TEP: Making People Friendly Places

Last week our Design team attended the National Urban Design Conference in Birmingham: the biggest Urban Design conference to date. The conference is a way of bringing the minds of the industry together, to share ideas, thinking and encourage collaboration.


This year they were confronting the topic: Making People Friendly Places – a subject that echoes Francis Tibbald’s ideas from his publication: ‘Making People Friendly Towns’. Tibbald’s book “considers the design, maintenance and management of towns and cities, particularly the central areas, with a view to establishing what makes a successful and enjoyable public environment.” The topic is still as relevant now as it was in 1992 when the book was first published.  Some might say it is more important as urban spaces continue to grow, be developed and become more populated. Urban Design Group has run a series of events this year to delve into the topic further and raise awareness of priorities, such as:

  • Make it easy to cross streets
  • Make all neighbourhoods low traffic neighbourhoods
  • Create neighbourhoods not housing estates
  • Make big streets people friendly
  • Allow high streets to compete fairly against internet retailers
  • Improve the public realm
  • Introduce a collaborative framework for towns and cities.

The year culminated in the conference, which tackled four main areas:

  • Making people friendly places – This included people friendly economics, the importance of tree planting and designing and delivering people friendly town centres and cities.
  • Frameworks and strategies for people friendly places including the key principles of people friendly places, national, regional and local strategies and the opportunities and challenges of delivering people friendly development.
  • Understanding, helping and working with people – this included behavioural urbanism, sustainable development goals, designing for health and global approaches to people friendly movement.
  • Paying for people friendly places.


The take-home concept from the day was to make sure we always bring the conversation back to the people and how they experience their environments. This consideration influences our work here at TEP from masterplanning and urban design, landscape design to community engagement. The conference did a fantastic job of highlighting areas for improvement and offering solutions and ideas; something which TEP will continue to develop through best practice and respond to with our designs.


For more information on the Urban Design Group visit: http://www.udg.org.uk/about