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Making a Cohesive City: Fine Tuning the Framework

Alastair Leighton Associate Director - Design

1 City Layers

Evolution & Change

2 Challenge 3 Community & Vitality

4 Future

Places of exchange, commerce & vitality

Diverse layers of heritage, community & functions

Variety, Opportunity & Complexity

Delightful & Sustaining

Integrated climate response and function

Interconnected functional layers forming a complex mechanism

Evolution - and more radical changes Development Population Growth Complexity


What happens when it goes wrong?

Urban Monoculture in places that are still required to perform multiple functions

Fragmentation & sharp, broken edges

Challenge of a city-scape of different parts not integrated layers

Complexity = positive Complication = negative

Some environments delivered as individual parts

Sometimes the important layers get a bit lost

Complexity = positive Complication = negative

Layering & integration of different active transport modes

Distribution of space responsive to demand

environmental quality

Retrospective adjustment

Residential street = Residential character

Recipe for success - Tendency to repeat the familiar formula?

Is too much of the future character sometimes

Seeking value within urban design - a complex multi-layered assessment

Unlock the potential of local community passions & innovation - the vibrant community dimension behind the plans

In the current climate, should the design & planning process be more opportunistic, and support a slightly more messy process?

Experimental or short-term opportunities?

Quick Illustration: Alternative Recipe?

Urban Design Powers of Cohesive Vision

101 010 001

Demonstrating the value of vision and the importance of integrated layers


Not much value on their own


Individual value of 0



Individual value of 1

Adding a vision for an integrated urban design response to places:


power & real value


Alignment with the Vision:


Delivering value over time Responsive to community Dependable, but dynamic Common philosophy, not format

within the framework Implications for the whole place

Launch pad for further evolution and additional layers

The expected and the unexpected

Strategic vision informing responses to places within the framework

Articulation of a robust multi-functional vision for a whole place

1 City Layers

Evolution & Change Fine-tuning the framework

2 Challenge

Integration & Balance

3 Community & Vitality

4 Future?

New layers?

Alastair Leighton Associate Director - Design

Leighton, Alastair (7B)  
Leighton, Alastair (7B)  

Making a Cohesive City: Fine Tuning the Framework