Urban planning encompasses a number of processes and phases, from the very initial planning stage and masterplanning of an area of a town or city, through to engagement with local authority planners and local communities, through to the design and construction and the finalisation of the regeneration and building of a new area. There are many things that we have become familiar with in terms of the regeneration (and gentrification) of urban areas, the construction of housing developments and the design and planning stages of any new structure that is to be built in an area we live.

How can you ensure that there is meaningful dialogue and engagement though between all relevant parties, from the urban planning developers, to local planners and the community itself?

It is important that the local community already in place remains an integral part of the process and are left to feel that they are important to the long-term functionality and sustainability of an urban environment, even within often drastic changes and developments within areas that may have been unchanged for decades in some cases. As well as the basic plans for construction and regeneration it is vital that current services remain part of the community and that there is a thread, a connection, between the past, the present, and the future of the community as regeneration and development takes place.

Engagement has always been an important part of political and planning prospects in urban areas. It is important that the thoughts, wishes, and problems that the local community put forward prior to any development taking place is taken into account. A local community should always be cherished, as it is them who live, work, and explore life within the urban landscape being redeveloped.

It is with engagement and an honest, transparent planning process where urban designers, architects and the local community come together, that real progress can be made. When all sides of an argument are put forward and discussed with honesty you can begin to see real engagement, and honest solutions for the redevelopment and regeneration of an urban area that makes sense to all involved, from the architects, the planners, developers, and to the locals.

The problem with some modern urban developments is that the local community are not engaged with and are not discussed on the proposed plans and changes. This means that architecture is designed in a way that might not suit the local community, services might be prevented from continuing, and there is not even a nod to the past of that specific community.

When you put in place a proper consultation process where the local community are encouraged to engage with developers and planners, it can make a real difference. Architects can design buildings that actually have a flavour of that specific community rather than just being a homogenous structure that could be dropped into any high street or suburban road in the entire country and not look out of place.

Working with architects that have experience of working on regeneration and urban development projects where the local community is included and engaged with is an important process for any urban developers. It ensures continuity of community, and exciting architectural plans and designs for the future of the area where development is proposed.