urban design

Promotions in The Urbanists team recognises professional development

Congratulations on your hard work! (L-R): Liam, Jamie, Clara, Paraic and Lauren.

Congratulations on your hard work! (L-R): Liam, Jamie, Clara, Paraic and Lauren.

It is really satisfying to share with you the good news that we have promoted some of our team members in recognition of their positive influence on the business.

Professional development and wellbeing are at the heart of our culture within The Urbanists. We are all motivated to be exceptionally good at what we do so that this translates to better quality outcomes for our clients and to making better places.

Several members of our team have made significant strides in their professional development and we feel that such progress and maturity warrants recognition in terms of their role within the business. We congratulate the following on their success:

  • Liam Hopkins is now an Associate Director

  • Lauren Phillips is now a Senior Associate

  • Jamie Donegan is now an Associate

  • Clara Koehler is now a Senior Urban Designer; and

  • Paraic McDevitt is now a Landscape Architect

These promotions demonstrate the importance of the personal commitment that Liam, Lauren, Jamie, Clara and Paraic have made to their own professional improvement and to The Urbanists. We hope that this not only inspires their colleagues but demonstrates to our clients that their projects are being looked after by committed, diligent and talented people.

We look forward to furthering the professional growth of all of our team in the future!

The Urbanists to develop Wrexham corridor regeneration plan

The Urbanists have been appointed by Wrexham County Borough Council and Welsh Government to carry out a feasibility study into the future placemaking and development opportunities along the Mold Road Corridor. 

Wrexham is a key regional driver for North East Wales and Mold Road is an important arterial route into the town. The significance of the route is derived from the presence of Wrexham’s Glyndwr University, The Racecourse stadium and Wrexham General railway station. 

The challenge will be to devise and coordinate interventions that will make a considerable beneficial impact upon Wrexham and the wider region. The vision will be supported by a masterplan which will be underpinned by deliverable interventions set into a short, medium and long term delivery plan.

The Urbanists are leading the project and are being supported by Colliers on property inputs and Mott Macdonald on transportation advice.

wrexham aerial base.jpg

Pre-app consultation commences for 460 new homes

The pre-application consultation has commenced for masterplan at Cefn Yr Hendy on behalf of Talbot Green Developments Ltd.

The Urbanists Ltd are pleased to be leading the masterplanning and landscape design proposals for this proposed outline planning application for 460 homes in Cefn Yr Hendy working alongside WYG Planning Consultants and Vectos - Transport Planning Specialists.

Frideswide Square opens

The Urbanists were delighted to attend the official opening of the £5.8m transformation of Frideswide Square in Oxford in December. 

The square was designed by The Urbanists alongside Oxfordshire County Council (highways / transportation) and Atkins (civil engineering).

When the transformation of Frideswide Square started the old traffic lights were replaced by three roundabouts. There are now more than 37,000 cars, vans and light goods vehicle movements and around 5,000 lorries and bus movements going through the new “free flow” arrangements in a normal day.

The open area may shortly be used by food and drink businesses on the square to offer outdoor dining to customers.

James Brown, Director of The Urbanists: “Frideswide Square was, until recently, a large traffic dominated junction. Pedestrians and cyclists were relegated to the spaces left behind once the roads had been laid out. 

The key design challenge of Frideswide Square was to introduce a much better sense of place which is more reflective of Oxford. It was also about ensuring that pedestrian and cycle movements were given equal priority to vehicular movement and that the whole square was still able to accommodate the same number of vehicles per day. Aligning these, often competing, agendas has been very challenging. 

The new square is now more harmonious. People can still move through it, albeit differently than they did before. Vehicular traffic remains in the square, but it moves through it constantly and more slowly. People now have places to sit, wait and spend a little time, whilst business have space where they can engage with new customers.”

The new design encourages a slow (12-15mph) and smooth traffic flow meaning that the majority of cyclists will feel comfortable joining the main flow of traffic on the carriageway. The speed limit throughout the city of Oxford is 20mph.


Vast pedestrian space and cycling facilities

Pedestrians now have more space and can walk from one side to the other of the square at a number of crossing points, while cyclists can choose to take on or off road routes. All traffic now travels along one central boulevard carriageway with courtesy pedestrian crossings replacing the old signal controlled crossings.

The design of the square is based on “shared space” which largely removes the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles. This is done by removing features such as multiple lanes of traffic, traffic lights, and introducing low kerbs and courtesy crossing points. Specialist shared space consultancy, Hamilton Baillie Associates, were involved in the early concept design of the square. 


Major gateway complete on time

County Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that this work has been completed on time – it is a major gateway into the city and looks fantastic.

“Frideswide Square handles thousands of vehicle journeys every day as well as being the gateway to the area for rail passengers. We will see more reliable journey times, far better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and be part of a modern approach for Oxford.

“We’ve now got a great public space that is in keeping with nearby facilities like as the business school and future developments such as the revamped train station. The finished article reflects the regeneration taking place in and around Oxford and the county as a whole.”

Cllr Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council said:  “Frideswide Square is a focal point for traffic movements around the city centre, and the City Council has worked closely with County Council colleagues to secure improvements that will help pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists.

“The quality of the public realm in the new square sets a high standard for future developments.”


Positive local response

Matt Davies, Director of Estates at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford said: “The staff and students of Oxford Saïd are delighted that the works to transform Frideswide Square are complete. It is already clear that the traffic flow is much improved through the square, whilst the delivery of a fantastic, high quality public realm space creates many opportunities for people to engage with the square.”


The Urbanists are already working on several other projects with similar challenges and opportunities and look forward to applying our considerable experience to other towns and cities in the UK. 




Experienced urban designer joins The Urbanists

Town planning and urban design practice The Urbanists appoint new Director and relocate to new City Centre office

Gareth Howell joins the practice from a national planning and design consultancy to enhance The Urbanists design expertise and add substantial experience of residential design and development. 

gareth howell

Gareth’s arrival builds upon The Urbanists recent relocation from Links Business Park in St.Mellons to the Creative Quarter in the Morgan Arcade. The new studio space is being developed by property investment and development company Helical Bar. 

Managing Director of The Urbanists, Martin Sullivan said: “We’re delighted that Gareth is joining us and our move to the city centre was a big factor in attracting him to work for us. We celebrate our 10th anniversary as a practice in 2015 and moving to the centre of Cardiff and adding Gareth’s substantial design credentials gives us a strong basis for the future growth of our practice."

The Urbanists have worked on some of South East Wales’ most significant projects, including: developing the concept for the proposed Cardiff Capital Region Metro and guiding the statutory planning process on the proposed Circuit of Wales development in Ebbw Vale.


Cardiff Capital Region Metro

The Consultants behind The Metro Study has welcomed its publication by Welsh Government and noted its description of the concept as “potentially the most important project in Wales for a generation”.

The Consultants are all members of The Metro Consortium, a group of stakeholders who came together in early 2013 with the common aim of promoting the Metro concept as a regional regeneration project.  The group was led by Mark Barry and included Capita, Jones Lang LaSalle, Powell Dobson Urbanists and Steer Davies Gleave.

James Brown, Director of Powell Dobson Urbanists, welcomed the focus upon regeneration; “What may appear on the surface to be a transportation project is actually a unique opportunity to change the status quo and improve the economic competitiveness of the region. The Metro presents an opportunity to reconnect the City Region in a way that it can become a more liveable city. The Metro can help to improve quality of life, reduce inequality and enhance economic competitiveness.”

Alan Davies, Director of Capita, stated that there was an opportunity to take a long term view; “we must be prepared to consider new ways of developing and delivering transport infrastructure across the region”.

Chris Sutton, Director of Jones Lang LaSalle, commented; “the Metro can become a driver for economic development through the creation of a fit for purpose, premier league, transport system”

You can see the full Wales Online article here and dowload a copy of the Executive Summary from the Welsh Government website here.