About Us

URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) does what our name suggests we specialise in urban design and sustainability in an urban context. We work across the UK from our base in Manchester, for public and private sector clients. Our background is in urban regeneration, something that remains close to our heart. However recent work has ranged from town centre strategies to outline planning applications for large commercial masterplans, from University estate strategies to urban design guidance. This work is united by our core values of urbanism, community, environmental sustainability and design. URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) is an employee-owned co-operative, we now have 10 staff and associates, comprising urban designers, planners, architects, an economist and a sustainability expert.

This year is our 40th anniversary and to celebrate we have arranged some exciting events and debates in cities all over the UK looking at different areas of our work. Please see the Events page for more and to book tickets.

What we do

We work in three broad overlapping areas:

  1. Public sector consultancy including visioning, strategy development, consultation, masterplanning and sustainability strategies for towns, neighbourhoods and cities.
  2. Masterplanning for developers and housebuilders including developer competitions,  scheme development, sustainability and renewable energy systems, outline planning  and design coordination.
  3. Research, writing and advocacy including policy reports for government, research for  think tanks and our in-house, publication and event programmes such as the Urban Scrawl and the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood (SUN) Initiative.

What we believe

All of this work is united by a foundation of four core principles:

Urbanism: Our work is rooted in the principles of the urban renaissance. We believe in the importance of creating and sustaining lively, prosperous towns and cities by focusing new development within existing settlements and creating attractive, mixed-use, walkable and socially mixed urban neighbourhoods.

Community: URBED grew out of the redevelopment of Hulme and the Homes for Change Housing Co-operative. A belief in the importance of communities informs all of our work. We run masterplanning training for community groups and most of our work includes round-table workshops, Design for Change charettes and the URBED Routemaster bus that is fitted out as a consultation venue.

Sustainability: Since 1996 we have been running the SUN (Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood) Initiative, exploring how the principles of environmental sustainability can be applied to urban areas. This has combined research for organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation with practical work for developers seeking to incorporate sustainable technologies into schemes

Design: URBED prides itself in combining these principles with a strong design ethos. Over the years we have won five invited masterplanning design competitions against some of the country's leading architectural practices. This design ethos is applied to the process of masterplanning as our primary activity rather than as an adjunct to an architectural practice. All of our major masterplans have been positively reviewed by CABE.

Company Info

URBED (Urbanism, Environment & Design) Ltd is a limited company with co-operative rules registered in England and Wales No. 5741006