Urban Design Summer School

About the Summer School

The Place Alliance was set up in 2013 in the wake of the Farrell Review to champion quality of place through better collaboration and the proactive advocacy of better design.

Amongst other things, Place Alliance has attempted to fill some of the gaps left by the demise of public funding to the Commission of Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). One very successful long-running initiative of CABE was its programme of urban design summer schools and it is this model that we adopted to run our own first summer school in September 2016.

In 2016 the Place Alliance teamed up with a number of its supporters to develop a summer school aimed at a wide range of professionals and decision-makers involved in making and sustaining successful places. The aim of this intensive three-day course was to help delegates develop the knowledge, skills and passion to confidently create successful places, whether in an urban, suburban or rural context.

See our past Summer Schools

Audience and Overview

The programme focuses on skills development within local planning authorities and other public sector bodies such as highways authorities and Government departments, although the summer school is also open to postgraduate students and to other professionals wishing to up their skills levels or simply hear about the latest thinking and practice in urban design.

Course aims:

  • To introduce urban design core principles and process
  • To take participants systematically through the stages of site investigation, visioning and coding
  • To introduce basic skills in communicating urban design
  • To inspire participants with the latest thinking and practice in urban design

Our goals

We hope that the Summer School programme will always be informative, perhaps even inspirational, but above all fun and engaging, demonstrating to all participants both the power of good urban design, why it is an objective worth pursuing, and how we can all play a part in its delivery.
The aim for participants is come away from the school with new competencies in urban design; but more than that, to gain new confidence and energy to seek to engage in the ongoing battle for design quality.

We also intend to establish a network of practitioners that will constitute an additional live network within the Place Alliance and will be maintained along with the other Place Alliance Networks and Working groups. Their names will be added to the database of Place Alliance supporters and the impact of the initiative will be tracked immediately after the event in order to feed back into the preparation of future events and to assess further learning needs.

    Past Summer Schools

    PASS 2017

    PASS 2017

    PASS 201714-16 September 2017, LondonThe second Place Alliance Urban Design Summer School was an intensive three-day course that provided a grounding in ideas about the nature, role and contemporary relevance of urban design and aimed at breaking down the barriers...


    Our first Place Alliance Summer School could not have happened without financial support from the Bartlett Enterprise Development Fund (BEDF), which provides funding for activities that generate, or support enterprise collaborations, impact-related activities, and life learning initiatives.
    A big thank you also goes to all the consultants who freely offered their time and expertise to run each of the Summer School activities. We are grateful that Place Alliance can count on such a great level of support.

    Finally, thank you to the people working behind the scenes: UCL services, such as UCL Life Learning, UCL Finance & business Affairs, Estates and other members of staff whose advice has been invaluable to help us set up such a big event.