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Turning a Town Around: A Proactive Approach to Urban Design

Turning a Town Around: A Proactive Approach to Urban Design

Anthony Hall

ISBN: 978-0-470-69813-6

Apr 2008, Wiley-Blackwell

200 pages



Today’s trend towards the renewal of cities, sociable places, higher standards of architecture and sustainable city centre living is the business of urban design. In Britain, effective urban design is now at the forefront of government policy.

However, even when the goals are clear, how do you make a start? If you are a planner, an elected councillor, or a developer what do you have to do on a day-to-day basis? In particular, how do you handle design within the planning process and ensure it is connected to other aspects of policy? How do you maintain this good practice as a matter of course?

Tony Hall offers solutions not through idealised prescriptions but by setting out practical action based on what has been achieved on the ground. Uniquely amongst texts on this subject, the book draws upon his combination of both professional and political experience. This accessible and highly illustrated book shows how to:

  • focus the organisation on design
  • incorporate design principles into policy
  • make design briefing effective
  • prepare for successful negotiation
Introduction Part 1 - A Pro-active Approach.

1 - Getting Organised.

2 - Urban Design as Spatial Policy.

3 - Guides, Briefs and Master Plans.

4 - The Process of Negotiation Part 2 - Origins and Outcomes.

5 - Achieving Residential Quality.

6 - Pursuing an Urban Renaissance.

7 - Living in the Centre.


"Against a background of very varying commitment to the control of design quality in development both across time and geographically, this book makes a very useful contribution by highlighting the successes that can be achieved when the system is working well." (International Planning Studies, August 2008)

"[The book] is extremely focussed and insightful … .Well illustrated, cross referenced and discussed." (Urban Design International, Autumn 2008)

"Based on numerous case studies, this book provides practical advice for councillors and planning authorities." (Regeneration and Renewal)

"Essential reading for local councillors, heads of department involved in policy and those interested in urban design and the planning process." (Building Engineer)

● Sets out a practical programme of action to improve urban design
● Guidance from someone with coalface experience
● Clear, accessible and highly illustrated with colour plates
● Focuses on the reality of local planning, especially development control procedures