best practice guides
save our streets

Best practice and placemaking initiatives are ‘how to do it’ manifestos, design strategies, design initiatives, design briefs, manuals and handbooks created by local authorities, Government bodies, professional bodies and campaigning and community groups. These offer information and advice outside of the regulatory system.

For UK statutory design guidance , please visit RUDI's Design Guidance section.

For January 2007 onwards, RUDI's best practice and placemaking initiatives scroll down.

Before January 2007, RUDI's best practice and placemaking initiatives are divided into sections (click here)

Free to access on RUDI: core urban design guides

The Urban Design Compendium was published by English Partnerships in partnership with The Housing Corporation and examines the factors that make neighbourhoods stimulating and active places in which residents feel comfortable and safe.

It aims to provide accessible advice to developers, funding agencies and partners on the achievement and assessment of the quality of urban design for the development and regeneration of urban areas. It is designed to provide a source of best practice to all those involved in the regeneration and development industries. The Compendium was produced by consultants Llewelyn-Davies, and is available free from English Partnerships

Click here for other free to access guides

Community energy: urban planning for a low carbon future

This guide provides a practical vision of how our towns and cities can plan for the development of community-scale energy. Local government has a key role to play in coordinating action, making full use of planning powers and acting as pioneers and champions for the development of decentralised energy networks.

Good design: the fundamentals

By Richard Simmons

Chief executive, CABE

Why does design matter – and what is the best way to achieve it? This essay sets out why architecture and urban design are such important cultural assets, and why good design can be reached only if it has users in mind.

Good design requires a good process, including a clear brief and adequate budget, along with strong leadership and the right regulation. The essay sets out the thinking behind Shape the future, CABE’s strategy for 2008/09- 2010/11.

Seen and heard: Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people

A survey commissioned by Play England for Playday, an initiative designed to celebrate the right of children to play outside, highlights that children want and need to play in their local streets.

The research undertaken for this report across six different neighbourhoods suggests that the government’s ambitions to improve the wellbeing of children, and its aim to create sustainable communities, will fall short unless the needs of children and young people in their everyday environment are taken seriously by all those designing, delivering and managing the public realm.

Sustain our Suburbs

This report was commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Commission for the Built Environment (CABE) in order to examine the suburban context and discover what policy and practice solutions could be developed to enable suburbs to respond appropriately to the climate change, social cohesion, affordable housing and sustainable development ambitions laid out by Government.

For the purposes of this scoping study we have focused solely on the English context, but will extrapolate our findings to the wider UK context in subsequent work.

Disconnected citizens


Community empowerment is a defining agenda of the Brown Government, and likely to feature heavily in the manifestos of all the three main parties at the next election.

The Communities and Local Government White Paper on the same topic was launched in July 2008. In this context, this essay discusses how, despite community empowerment being presented as a panacea for many social ills, the evidence in relation to some outcomes is relatively patchy.

Neighbourliness + empowerment = wellbeing


This report, from The Local Wellbeing Project, aims to accelerate understanding of how local authorities can, through their community engagement and neighbourhood working practices, increase the wellbeing of their residents. The Local Wellbeing Project is a unique, three-year initiative to explore how local government can practically improve the happiness and wellbeing of their citizens.

Living working countryside

Living working countryside

This country’s rural communities cannot stand still. Change is inevitable whether development takes place or not, and the choices we make today will shape tomorrow’s character of the market towns, villages and hamlets that make up our countryside.

This report sets out a vision of flourishing, vibrant communities that will be genuinely sustainable – socially, economically and environmentally, and delivers a clear message: the planning process has to become an engine of regeneration or we face a future of decline.

Licence to skill

Licence to skill

New Local Government Network (NLGN) is an independent think tank that seeks to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities. NLGN published this report as part of its programme of research and innovative policy projects, which we hope will be of use to policy makers and practitioners.

Innovation and the city

Innovation and the city

NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

NESTA's aim is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation by investing in early stage companies, informing innovation policy and encouraging a culture that helps innovation to flourish. This report examines how supporting innovation can contribute to the success of cities

The Killian Pretty review: A call for solutions

a call for solutions

Planning plays a vital role in shaping the places where we live, work and visit. The planning system is a powerful tool which helps deliver a wide range of important objectives and impacts directly on a wide range of householders, businesses and others who propose changes to the use or development of land and buildings.

Although considerable improvements have been made to the planning application system, concerns still remain in relation to its speed and responsiveness. This review aims to identify practicable and feasible solutions that will improve the planning application process on the ground for all users, operators, and the wider community.