Although urban design is closely related to urban planning, the design process emphasize the physical improvement of the public environment while planning tends to focus on the management of private development in terms of established planning methods and programs as well as other statutory development controls.
We remain committed to an integrated approach that considers all aspects of planning and urban design therefore forms part of our core functions. Urban design deals with the arrangement, appearance and functionality of towns and cities and the shaping and use of urban public space.
It should therefore not stand separate from urban planning and we endeavor to facilitate consultation and negotiation across a variety of spheres to appropriately inform the design, construction and management of public spaces. This also relates to the identification of environmental sensitivities and other important physical characteristics as well as implications for the provision of engineering services.
Our Urban Design Team provides the required professional services in this field. We strive to assist clients in mitigating their risk and developing their projects in a responsible and compliant manner to facilitate the creation of sustainable human settlement.
We therefore use specialists as part of this team such that our designs and the basis thereof may not only rely on sound planning principles but also acknowledge the importance of a good quality living environment.
The urban design principles evolve from stakeholder engagement and extensive public involvement as well as a process of gathering baseline information and a complete spatial analysis such that the specific characteristics of each area can be sensibly incorporated in the design process.
Since each project and area is unique the team considers this process as key to the success of the eventual project.
This leads to a spatial vision for a particular area that must then be developed to become an Urban Design Rationale. The rationale forms the basis of a Master Plan that can then be prepared to eventually guide and inform all the decisions relating to the use, development and planning of land parcels.
The ultimate aim of the Master Plan is to improve the way in which different activities are arranged, positioned and connected in the physical space and in so doing improving the sustainability, functionality and live ability of a particular place. This in turn may contribute to economic investment, social well-being and environmental sustainability.
During the planning and design of the Master Plan the various disciplines inform the decision-making process to such an extent that more detailed Precinct Plans for specific areas within the larger site assembly may then be developed as the subsequent stages of the urban design process and it is at this stage that urban design and urban planning eventually meet to facilitate the implementation of appropriate land development that aligns with the overall Master Plan.
Our extensive involvement on the African continent to assist clients on a number of projects where Master Plans have been successfully developed confirms our commitment to this approach.