio, conferences, exhibitions and presentations. It is important to get the message out to as wide a group as possible, in order to gather further support for implementation and attract developers and investors. It is also important to show to the public how the feedback gathered through the design phase informed the final strategy.

Implement – deliver the strategy
The implementation plan sets out how the strategy will be delivered and by whom. This is based on the earlier exploration of delivery issues and its preparation may culminate in a dedicated workshop with delivery partners. The issues that are covered by the implementation plan are:
       

delivery mechanisms delivery partners costs, funding requirements and sources phasing and timing managing risks coordinating and monitoring of delivery monitoring the impact of the strategy revising and refreshing the strategy

This may highlight gaps in expertise or investment that need to be filled to make sure that the strategy can be delivered. Throughout the process, design quality needs to be continued to be made a priority, for example by strengthening existing design policies or introducing new ones into statutory plans; setting up design review or quality panels; or running design competitions. They also need to agree how to measure the impact of the spatial strategy. This can be a complex task, performed consistently over a long period, possibly decades.

A step-by-step guide to the implementation phase
1. 2. 3. 4. Developing an implementation plan Planning the delivery Delivering the strategy Monitoring and revising the strategy

Developing an implementation plan
The transition from strategy development to implementation needs to be guided by a plan for how it will be delivered and when, who will be responsible and what resources are available. The first task is to set out how the decisions made in the prepare and design phases will be delivered. The spatial strategy works across local boundaries, sectors and disciplines and focuses on improving design quality. The implementation plan must coordinate the actions of many stakeholders and set up mechanisms to ensure design quality across all projects coming out of the strategy. A cross-boundary strategy requires more a more flexible implementation than local or neighbourhood projects. Successful implementation requires:
 

a strong partnership, where each project partner is willing and able to engage in a constructive and proactive process an entrepreneurial delivery agency, that can deal with multiple demands and keep everyone focused on the objectives.

How do I develop an implementation plan?
1. Understand the challenges The main threats to delivery of a large scale spatial strategy are political change, discontinuity, unmanaged risks, scheduling issues and failing to update the strategy. 2. Hold an implementation workshop Exploring and deciding how to deliver the strategy is best done alongside the design work in workshops, with the delivery partners taking part in the design development process. 3. Write your implementation plan You implementation plan will need to everything needed to deliver the strategy.

Understand the challenges
The main threats to delivery of a large scale spatial strategy are political change, discontinuity, unmanaged risks, scheduling issues and failing to update the strategy. Changing political contexts can impede delivery, so a large scale urban design project may benefit from establishing a certain distance from the political process. Project leaders and champions should be non-partisan and independent. Other challenges to successful delivery include:
   

securing continuity of the ideas, principles and the project team managing risks: a long-term strategy carries with it greater risks phasing development over a long period refreshing, updating or revising the strategy.

Several other factors relating to public sector governance structure will affect the delivery of a spatial strategy at this scale:

the nature of administrative boundaries – for example many local authority boundaries in England are too tightly drawn, necessitating involvement of several local authorities in addressing significant social, economic and environmental concerns existence of elected mayors at sub-regional or city-regional level with adequate decision making power and financial resources – in England this is only in place, in Greater London existence of various types of sub-national governance structures and delivery models - over the recent years in England these included growth area delivery vehicles, development companies, corporations and partnerships and multi area agreements (MAAs), each with a different governance structure and remit financial autonomy of local authorities – the lack of financial autonomy of local authorities in England necessitates the engagement of private and third sectors in the delivery of large scale strategies division of responsibilities over different elements of the built environment across different levels of government – for example the responsibilities for education and health facilities, economic development, housing and transport in England are split between numerous agencies and non-departmental public bodies, local authorities and central government departments, with different governance structures, geographical remit, funding mechanisms and timetables range and management of assets such as land and infrastructure in public ownership - the shrinking ownership of public assets in England means that involving the private sector in developing infrastructure is almost inevitable.

Hold an implementation workshop
Exploring and deciding how to deliver the strategy is best done alongside the design work in workshops, with the delivery partners taking part in the design development process. Their knowledge and experience will be invaluable to inform the design and to achieve deliverable solutions. However, it is important prevent financial and delivery concerns from dominating the discussions ahead of social, environmental or quality of life concerns. You might use the final workshop in the design phase to draft the implementation plan, based on the investigation of delivery issues done throughout the first two phases of the project. Alternatively, you can run a separate, implementation-focused workshop to start the final phase of the project. This will allow all parties to focus on a more detailed exploration of delivery issues and to take part in developing the implementation plan.

An implementation workshop may be organised at the point of a different project structure or a newly formed delivery organisation taking over the project management role. A dedicated implementation workshop may also focus on promoting the strategy to potential investors and developers.

Write your implementation plan
This will cover all delivery issues, including mechanisms, partners, funding, timing, monitoring and revising your strategy. The issues that should be covered by this plan are:
       

implementation mechanisms delivery partners costs, funding requirements and sources phasing and timing managing risks coordinating and monitoring of delivery monitoring the impact of strategy revising and refreshing the strategy

Planning the delivery
You need to identify a suitable delivery structure using a creative combination of delivery mechanisms, and involve the right partners in implementation of the strategy. The purpose of the spatial strategy is to deliver change on the ground. Once the stakeholders have agreed the strategy they need to determine who should be responsible for its delivery, and which delivery mechanisms will be used. These decisions are fed into the implementation plan. Creative exploration and integration of all possible delivery mechanisms is one of the key components of the large scale urban design approach. For example, substantial changes in the quality and perception of a wide area may be achieved through tighter control and modification to the ongoing programmes of investment and re-prioritisation of funds available through regular channels. Or a significant modal shift can be achieved through a combination of physical design measures (road capacity changes, priorities to pedestrians and public transport through design) and car/road use charging (for example, London’s congestion charge).

How do I plan the delivery?
1. Understand delivery mechanisms A large scale spatial strategy can be delivered through three broad types of mechanism. 2. Identify the delivery options Every cross-boundary partnership will have a different mix of partners, and every partner will have varying abilities to deliver elements of the spatial strategy. 3. Compare commitments to requirements Once you have a list of delivery possibilities from partners, determine how this list matches up with what needs to happen to implement the spatial strategy. 4. Decide who will do what The decisions about what to take forward and how to address the gaps must be taken by the full partnership so that they continue to buy into implementation beyond signing off on the strategy. 5. Attract new delivery partners If the process above continues to reveal gaps in implementation, then the partnership needs to find ways of attracting new delivery partners.

Understand delivery mechanisms
A large scale spatial strategy can be delivered through three broad types of mechanism.

Regulation
This includes statutory instruments, such as:
 

local or cross-boundary spatial plans various supplementary planning policies and guidance.

Investment
This might be through regular or targeted new investment by the public, private or third sector, and include:

the participating organisations’ regular programmes of investment, but with higher priority than before, for example, road, public or green space maintenance programmes, ongoing housing upgrading programme, communication and marketing programmes etc. new programmes and projects identified by the strategy as priorities for investment to be delivered by public or private sector authorities, agencies or companies, or by public/private partnerships, such as new housing areas, major green infrastructure projects, hospitals, colleges or universities, shopping centres, cultural centres etc. third sector programmes and initiatives, for example, community arts, environmental restoration, heritage projects etc.

Pricing
This includes fiscal measures, such as taxation incentives or development levies, and charging, for example, congestion charging.

Identify the delivery options
Every cross-boundary partnership will have a different mix of partners, and every partner will have varying abilities to deliver elements of the spatial strategy. To help undertake this step, get partners to prepare an inventory of their existing delivery assets. You might do this as an initial brainstorming session in a meeting to get them thinking, but they should also take this task back to their organisations and use it as one way to secure commitment from their organisation for their ongoing participating in the implementation of the strategy. Different sector organisations will have different delivery strengths that they can put forward. Do not limit any contributions at this stage, but aim to get as firm a list as possible of what each partner will commit, and how they intend to do this. Note that most organisations will not be able to go into specifics regarding funding beyond a relatively short timeframe – say three years – but some of the delivery mechanisms,

such as regulation, have longer timescales that will be important for implementing the full strategy vision.

Compare commitments to requirements
Once you have a list of delivery possibilities from partners, determine how this list matches up with what needs to happen to implement the spatial strategy. This should draw out what the ‘easy wins’ are as well as where gaps exist between what the spatial strategy sets out and what delivery mechanisms are available. This is a piece of analysis that should be done by members of the partnership and project team that are very experienced in project management, including financial planning.

Decide who will do what
The decisions about what to take forward and how to address the gaps must be taken by the full partnership so that they continue to buy into implementation beyond signing off on the strategy.

Who should deliver the strategy?
The delivery of a strategy at this scale depends on a wide range of delivery partners, many of whom will have been involved in its development from the start. Public authorities and public delivery agencies will almost inevitably be involved, even if only in their regulatory role, rather than development delivery. The public sector might also be involved through various national, sub-national and local funding programmes and initiatives, regular maintenance programmes, or special funding pots for key regeneration, transport, social infrastructure or housing programmes and projects. Public authorities may also be involved as land owners or custodians of essential infrastructure. The involvement of the private sector in the delivery of a large scale strategy is almost inevitable, either alongside public sector or through formalised private-public sector partnerships and delivery companies. Project partners need to pay a particular attention to the ways of attracting new, private sector investors, developers, businesses and entrepreneurs to the area to invest and/or deliver programmes or projects identified by the strategy. Finally, some elements of the strategy may be delivered by ‘third parties’ - informal groups and networks, opinion leaders, ambassadors and other perhaps less obvious and visible, but nevertheless important delivery partners. Delivering a large scale strategy will often require a new delivery agency or company that combines the funding, powers and capabilities of the various public and private sector delivery partners. A typical joint delivery agency may include public sector partners such as national, cross-boundary or local authorities or agencies and key private sector players such as developers, infrastructure providers and operators (for example, public transport or utilities companies), land owners and key institutions (e.g. spatial-economic vision for Schiphol region).

Who should oversee delivery?
Implementation of a spatial strategy could be oveseen by the existing project team. To do that the project team will need to be flexible so it can work with a diverse group of delivery partners, with different interests, statutory or spatial remits and powers. The project team’s coordinating and negotiating skills are crucial for this phase of work. The role of a strong project director is invaluable. She/he must have excellent leadership skills and a diverse expertise base in order to keep the partners together and drive the strategy forward. Project director must continue to inspire the team through this difficult stage of the project and promote the strategy to the existing and potential new delivery partners. If a joint delivery organisation has been set up, it can effectively take over the role of the project team and oversee the final stages of strategy development (particularly implementation pan), as well as its delivery.

Attract new delivery partners
If the process above continues to reveal gaps in implementation, then the partnership needs to find ways of attracting new delivery partners. These could be private sector investors, developers, businesses and entrepreneurs that can either invest and/or deliver programmes or projects identified by the strategy. Having a spatial strategy that establishes a clear policy and delivery framework, and that stabilises and directs the development market, will help to create more attractive conditions for developers and investors. It is therefore vital that the partnership promotes and markets the strategy, and clearly shows the benefits to potential investors and developers. Remember that some elements of the strategy may be delivered by people who aren’t obvious delivery partners – for example, opinion formers, informal groups – but who could help to change the perception of the area through their own influential networks.

Delivering the strategy
The project partners need to set out a phasing plan for implementation, decide which elements of the strategy should be delivered through the statutory planning system and set up mechanisms to ensure that all delivered projects are of a high design quality. A cross-boundary spatial strategy may be developed within or outside the statutory planning system. This will depend on the national planning system structure and the aims and governance structure of the particular strategy. The ultimate goal should be to feed the key elements of the strategy into statutory planning policy. This will ensure that it is aligned with other strategies in the area and with work in the sectors that may not be covered by it. Project partners also need to develop and test different phasing scenarios at this point in the process and include the preferred option in the implementation plan. Given the long-term nature of large scale strategies, they will have to regularly update the phasing plan in line with other elements of the implementation plan. An important part of this phase is to establish mechanisms for delivering design quality. This means deciding who, when and how will ensure the application of the design principles, guidance, standards, masterplans, codes and briefs developed during the previous phases of work. The results may be summarised in a design action plan, which could be published as part of the implementation plan or as a separate document.

How do I deliver the strategy?
1. Decide on planning measures Implementing elements of a cross-boundary strategy will often require changes to the statutory planning system across different spatial scales. 2. Develop a phasing plan The phasing plan is part of the implementation plan. 3. Deliver design quality The success of the strategy will ultimately depend on the dedication and skills of the project team to manage the design procurement and monitoring process, and the partnership’s commitment to maintaining pressure on the delivery partners to safeguard design quality through delivery.

Decide on planning measures
Implementing elements of a cross-boundary strategy will often require changes to the statutory planning system across different spatial scales. Coordinating these changes is difficult and time-consuming, and requires a lot of effort and goodwill from all those involved. The project partners need to decide through which policy levels should the strategy be implemented – neighbourhood, local authority or cross-boudnary – and prioritise actions accordingly. Equally, implementing some elements of the strategy may not require changes to the current policy and may be started immediately.

Develop a phasing plan
The phasing plan is part of the implementation plan. When preparing a phasing plan consider the following:
      

significance of individual projects for the delivery of strategy’s aims type, size and implementation period of individual projects planning procedures that apply to individual projects availability of funds and land the economic strength of the area and level of developer interest the state of the global economy and property market requirements for early provision of infrastructure.

Pay particular care to selecting early projects as they will serve as benchmarks for design quality and send a signal about the partnership’s aspirations and commitment to the existing and potential new communities, businesses, investors and developers. In some cases it will be necessary for the project partners to establish complex funding mechanisms in order to deliver the early projects, such as key transport or community infrastructure.

Deliver design quality
The success of the strategy will ultimately depend on the dedication and skills of the project team to manage the design procurement and monitoring process, and the partnership’s commitment to maintaining pressure on the delivery partners to safeguard design quality through delivery. Ways they can do this include:
o

o

o

o

o

strengthening the existing or introducing new design policies in statutory plans: this is the best way of ensuring adherence to the agreed design quality principles and standards and an obvious mechanism to be used for strategies led by local authorities or developed within the statutory system setting up design review or ‘quality’ panels: these are groups of external experts set up by the partnership to review emerging design for projects and initiatives arising from the strategy. These could be bespoke panels, established to oversee the emerging designs over a set period of time. Alternatively, an arrangement can be reached with an established national, regional or local design review panel to have a regular programme of reviews. setting up enabling panels: groups of external experts dedicated to advising delivery partners in the early stages of projects on issues of design process, brief development and design and development procurement; as with the design review, these may be bespoke panels or the existing local, regional or national enabling panels can be used. setting up design and development framework panels: the partnership may decide to establish a framework agreement with a number of design and development teams or consortia, based on a stringent tendering procedure and strong design criteria. Teams from the framework panel could then be appointed to deliver various projects within the strategy through mini-tenders. running design competitions: a good way of raising the profile of a large scale spatial strategy and achieving design quality is to procure design for the key projects through competitions. International competitions in particular can help to promote the strategy and attract investors and developers. Design competitions create opportunities for smaller creative teams and new talents to work on significant projects.

Monitoring and revising the strategy
The partnership needs to agree how to measure the impact of the spatial strategy, who will do it and when, and how to respond to long-term changes that will require revising the strategy. Once you have decided how to implement the spatial strategy, you need to decide how to monitor the strategy’s impact and when and how to refresh and amend it when circumstances change.

How do I monitor and revise the strategy?
1. Measure the impact of the strategy The project partners need to be clear from the start about what indicators will be used to measure the impact of the strategy, who will do the measuring and how, and how long they will do this for. 2. Revise the strategy During the long period of implementation many factors affecting a large scale strategy’s viability and effectiveness will change, including local social, economic and environmental conditions, global drivers, policy context or project’s operational structure.

Measure the impact of the strategy
The project partners need to be clear from the start about what indicators will be used to measure the impact of the strategy, who will do the measuring and how, and how long they will do this for. Monitoring the impact of a long-term strategy delivered through several delivery routes is a complex task. It needs to be well structured and carried out consistently over a long period (years or decades). This presents two challenges:
 

cross-boundary partnerships do not always have the longevity, resources or skills necessary to undertake this task the project team, which is ideally placed to take on the management of, if not directly carry out the task of monitoring, is often in place for a fixed period. It is sometimes dissolved even during the implementation phase as the delivery may take years or decades. After the project team is dissolved it is often unclear who is to take on the monitoring task (e.g. Greater Zurich Themeworld).

Choose indicators
When deciding the indicators the project partners should bear in mind the following:
   

be realistic about what is achievable at different stages, keeping the long-term horizon in mind focus on assessing long-term values rather than short-term costs measure economic, social and environmental benefits over the short, medium and long term include qualitative as well as quantitative indicators, for example, public opinion surveys alongside hard data.

Decide who will report
The best solution is for the monitoring to be a part of the partnership or its constituent partners’ regular work on gathering information about the area (see ‘Gathering background information’). This is easier with local authorities, which have to monitor the impact of their work on a regular basis.

Revise the strategy
During the long period of implementation many factors affecting a large scale strategy’s viability and effectiveness will change, including local social, economic and environmental conditions, global drivers, policy context or project’s operational structure. The project partners need to secure resources and put in place a mechanism for responding to these changes and for updating, refreshing or significantly revising the strategy if that is necessary. It is also important that, through this mechanism, the experience gained through the implementation of early projects is fed back into and informs the delivery of new projects coming out of the strategy. Establish a system of regular assessments of the strategy’s viability, relevance and effectiveness. The assessments should consider which of the following changes and adjustments are required:
    

adding new projects under the strategic themes re-thinking or abandoning the projects whose deliverability or potential impact significantly changed modifying, merging or abandoning strategic themes modifying the design quality standards and requirements making more fundamental adjustments to the direction of the strategy.

The extent of the required changes should determine whether:
 

a substantial revision of the strategy is required, with full participation of all the stakeholders and the public, or changes can be addressed by lighter adjustments to the strategy, approved by the project partners and carried out by the project team.

Keep in mind that strategies have to evolve in order to be beneficial and continue to provide a way forward in creating the physical environment within which people’s quality of life will improve. Appropriate review process, financial resource and time are required to do that.

Large scale urban design
All the examples

Examples of the new approach
Our guide explains the step-by-step process for doing large scale urban design projects, but there is nothing quite like seeing how other people do it. These are some of the best examples of the large scale urban design approach that we've come across from all over the world.

The Northern Connection
An example of summarising and mapping information.

Mapping economic links at the large scale
The Northern Connection research programme of the University of Manchester explored the economic links between northern cities and regions, for the Northern Way, and looked at the growing importance of the key urban centres in driving growth. The study used commuting flows patterns to define spatial boundaries of 12 cityregions in the area. These are the types of areas that may benefit from adopting a collaborative urban design approach to planning for their future. Download the full report from The Northern Connection (PDF).

City-regions in the North of England based on travel-to-work patterns © One North East for the Northern Way

Functional spatial clusters based on net commuting flows © One North East for the Northern Way

Glattal light railway, Switzerland
Undertaking large scale masterplanning in the Zürich city region
The project focused on construction of a light railway infrastructure and the associated development between the northern edge of Zurich and the airport. The five municipalities of the Glattal region involved in the project, together with the Canton of Zurich, set up a public limited company ‘VBG Verkehrsbetriebe Glattal AG’ to oversee the planning, construction and operation of the light rail. They saw the project as an opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to planning transport, public space and urban and economic development in this part of Zurich. They joined forces with private sector partners to develop a sub-regional development strategy on the back of the light railway project to stimulate investment and meet wider policy objectives. Regular monitoring of new developments within the 400m radius areas surrounding the new Glattalbahn stations indicates that so far the level of private sector investment has been 15-16 times higher than the investment made in the light rail by the public sector. Read more about the Glattal light railway.

Proposed light rail infrastructure and urban development opportunity areas in the Glattal municipalities. © VBG Verkehrsbetriebe Glattal AG

Glattal municipalities and the light rail route. © VBG Verkehrsbetriebe Glattal AG

Using financial resources efficiently
The dynamics of global urban expansion
A study of 120 rapidly expanding cities in the developing countries for The World Bank focused on the minimum level of intervention that is required to be taken by cash-strapped city authorities to guide a spatial expansion at a massive scale and achieve:
   

an anti-poverty objective: to help ensure an adequate supply of affordable land for housing the poor a planning objective: to lay the foundations for an effective city planning regime a transport objective: to introduce an efficient network of public transport and trunk infrastructure into expansion areas; and a financial objective: to substantially reduce the cost of putting the essential city infrastructure in place.

The project team led by Professor Shlomo Angel from New York University organised workshops with municipal officials from the planning, legal, and finance departments to investigate options and develop spatial proposals. It was found that the best way of achieving project objectives was to focus on the early introduction of an arterial grid in the expansion areas, through advance acquisition of land and laying out a system of dirt roads. They saw the project as an opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to planning transport, public space and urban and economic development in this part of Zurich. They joined forces with private sector partners to develop a sub-regional development strategy on the back of the light railway project to stimulate investment and meet wider policy objectives. Regular monitoring of new developments within the 400m radius areas surrounding the new Glattalbahn stations indicates that so far the level of private sector investment has been 15-16 times higher than the investment made in the light rail by the public sector.

Planned transit-sensitive arterial grid in Milagro, Ecuador. © Reprinted from Cities vol 25, Shlomo Angel, An arterial grid of dirt roads, p 146– 162, (2008), with permission from Elsevier

Planned transit-sensitive arterial grid in Rio Bamba, Ecuador. © Reprinted from Cities vol 25, Shlomo Angel, An arterial grid of dirt roads, p 146– 162, (2008), with permission from Elsevier

Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany
Characteristics of large scale urban design
The Emscher Landshaftspark (Landscape Park) was originally conceived as a part of a 10year regeneration programme led by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA). The programme addressed the decline of the Ruhr Region in North-Rhine Westphalia, the industrial heartland of north west Germany, stretching across 20 local authorities and including several major urban centres. The area was characterised by social deprivation, huge outward migration and economic problems caused by the closure of most of the mines and steel factories. Its environment was extremely poor because of decades of heavy industrial pollution. The regeneration programme’s coordination group made a bold decision to focus on a handful of strategic themes to reverse the decline and change the internal and external perceptions of the area. As well as social initiatives
    

education, training and new types of jobs – they included the following: ‘Industrial monuments’: retention and creative reuse of key industrial heritage ‘The new Emscher’: regeneration of the river system ‘Working in the park’: provision of new types of employment spaces ‘Living in the park’: provision of new types of housing.

The most ambitious idea was to unite all the themes under the umbrella of a regional park. This entailed tremendous efforts to improve the environmental quality of the existing green areas and to clean up and integrate former contaminated industrial sites into a green network. Naming the regional park after the river Emscher, which was for decades the main industrial drain of the area and its most polluted element, was a clear sign of the project’s ambition and the project leadership’s confidence and resolve. The team carried out a huge amount of consultation with local authorities in the area to overcome an initial lack of interest in addressing the decline through coordinated delivery of local projects within the agreed strategic themes. Through a process of developing the joint strategy this view gradually changed as people realised that they had to work together to attract investment and people to live and work in the area. The result of the team’s design work with local partners was a non-statutory, flexible spatial strategy to guide the work at local level. Each local authority eventually took on and translated the strategic directions into local policies and projects. After the conclusion of the initial regeneration programme led by IBA, further revisions of the strategy and the coordination of projects were led by Projekt Ruhr GmbH and Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR). There have been over 400 projects delivered across the sub-region since 1989. Read more about the Emscher Landshaftspark.

Masterplan for Emscher Landschaftspark 2010. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

Montpellier SCOT, France
From strategy to site briefs
In France a new generation of sub-regional strategies – SCOTs (Schéma de Cohérence Territoriale) have been developed since 2004. Montpellier SCOT provides a cross-scale and cross-sectoral policy and delivery framework for Montpellier conurbation. It includes spatial policy at different spatial scales, including:
   

conurbation-wide plans focusing on management and conservation of the strategic environmental, economic and social assets more detailed spatial plans for six sub-areas of the conurbation at 1:25,000 scale a design guide for local planning, including guidance for preparing urban projects, local plans and street design standards design briefs for eleven strategic sites, to demonstrate the application of the SCOT principles in the range of different contexts found in the conurbation.

Read more about the Montpellier SCOT (French language).

Key diagram © Montpellier Agglomeration

The proposed limits of urban expansion. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Existing and proposed retail centres. © Montpellier Agglomeration

The 1:2500 sector plan for Montpellier (urban core of the conurbation). © Montpellier Agglomeration

A design brief for one of the strategic sites (a new business park). © Montpellier Agglomeration

A description of the principles for defining an urban edge. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Cambridge Futures
Integrating strategies
The Cambridge Futures project looked at ways of relieving development pressure in and around Cambridge, in the context of statutory restrictions on growth, including a green belt around the city, and a high degree of perceived community opposition to growth. A group of local stakeholders, including public and private sector representatives, initiated and managed the project. They developed and evaluated several growth scenarios for the area, including a ‘no growth’ option and a ‘green swap’ option (including development in the green belt). Establishing a genuine choice of options, coupled with a well structured and clearly presented assessment of options, helped the project to get a wide buy in. This opened the door to the statutory planning process, and the project’s results fed into the regional spatial strategy. Read our case study about Cambridge Futures.

Option 4: ‘green swap’, showing the Cambridge Airport area after the policy is implemented. © University of Cambridge / Metaphorm

Option 2: ‘densification’, showing an area in Cambridge after the policy is implemented. © University of Cambridge / Metaphorm

Examples of the prepare phase
Our guide explains the step-by-step process for doing large scale urban design projects, but there is nothing quite like seeing how other people do it. These are some of the best examples of the prepare phase for large scale urban design we've come across from all over the world.

Thames Gateway identity project
An example of the preparation phase of large scale urban design.

Exploring identity
The Thames Gateway identity project, commissioned by the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership and led by CABE, studied the character and identity of the UK’s largest regeneration area, stretching for 40 miles along the Thames Estuary from the London Docklands to Southend in Essex and Sheerness in Kent. Its aim was to investigate how the unique qualities of the landscape and existing places can be used to ensure new development in the area is of a high quality, creates value and drives investment. The background research was wide-ranging, including mapping the landscape and urban character, and consultation with the people who live and work in the area and the professionals engaged in change there. The subsequent publication New things happen set out a vision for the future of the Thames Gateway based on four identity themes to help create a strong, coherent image for the region. The study informed the overarching strategic framework for the Thames Gateway. It was the basis for a further programme of work by CABE including a Design Pact for the Gateway, which sets out the standards and approaches to development that must be adopted. Read more about The Thames Gateway identity project.

Thames Gateway ‘Love to live’ character map draws on research commissioned by CABE and illustrates how the character of the Thames Gateway is set to develop in the years to come. © Grundy Northedge

Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy
An example of setting up a project management structure.

An effective project structure
The Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS) is a place-based growth plan for sustainable prosperity of this metropolitan area in New Zealand to 2041. The project was initiated and funded by the partnership which included Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri and Selwyn district councils, Environment Canterbury (regional authority) and the national highways agency Transit New Zealand (now the New Zealand Transport Agency). It was managed by an executive governance group of chairs, mayors and councillors representing strategy partners - The UDS Forum. The Forum also included appointed stakeholder representatives from public and private sector groups and an independent Chair. It was supported by a management team, made out of senior officer representatives from each of the strategy partners. Two independent project co-ordinators liaised between the Forum and the management team. The full project organisation provided continuity and ongoing leadership to the project. This team was supplemented by a team of multidisciplinary external specialists with strong sustainability-based design skills, who led the design workshops and finalised project’s design outputs / reports. They were supported by many other institutional officers, non-governmental and technical private sector consultants. Within each local authority area, non-technical public and private sector groups were invited to stakeholder focus group sessions, and the community was involved in large-scale public meetings. Read our case study about the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy. Greater Christchurch UDS project organisation structure © Urbanismplus Ltd

Cambridge Futures
An example of testing the options.

Testing spatial options and communicating results
The Cambridge Futures project used innovative modelling to test the seven spatial options developed for public consultation. The model simulated the working of two inter-related markets - the land market and the transport market - using two interactive systems with feedback loops. It simulated the spatial behaviour of the ‘actors’ (firms and households) in selecting locations to conduct their activities such as where to live, work, of go shopping, as well as in interacting with others by travelling to different locations. Based on the estimated location in space of all activities and flows of transport, the team assessed each spatial option in terms of:

 

Economic efficiency – or the likely impact on the cost of living (housing, transport, goods and services) and cost to firms (labour, premises and transport) Social equity – or the likely impact on different socio-economic groups and locations in the area Environmental quality – or the likely impact in terms of available open space, use of green field land and pollution.

The results of testing were summarised and presented in a clear and simple way, in a set of communication leaflets. A 20 minutes long video was also prepared for stakeholder consultation. In parallel to intensive communication in the local media, the options were exhibited in a number of venues across the area and a survey of public opinion conducted at the exhibitions. The project was successful in attracting interest and resulted in a high number of responses. The results were a surprise to the politicians, who believed the public was against growth in the area. A majority of respondents wanted a planning strategy which combined some growth in Cambridge city through densification, with growth outside the city based on public transport links. Read more about Cambridge Futures .

Cambridge Futures land use-transportation model © Cambridge Futures

Results of the survey of public opinion on the proposed growth options © Cambridge Futures

Australia and New Zealand
An example of scoping the project.

Large scale spatial strategies
During the initial consultations with stakeholders on the benefits of adopting a large scale urban design approach to addressing cross-boundary issues, it is important to consider examples of similar work elsewhere. Below are the examples of the environmental, economic and social benefits gained by implementing spatial strategies in several sub-regions / city-regions in Australia and New Zealand.

Benefits of large scale spatial strategies in Australia and New Zealand © Kobus Mentz (2009)

Benefits of large scale spatial strategies in Australia and New Zealand © Kobus Mentz (2009)

Stakeholder grid
An example of preparing the stakeholder communication plan.

Identifying project stakeholders
Key stakeholders should be identified early in the project, mapped and analysed in terms of their interest in and potential influence over the project. The analysis should be used as a basis for the communication plan and for determining the level of direct engagement and role that each stakeholder may have in the project.

Example of a stakeholder grid

Uniting Britain
An example of gathering information.

Using different sources of data
Uniting Britain: The Evidence Base – Spatial Structure and Key Drivers (2006) from the Royal Town Planning Institute explored the spatial data sources available in the UK and highlighted important gaps in these sources, so that new ways of mapping this information can be developed to depict the key aspects of life in the UK. Researchers from the universities of Manchester and Liverpool assembled a large number of indicators to describe the forces that drive and shape areas of the country and proposed six functional areas to inform future policy work and governance structure debates. The report contains a list of mapped data sets, together with their sources, definitions and health warnings related to their use. Download the Uniting Britain report (PDF).

Average commuting distance by ward (km) 2001 Source: Census 2001 Based on data from EDINA UKBORDERS, with ESRC and JISC support, using copyright material from the crown and Post Office.

Knowledge industries 2004 Source: Nomis, Annual Business Inquiry Based on data from EDINA UKBORDERS, with ESRC and JISC support, using copyright material from the crown and Post Office.

Carbon dioxide emissions 2003 Source: National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (2006) Based on data from EDINA UKBORDERS, with ESRC and JISC support, using copyright material from the crown and Post Office.

The Northern Connection
An example of summarising and mapping information.

Mapping economic links at the large scale
The Northern Connection research programme of the University of Manchester explored the economic links between northern cities and regions, for the Northern Way, and looked at the growing importance of the key urban centres in driving growth. The study used commuting flows patterns to define spatial boundaries of 12 cityregions in the area. These are the types of areas that may benefit from adopting a collaborative urban design approach to planning for their future. Download the full report from The Northern Connection (PDF).

City-regions in the North of England based on travel-to-work patterns © One North East for the Northern Way

The Northern Connection

Functional spatial clusters based on net commuting flows © One North East for the Northern Way

Switzerland - an urban portrait
An example of summarising and mapping information.

Exploring place identity
Switzerland – An Urban Portrait is a result of a four-year study by ETH Studio Basel that investigated the socio –economic and spatial profile of the country through a series of maps, plans, diagrams and images. Over the course of the project 141 ETH students carried out 67 studies of subregions of Switzerland, to “create as clear a picture as possible of the actual state of urbanisation” across the country and “work out the hidden deficits, pressures and potentials behind it”. The work is seen as not just creating a comprehensive evidence base but importantly as a stimulus for further thinking and design. Various socio-economic and spatial data sets were mapped out and analysed, including:
            

Topography Settlements structure / pattern Density pattern Predominant land use pattern Economic activity centres Economic growth and productivity (across new and old economic sectors) Average income per capita Commuter regions and pattern Movement/transport network Media coverage Significant institutions, education, financial, international, VIPs Cultural facilities, shopping centres Forests, agricultural areas

One of the illustrations from the portrait of the Geneva-Lousanne sub-region maps its nationally and internationally renown institutions, corporate headquarters, schools, cultural institutions but also residences of its wealthy international clientele. This illustrates the fact that the area is an important research, financial and the centre of many international organisations, as well as rich and famous people’s playground and tax refuge - a place that those that have the choice, relocate to and stay in. Read more about Switzerland – An Urban Portrait.

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – One region, two catchment areas. © ETH Studio Basel

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – location of important institutions, headquarters, residents and facilities, contributing to the region’s reputation as an international ‘gold coast’, against the map showing the average income per capita by commune, 1992 © ETH Studio Basel

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – commuting pattern (one line corresponds to one hundred commuters) © ETH Studio Basel

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – transportation systems © ETH Studio Basel

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – local radio and newspaper catchment areas © ETH Studio Basel

Lake Geneva metropolitan region – built-up zones (land use and density) © ETH Studio Basel

Californication - learning from the Bay and LA, USA
An example of summarising and mapping information.

Creative presentation of data
This study highlighted the more positive sides of Californian urbanisation and argued how ‘californication’ could serve as an alternative to the European urbanisation model. It used innovative and creative ways of presenting and analysing data in order to build a profile of San Francisco and Los Angeles city-regions. Read more about Californication - Learning from the Bay and LA.

© Zandbelt & vanderBerg 2008

Commuter flows in the Bay area © Zandbelt & vanderBerg 2008

California’s demographics © Zandbelt & vanderBerg 2008

Central Florida Region, USA - Where in the World are We?
An example of analysing information.

Exploring an area’s position in the world
Where in the World are We? - 2009 Progress Report for the Central Florida Region provides in-depth analysis of how the region has progressed during the last decade in the areas of:
     

economic leadership education environment quality of life smart, quality growth regional resolves and cooperation.

The report also quantifies the progress being made on key regional indicators and compares it to other state, national and international comparable regions; examining the gaps where regional collaboration might exist and identifying the challenges that must be addressed. Read more about Where in the World are We?

Central Florida positioning study. © myregion.com 2009

Economics indicator: Gross domestic product per capita – world position © myregion.com 2009

Quality of life indicator: net global migration rate per 1,000 residents 2008 – world position © myregion.com 2009

Residential Futures research programme
An example of analysing information.

Analysing an area’s residential offer
This Residential Futures research programme commissioned by The Northern Way explored the relationship between the housing offer and economic competitiveness of city-regions in the north of England. The project team, led by Tribal’s Urban Studio in association with Arup and University of Birmingham, developed a methodology for analysing and classifying residential neighbourhoods based on the components of range, quality and cost/affordability, as well as their potential to change and respond to future demand driven by the economic growth and aspirations at the strategic level. This involved using urban design techniques alongside more traditional socio-economic and housing data to get under the skin of how neighbourhoods work. Read more about the Residential Futures research programme.

Residential Futures approach © One North East for the Northern Way

Understanding the capacity of neighbourhood types to respond to the future housing needs of the economy. The areas of pressure are highlighted: - Type 2: Areas of potential - the better of the municipally-built housing areas - Type 3: Areas of opportunity - mixed/transitional areas - Type 4: Areas of constraint - 'hot' market areas © One North East for the Northern Way

Liveable Arterials Plan, Auckland
An example of analysing information.

Uncovering community infrastructure and employment deficiencies
This study for Auckland City Council used spatial proximity analysis to establish which areas of Auckland City had a locational advantage or disadvantage based on their accessibility to public transport services. It showed that people living in areas of social deprivation were at the same time disadvantaged by poor proximity to public transport. Alongside other analysis, results were used to inform the programme of improvements to the road network and public transport provision in the city. The same method can be used to study proximity to other types of community infrastructure or employment and inform decisions regarding public sector investment and spatial planning policy. Read more about the Livable Arterials Plan.

Analysis of spatial proximity to public transport and social deprivation © Prosperous Places Pty Ltd, Urbanismplus Ltd and Auckland City Council

Correlation of proximity to opportunities and land value. Green dots represent areas with lower than expected land values given their proximity to opportunities. These are likely to attract early redevelopment and future changes to higher value land uses. © Prosperous Places Pty Ltd, Urbanismplus Ltd and Auckland City Council

Northamptonshire Workstyle Trends Study
An example of analysing information.

Translating a broad economic development demand forecast to a tangible schedule of work accommodation
The Northamptonshire Workstyle Trends Study for Invest Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Council aimed to help the county make sure that its strategic plan for jobs growth to 2031 was supported by the right accommodation and infrastructure. The project team led by DEGW developed a new approach to planning for the provision of employment land and accommodation, based on an analysis of ‘workstyles’ and a detailed investigation of economic, organisational and planning trends in the county. The purpose was to examine workplace supply issues from a user demand rather than a planning point of view. The study, in a unique way, translated specific regional economic and demand data into a tangible schedule of workstyle-based accommodation / land requirements for use by urban designers and planners. The schedule was based on three key workplace characteristics: the building characteristics, the locality or neighbourhood characteristics and the provision of infrastructure such as transport and technology and economic support. Read more about the Northamptonshire Workstyle Trends Study.

Predicting the future workplaces that will best support economic development in Northamptonshire. © DEGW

City Links
An example of analysing information.

How links between towns and cities drive economic performance
City Links: Integration and Isolation by Paula Lucci and Paul Hildreth for the Centre for Cities explored why links between cities and towns matter and how they drive economic performance. This exploration was based on two case studies –London Reading in the South East and Manchester - Burnley in the North West. The top diagram shows the overlapping employment catchments (travel to work areas) of London and Reading. This illustrates a mutually beneficial relationship, based on good physical/transport links and complementary economic activities that reinforce each other’s economic markets. On the other hand the catchments of Burnley and Manchester (bottom diagram) do not overlap, due to the poor links and economic activities that are not complementary. Despite geographical proximity to the economically successful Manchester, Burnley still operates as an isolated and struggling economic centre Read more about City Links: Integration and isolation.

Complementary relations between London and Reading © Centre for Cities

Non-complementary relations between Manchester and Burnley © Centre for Cities

Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth
An example of writing a brief for the design phase.

An example of a design quality charter
The Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth set out core principles for achieving excellence in the new housing developments planned for Cambridgeshire. It was a result of intensive work by a range of partners, including Cambridgeshire Horizons (local delivery vehicle), Inspire East (the Regional Centre of Excellence), Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. It:
   

offered a shared vision and understanding of the kind of communities the partners wish to create helped communications by crossing professional boundaries and providing a common framework and a clear and shared language supported a genuinely collaborative approach to achieving growth inspired innovation and a pursuit of higher standards by showing what has been achieved elsewhere and what can be achieved in Cambridgeshire.

The Charter was organised around 4 broad themes: community, connectivity, climate and character. There was also an overarching fifth ‘C’ - collaboration - which was needed to make the principles of the Quality Charter work. The participating local authorities and agencies adopted the Charter as a clear policy statement of the aspiration to create major new developments that offer future communities a fulfilling, visually pleasing and environmentally sensitive way of life. They use the Charter as a 'material consideration' in their decision-making, especially in determining planning applications. The implementation of the principles of the Charter was supported by a programme of training for practitioners in all relevant disciplines involved in the planning and delivery of new communities. A number of study tours were also planned, to encourage continued collaboration, reinforce the Charter message and address key issues as they arise. Read more about the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth.

Christchurch Urban Design Strategy Community Charter, New Zealand
An example of writing a brief for the design phase.

Setting out a brief for a spatial strategy
This Christchurch Urban Design Strategy Community Charter set out the vision, principles and goals for the sustainable prosperity of Greater Christchurch for the period of 50 years. It was the first step in developing an Urban Development Strategy (UDS) for the area - it set out principles to underpin and provide context for it, and shape and guide decisions on planning, transport and infrastructure investment. Using the feedback from the public consultation, the assessment criteria developed for the options process and relevant guiding national policy guidance, the Charter set the direction for balancing social, cultural, economic and environmental goals and meeting the expectations of the community, the business sector, and the participating Councils. Read more about the Christchurch Urban Design Strategy Community Charter.

Examples of the design stage
Our guide explains the step-by-step process for doing large scale urban design projects, but there is nothing quite like seeing how other people do it. These are some of the best examples of the design stage for large scale urban design we've come across from all over the world.

Hertfordshire Charrette
An example of the design phase for large scale urban design.

Design workshops in action
The Hertfordshire Charrette explored the most socially sustainable and environmentally sensitive ways to accommodate growth in the years to 2021, while maintaining existing character and landscape. It was initiated by local and national sponsors, including Hertfordshire County Council, the University of Hertfordshire, local landowners and a number of organisations and companies based in the county. The project involved a seven day long charrette (an intensive design workshop) for the public and private sectors and social and community advocates, alongside a multi-disciplinary design team. During the charrette six growth ‘scenarios’ or spatial options were generated based on the overall growth projections. Each scenario included more detailed examples of the types of projects or spatial interventions that would support it. The final report included a critical analysis of each option and an environmental assessment. The design team also provided an analysis of typical urban models, including a critique of the design of one of the towns in the county and case studies such as village and hamlet urban extensions. Read more about the Hertfordshire Charrette.

Hertfordshire charrette in progress © The University of Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire charrette in progress © The University of Hertfordshire

The transport-oriented scenario – one of six growth options developed during the charrette © Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

A detailed study of the redevelopment potential of the area around the railway station in Stevenage (before), illustrating the application of the ‘transport-oriented’ scenario. © The University of Hertfordshire

A detailed study of the redevelopment potential of the area around the railway station in Stevenage (after), illustrating the application of the ‘transport-oriented’ scenario. © The University of Hertfordshire

BRE GreenPrint radar sustainability assessment of one of the options © BRE

Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany
Characteristics of large scale urban design
The Emscher Landshaftspark (Landscape Park) was originally conceived as a part of a 10year regeneration programme led by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA). The programme addressed the decline of the Ruhr Region in North-Rhine Westphalia, the industrial heartland of north west Germany, stretching across 20 local authorities and including several major urban centres. The area was characterised by social deprivation, huge outward migration and economic problems caused by the closure of most of the mines and steel factories. Its environment was extremely poor because of decades of heavy industrial pollution. The regeneration programme’s coordination group made a bold decision to focus on a handful of strategic themes to reverse the decline and change the internal and external perceptions of the area. As well as social initiatives
    

education, training and new types of jobs – they included the following: ‘Industrial monuments’: retention and creative reuse of key industrial heritage ‘The new Emscher’: regeneration of the river system ‘Working in the park’: provision of new types of employment spaces ‘Living in the park’: provision of new types of housing.

The most ambitious idea was to unite all the themes under the umbrella of a regional park. This entailed tremendous efforts to improve the environmental quality of the existing green areas and to clean up and integrate former contaminated industrial sites into a green network. Naming the regional park after the river Emscher, which was for decades the main industrial drain of the area and its most polluted element, was a clear sign of the project’s ambition and the project leadership’s confidence and resolve. The team carried out a huge amount of consultation with local authorities in the area to overcome an initial lack of interest in addressing the decline through coordinated delivery of local projects within the agreed strategic themes. Through a process of developing the joint strategy this view gradually changed as people realised that they had to work together to attract investment and people to live and work in the area. The result of the team’s design work with local partners was a non-statutory, flexible spatial strategy to guide the work at local level. Each local authority eventually took on and translated the strategic directions into local policies and projects. After the conclusion of the initial regeneration programme led by IBA, further revisions of the strategy and the coordination of projects were led by Projekt Ruhr GmbH and Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR). There have been over 400 projects delivered across the sub-region since 1989. Read more about the Emscher Landshaftspark.

Masterplan for Emscher Landschaftspark 2010. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

Montpellier SCOT, France
From strategy to site briefs
In France a new generation of sub-regional strategies – SCOTs (Schéma de Cohérence Territoriale) have been developed since 2004. Montpellier SCOT provides a cross-scale and cross-sectoral policy and delivery framework for Montpellier conurbation. It includes spatial policy at different spatial scales, including:
   

conurbation-wide plans focusing on management and conservation of the strategic environmental, economic and social assets more detailed spatial plans for six sub-areas of the conurbation at 1:25,000 scale a design guide for local planning, including guidance for preparing urban projects, local plans and street design standards design briefs for eleven strategic sites, to demonstrate the application of the SCOT principles in the range of different contexts found in the conurbation.

Read more about the Montpellier SCOT (French language).

Key diagram © Montpellier Agglomeration

The proposed limits of urban expansion. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Existing and proposed retail centres. © Montpellier Agglomeration

The 1:2500 sector plan for Montpellier (urban core of the conurbation). © Montpellier Agglomeration

A description of the principles for defining an urban edge. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy
An example of developing the strategy.

Exploring growth options through design workshops
Greater Christchurch UDS took four years to develop. An initial consultation on four broad growth options produced a preferred pattern of growth which was then fleshed out during an intensive design and consultation process. During the main design phase of the project, two large-scale, four-day ‘Inquiry by Design’ (IBD) workshops were held. The workshops allowed creative solutions to be developed alongside analysis-based work, within a particular delivery context. Each workshop started by presenting a summary of the background. Following on from this, design sessions alternated between different spatial levels and between theme-based and integrated work:
  

investigation by individual discipline-based theme at sub-regional scale (in groups) collective investigation of the integrated growth strategy at sub-regional scale more detailed testing / urban design at the level of growth pockets (individually and in different combinations).

Over the course of the workshops each group developed a provisional theme-based strategy for the sub-region. These strategies were integrated and specific studies and calculations of growth pockets completed giving rise to the overall strategy direction. Each group then re-evaluated and finalised their individual theme spatial strategy. During the workshops, key design ideas and options were also tested against delivery and an outline implementation strategy prepared. The implementation strategy was completed after the workshops. Read our case study of Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.

UDS project structure and involvement of key groups © Urbanismplus Ltd

Key steps within the two IBD workshops, alternating between theme-based and integrated work at sub-regional level and more detailed urban design work on growth pockets (individually and in different combinations) © Urbanismplus Ltd

Sub-regional green network strategy © Urbanismplus Ltd and UDS team

Detailed design and land use testing of the Hornby – Halswell growth pocket © Urbanismplus Ltd and UDS team

Integrated sub-regional growth concept © Urbanismplus Ltd and UDS team

Greater Zurich Themeworld, Switzerland
An example of developing the strategy.

A story of change based on multi-disciplinary themes
In 2002 the Greater Zurich Area (GZA) partners, including the Canton and City of Zurich, Zurich Tourism and the GZA Foreign Investment Agency (GZA AG) decided to use a ’theme strategy’ to explore and enhance the area’s position in the growing competition among world metropolises for new businesses and talents. The project team lead by arthesia AG worked with the stakeholders to explore the area’s strengths and potential beyond the traditionally strong financial sector and to:
    

give the GZA an identity beyond political boundaries and entities raise its profile worldwide define guiding principles for economic development beyond traditional clusters create a foundation for a tourism/convention strategy inform the development of a ’Zurich brand’.

The resulting Greater Zurich Themeworld study recognised and built on the area’s strengths as one of continental Europe’s most prominent knowledge and creative hubs, with two internationally top-ranked universities, a considerable number of knowledge-driven small to medium enterprises (SMEs), international think-tanks and a thriving creative/cultural industry. Four themes were developed and refined in workshops and focus groups: 1. Machine in the garden: Combining top performance in different sectors of the economy (applied technology, high-end products, precision, etc.) with an archetypical ’garden‘ of social and natural wonders. 2. Knowledge eccentrics: Attracting the individuals of today‘s global knowledge society, in line with Zurich’s long tradition of providing a safe haven for out-ofthe-box thinkers and artists (Lenin, Dada, Joyce, Thomas Mann, Mazzini, etc.). 3. Corporate utopia: Working towards a new interpretation of corporate world less hassle, less lost time, more personal and civilised. In Zürich you can have some of the world‘s best jobs while enjoying a relaxed and organised life. 4. Cultural innovation: Supporting rich cultural life and new ideas at all levels, building on the area’s unique combination of cultures and people and the typically Swiss culture of style, perfection and design. The creative sector employs almost as many people as the financial sector. Together with the supporting information and an implementation strategy, the themes were summarised in ’Zurich Themeworld White Book’. This book provided a foundation for all the subsequent identity, positioning, economic development and tourism strategies and activities. Zurich Themeworld was conceived and developed as a long term strategy, and it has been in implementation since 2005.

Greater Zurich Themeworld - A map of projects identified under each of the four strategic themes © artesia AG

Hertfordshire Charrette
An example of testing the options.

Testing the environmental impact of spatial options
The six growth scenarios generated during the Hertfordshire charrette were accompanied by two types of assessment. The first, subjective assessment listed the relative merits of each approach as they emerged in the charrette discussions. The second was the result of a more objective analytical method called the GreenPrint, developed by BRE, to gauge sustainability. The GreenPrint assessment focused on eight sustainability measures : climate, resources, transport, ecology, business, community, placemaking and buildings. Each scenario was assessed and ranked and the results clearly presented in the final report so that informed decisions can be made regarding the appropriateness and benefits of each scenario. Read more about Hertfordshire Charrette.

The GreenPrint assessment of the transport-oriented scenario © BRE

Cambridge Futures
An example of testing the options.

Testing spatial options and communicating results
The Cambridge Futures project used innovative modelling to test the seven spatial options developed for public consultation. The model simulated the working of two inter-related markets - the land market and the transport market - using two interactive systems with feedback loops. It simulated the spatial behaviour of the ‘actors’ (firms and households) in selecting locations to conduct their activities such as where to live, work, of go shopping, as well as in interacting with others by travelling to different locations. Based on the estimated location in space of all activities and flows of transport, the team assessed each spatial option in terms of:

 

Economic efficiency – or the likely impact on the cost of living (housing, transport, goods and services) and cost to firms (labour, premises and transport) Social equity – or the likely impact on different socio-economic groups and locations in the area Environmental quality – or the likely impact in terms of available open space, use of green field land and pollution.

The results of testing were summarised and presented in a clear and simple way, in a set of communication leaflets. A 20 minutes long video was also prepared for stakeholder consultation. In parallel to intensive communication in the local media, the options were exhibited in a number of venues across the area and a survey of public opinion conducted at the exhibitions. The project was successful in attracting interest and resulted in a high number of responses. The results were a surprise to the politicians, who believed the public was against growth in the area. A majority of respondents wanted a planning strategy which combined some growth in Cambridge city through densification, with growth outside the city based on public transport links. Read more about Cambridge Futures .

Cambridge Futures land use-transportation model © Cambridge Futures

Results of the survey of public opinion on the proposed growth options © Cambridge Futures

Jeddah Strategic Planning Framework, Saudi Arabia
An example of testing the options.

The space syntax method of testing spatial options
The space syntax methodology was used to generate a set of proposals for strategic restructuring and growth of Jeddah city-region for the Municipality of Jeddah. The methodology links social and economic variables to urban layout across all spatial scales. It uses detailed digital street cartography to generate maps that measure how accessible each street segment is from its immediate surroundings or the city as a whole. This type of modeling and analysis can be used to explore the efficiency and integration of urban structures; to detect the potential locations for particular activities and land uses; and to evaluate development alternatives in terms of their social, economic and environmental impact. Read more about the Jeddah Strategic Planning Framework.

City-wide spatial accessibility analysis of (from left to right): the existing spatial structure; the growth plan proposed by the old Local Plan and the new Strategic Planning Framework © Space Syntax Limited

Oldham-Rochdale Urban Design Guidance
An example of preparing a design guide.

An example of a cross-boundary design guide
This Urban Design Guidance was adopted in 2007 by Oldham and Rochdale Borough Councils as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). It comprises three documents covering general urban design principles and specific guidance for residential areas and public realm. Its aim was to provide clear guidance to everyone involved in development on the quality of design expected by both Boroughs and to help local authority officers and planning committees assess the quality of planning applications. The content of the Guidance was shaped by the consultation with local stakeholders through interviews, workshops and review sessions, which provided valuable insights into local perceptions of key issues and options for the guidance. Read more about the Oldham-Rochdale Urban Design Guidance.

The Guidance is based on ten urban design principles © Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

Diagram showing how the Guidance relates to local planning policy © Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

Amsterdam Structural Vision 2040
An example of finalising the spatial strategy.

Presenting the results of a large scale strategy
There is a strong tradition of regional planning in the Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular. Since the area lies at or below sea-level, any new development involves water management - this is typically a regional issue which requires coordination with the neighbours. Amsterdam addresses the future agenda by producing a regional plan every five to seven years, for a period of 10 to 20 years. The Structural Vision 2040 is the latest regional plan for the area. It is a statutory planning instrument that includes a spatial strategy and an implementation plan. An environmental impact report was also prepared to underpin the decision-making process. The draft Vision, prepared by the Physical Planning Department of Amsterdam, was subject to extensive stakeholder consultation, including public and private sector partners and the general public. The Vision identified key development areas and types of intervention for the years to come: 1. Densification within the current city boundaries 2. Improvements to the green spaces in urban areas and green links to the outer areas 3. Waterfront developments along both banks of the IJ waterway 4. Intensive development in the Schiphol-Zuidas-Southeast area, around the economic core of Zuidas. The results of the work were summarised in a number of key maps and reports, supplemented by a three-dimensional drawing that shows clearly the proposed areas of intensive development. Read more about the Amsterdam Structural Vision 2040.

Birds-eye view of the proposed major development areas © Amsterdam City Council

Key map © Amsterdam City Council

Examples of the implement phase
Our guide explains the step-by-step process for doing large scale urban design projects, but there is nothing quite like seeing how other people do it. These are some of the best examples of the implement phase for large scale urban design that we've come across from all over the world.

Spatial-Economic vision for Schiphol Region, Holland
An example of the implementation phase for large scale urban design.

Delivering a strategic vision
The City of Amsterdam, Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, the Province of NoordHolland and the Schiphol Group (airport operator) were concerned that they were not sufficiently capitalising on the benefits of the airport because of a lack of joint working. They also felt that leaving the development of business sites around the airport to market forces would lead to fragmented development, with adverse effects on the accessibility and international competitiveness of the airport and the region. To address this they set up a management forum (Bestuursforum Schiphol) in 1987 and subsequently a joint development company – the Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC). In 2000 the Bestuursforum produced its first spatial-economic vision aimed at providing a coherent development framework for the economic growth in the airport region and a powerful marketing tool. The framework established a strong context for SADC’s activities. Even though the vision was developed and is being implemented outside the statutory planning system, it has been perceived by the partners as an essential and meaningful strategy that fills the gap between the regional structure plan for Noord Holland Zuid and the local land use plans for Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer. Read more about the Spatial-Economic Vision for Schiphol Region (Dutch language).

Key diagram © Bestuursforum Schiphol

Amsterdam airport corridor concept diagram © Bestuursforum Schiphol

Emscher Landschaftspark, Germany
Characteristics of large scale urban design
The Emscher Landshaftspark (Landscape Park) was originally conceived as a part of a 10year regeneration programme led by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA). The programme addressed the decline of the Ruhr Region in North-Rhine Westphalia, the industrial heartland of north west Germany, stretching across 20 local authorities and including several major urban centres. The area was characterised by social deprivation, huge outward migration and economic problems caused by the closure of most of the mines and steel factories. Its environment was extremely poor because of decades of heavy industrial pollution. The regeneration programme’s coordination group made a bold decision to focus on a handful of strategic themes to reverse the decline and change the internal and external perceptions of the area. As well as social initiatives
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education, training and new types of jobs – they included the following: ‘Industrial monuments’: retention and creative reuse of key industrial heritage ‘The new Emscher’: regeneration of the river system ‘Working in the park’: provision of new types of employment spaces ‘Living in the park’: provision of new types of housing.

The most ambitious idea was to unite all the themes under the umbrella of a regional park. This entailed tremendous efforts to improve the environmental quality of the existing green areas and to clean up and integrate former contaminated industrial sites into a green network. Naming the regional park after the river Emscher, which was for decades the main industrial drain of the area and its most polluted element, was a clear sign of the project’s ambition and the project leadership’s confidence and resolve. The team carried out a huge amount of consultation with local authorities in the area to overcome an initial lack of interest in addressing the decline through coordinated delivery of local projects within the agreed strategic themes. Through a process of developing the joint strategy this view gradually changed as people realised that they had to work together to attract investment and people to live and work in the area. The result of the team’s design work with local partners was a non-statutory, flexible spatial strategy to guide the work at local level. Each local authority eventually took on and translated the strategic directions into local policies and projects. After the conclusion of the initial regeneration programme led by IBA, further revisions of the strategy and the coordination of projects were led by Projekt Ruhr GmbH and Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR). There have been over 400 projects delivered across the sub-region since 1989. Read more about the Emscher Landshaftspark.

Masterplan for Emscher Landschaftspark 2010. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

More detailed proposals for key areas and sites in the Emscher region. © Projekt Ruhr GmbH / Klartext / Germany

Montpellier SCOT, France
From strategy to site briefs
In France a new generation of sub-regional strategies – SCOTs (Schéma de Cohérence Territoriale) have been developed since 2004. Montpellier SCOT provides a cross-scale and cross-sectoral policy and delivery framework for Montpellier conurbation. It includes spatial policy at different spatial scales, including:
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conurbation-wide plans focusing on management and conservation of the strategic environmental, economic and social assets more detailed spatial plans for six sub-areas of the conurbation at 1:25,000 scale a design guide for local planning, including guidance for preparing urban projects, local plans and street design standards design briefs for eleven strategic sites, to demonstrate the application of the SCOT principles in the range of different contexts found in the conurbation.

Read more about the Montpellier SCOT (French language).

Key diagram © Montpellier Agglomeration

The proposed limits of urban expansion. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Existing and proposed retail centres. © Montpellier Agglomeration

The 1:2500 sector plan for Montpellier (urban core of the conurbation). © Montpellier Agglomeration

A design brief for one of the strategic sites (a new business park). © Montpellier Agglomeration

A description of the principles for defining an urban edge. © Montpellier Agglomeration

Greater Zurich Themeworld
An example of planning the delivery.

Implementing a theme-based strategy
The ‘Zurich Themeworld’ project is implemented through three types of projects:
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development projects such as ‘creative sector initiative’ or ‘knowledge marketing strategy’ communication and marketing efforts and campaigns flagship capital project, such as the new ‘Science City’ and convention centre.

The most important and strongest impact was so far achieved in two areas:

dispersing the strategy internationally, through ‘multiplicators’ and ambassadors such as global players, big consulting firms, high profile individuals reinforcing the cooperation and collaboration of partners on the issues of Zurich’s identity and future through an informal ‘Zurich Themeworld Steering Committee’.

The Steering Committee includes representatives of key stakeholders organisations:
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City of Zurich Canton of Zurich GZA AG (representing outlying GZA cantons) Zurich Tourism Zurich Airport University of Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Fortune-500-Companies SME association

The main outputs of the work to date include:
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an agreed direction in GZA’s development joint budgets for studies or communication activities a more coherent presentation of Zurich at international fairs and trade shows.

The main control and performance monitoring mechanisms are:
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a continuous internet monitoring of the GZA image, reviewing what is written and said about the area measuring growth in certain sectors of the economy monitoring Zurich’s ranking in key world city rankings.

Implementation diagrams

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