UDG’s 2018 Pilot Survey reveals challenges to making people-friendly streets.

2018 Pilot Survey reveals widespread failure to update highways standards to reflect government guidance and statutory duties

The UDG has released the findings of a survey on Street Design Practice in the UK.  All Recognised Practitioners in Urban Design were invited to report on the practices of an individual highway authority, based on their experience.  Results were obtained for 15 percent of UK highway and roads authorities.

Key Findings

Pages from Street Design in the UK - Pilot Survey 2018 - Published

Fewer than 20 percent of highway authorities have modernised their highway standards in line with Manual for Streets (or equivalent)

In 2007 the Department for Transport published Manual for Streets and simultaneously withdrew the previous guidance, Design Bulletin 32 (first published in 1977).   Highway authorities have had over a decade to revise their standards.

According to the survey:

  • 18 percent of highway authorities were reported as using policies and practices based on Manual for Streets or the equivalent
  • 45 percent were reported as “officially “using such policies and practices, but, in reality, were not.   (Examples include councils having produced glossy street design guidance, showing attractive streets, but retaining a technical annex or adoption standards that are still based on DB32 or the earlier Roads in Urban Areas (1966).
  • 36 percent were still using policies and practices based on DB32- (or equivalent)

Large refuse collection vehicles given greater priority than disabled and elderly people by nearly two thirds of highway authorities!

The above illustrates a sad picture and not a basis for making people-friendly street. Have you come across good examples that we can share and learn from?

The full survey can be found here:

And the full survey report is here….

Street Design in the UK – Pilot Survey 2018

10 Principles for People-Friendly Places?

Francis Tibbalds’ Making People-Friendly Towns publication from 1992 included the 10 specific chapter heading. These were often referred to as his 10 principles for making people-friendly places.

In 2015 Matthew Carmona and Steven Tiesdell published their Urban Design Reader. Within it they refer to Tibbalds’ urban design framework, comprising the following refined set of principles:

  1. Places matter most
  2. Learn the lessons of the past
  3. Encourage the mixing of uses and activities
  4. Design on a human scale
  5. Encourage pedestrian freedom
  6. Provide access for all
  7. Build legible environments
  8. Build lasting environments
  9. Control change
  10. Contribute to the greater whole

Very recently, the RIBA published a publication called 10 characteristics of ‘Places where People want to Live’. These are:

  1. The right place for the right housing
  2. A place to start and a place to stay
  3. A place that fosters a sense of belonging
  4. A place to live in nature
  5. A place to enjoy and be proud of
  6. A place with a choice in homes
  7. A place with a unique and lasting appeal
  8. A place where people feel at home
  9. A sustainable place for future generations
  10. A place where people thrive.

Tell us your principles of ‘Making people-friendly places’?
Do you or your organisation have principles of good urban form and placemaking?

Join the discussion on the Forum.

Katja Stille and Hilary Satchwell, Tibbalds