Urban Design

What is Urban Design?

Urban Design involves the design of towns, cities, streets and spaces, it is often described as ‘the art of place-making’. It is concerned with the design of buildings, groups of buildings alongside the spaces and connections between them. It also involves public art and high quality public realm.


Urban Design in Newcastle

Good design is not simply creating attractive buildings and places but about making places that work and where people want to be. The quality of what we build in our towns and city affects everyone and everything.

Successful and well-designed places are essential for improving quality of life. Also, they tend to be valued more by those who live and work in an area and are more appealing to visitors.

As a regional capital in the North East of England, Newcastle is a city with rich cultural heritage and distinctive character. Our work involves a wide range of projects and programmes across the city to enhance the existing character whilst raising the standard of design.

Additionally, the government places great weight on the importance of urban design and sustainable development within our towns and cities. This is reflected in our local policies helping to ensure places are attractive, function well and are sustainable.


Who Are We and What We Do?

The Urban Design Team is a multi-disciplinary group of experienced and award-winning built environment professionals. We provide design support and advice within the Council as part of the Planning Service. Our work includes:

  • producing policy and guidance;
  • providing design advice on major planning applications city
  • preparing Urban Design Frameworks, Masterplans, Design Codes and Planning Briefs for strategic regeneration sites;
  • collaborate on public realm;
  • promoting public art; and
  • organising the Lord Mayor Design Awards every two years.


Public Art

Newcastle has a wealth of public art.  The Urban Design team promotes public art as part of our work to create quality places within Newcastle. We enable public art through the Planning process,  and maintain the council owned artworks which have been commissioned by the Grainger Town urban regeneration project. 

See the Public Art webpage for details and locations of all the artworks around the city.

Contact publicart@newcastle.gov.uk


Design Guides

  • Tyne Gorge Study  (external site, pdf, 22mb).  This is used by the Council to aid  planning decisions and so is essential reading for anybody considering development either of sites in the quayside areas or visible from there.  The full document is a very large file, you can instead view this text only executive summary. (pdf, 12kb). 
  • www.greenroofguide.co.uk (external link) Green roofs perform a vital role in helping cities adapt to the effects of climate change.  They reduce the need for artificial cooling in hot weather and collect rainwater, as well as providing a range of habitats for urban wildlife.  The guide on this website details how to design and install good quality green roofs.
  • The PDF files on this page may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.



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