Urban design is the precise skill and artistry linked to how towns and cities are designed created, shaped and how they continue to evolve. Urban design is more than just the design of residential buildings for urban centres – it is about how the design and architecture of urban environments comes together in residential properties, public spaces, infrastructure and transport systems, public amenities and public services, art and culture and every other aspect of urban living that you can think of. This urban framework is important as it provides us with the shapes, the culture, the functional elements and the liveable aspects of different neighbourhoods, different streets, public squares, and how all of these come together under one large web of a single town or city. Without clever urban design and planning there would be chaos in an urban centre, so it is important to have access to those with experience of urban architecture and town planning.
Urban design and urban planning definitely intertwine at various points along the journey, and they are important to each other, but there is a difference between them. Urban design is where the focus lies on how to improve the public environment through physical advances, whereas urban planning looks at the long-term planning processes and other development controls and regulations that can change the shape of the urban environment and improve things for everyone in the long-term.
Urban design has come to be seen as more than just these single projects and physical advances to public spaces though, instead encompassing many other factors of the urban environment to become a focal point of the strategic development of urban projects. This has become even more important when discussing the impact of Covid-19 on urban design and planning over the coming years. It is now so important that an urban architect has a grounding in and understanding of the impact of design on the overall solutions that are required in the wider urban environment when developing new residential projects, public art spaces and other products and services.
Art and culture has become so important to many cities across the world that it is often used as a primary concern when developing urban planning, becoming a focal point of strategic projects and a functional part of how a city works and can evolve, rather than just the cherry on top, the elegance that looks great but serves no functional purpose to a city. Why can’t a city develop areas of the city boundaries that look great and provide a function? Art in city residential projects can be spectacular when they work and there are many examples of this across the world.
The urban environment has changed dramatically over the past couple of centuries, and as we face a future of increased urban populations and the worry of climate change, we will see that urban design and urban planning become enmeshed even further, becoming pivotal components of the other when designing and implementing long-term strategies of city living and how residential concerns can work perfectly with infrastructure, public spaces and culture.