Urban design

**RELATED TERMS: Architecture; Urban; **

Closely related to urban planning, urban design is an aspect of urban or suburban planning that focuses on creating a desirable environment in which to live, work and play. Design analysis includes the relationship between buildings, streets, land use, open space, circulation, height, natural features and human activity. A well designed urban or suburban environment demonstrates the four generally accepted principles of urban design:

1 clearly identifiable function for the area;
2 easily understood order;
3 distinctive identity; and
4 visual appeal.

An interesting resource from the point of view of the design of narrative environments is the exhibition, Grand Reductions: Ten diagrams that changed urban planning, a review of which can be found in Emily Badger (2012). The diagrams are Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City, Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, The Street Grid, The Megaregion, The Transect, The Setback Principle, The Nolli Map, Psychogeography and The Hockey Stick.

The relationship between urban design and narrative is explored by Mark Childs (2008).


Badger, E. (2012) The Evolution of urban planning in 10 diagrams, Citylab. Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2018).

Childs, M. C. (2008) ‘Storytelling and urban design’, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 1(2), pp. 173–186. doi: 10.1080/17549170802221526.