Birmingham City Council

Urban Design In Birmingham

Urban design is the art of making places for people.

It aims to create safe, integrated, well connected places that include a diverse mix of uses through the careful design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes and consideration of their relationship with each other.

Careful consideration of the design of new developments can help create places that are

  • economically successful
  • safe and healthy to live in
  • providing a high quality of life

The existing and future character of Birmingham is shaped by its historic development. When we consider the design or new development proposals we will be looking to create places that

  • continue the evolution of Birmingham's character and context
  • remain familiar
  • feel comfortable and attractive
  • are sustainable in the long term

To help maintain our distinctiveness, we will look to retain, reuse, conserve, protect and enhance historic buildings, landscapes, water courses and trees. All of these will be an intrinsic component to considering any new development.

Developments have a significant visual and psychological impact on the people who will use them. It is therefore essential to ensure the creation of places that are fit for purpose, attractive, desirable, appropriate, enduring and sustainable.

Cities evolve from a series of highly connected small towns and villages to a large integrated conurbation over several hundred years of changing economies and lifestyles. This leaves a pattern of development across the city that new development is required to fit in to. Urban areas by definition are more densely developed while suburban areas are more spacious. These are key characteristics that will influence the form of new developments and the disposition of uses.

The challenge today is to be more efficient in the use of land while still achieving good urban design. New development needs to be seen in context with its location and needs to meet all of the space requirements of modern development and place making, in an acceptable and appropriate way.

More detailed advice on design issues is contained in the following documents.

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Last Updated : 11th June 2012