Urban Maestro, New Governance Strategies for Urban Design

Additional Team Members - Joao Bento and Terpsi Laopoulou 

The Urban Maestro project was a joint initiative of the United Nations Human Settlement programme (UN-Habitat), University College London (UCL) and the Brussels Bouwmeester Maître Architecte (BMA). The work was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The project took a deep dive into the governance of urban design around Europe. It examined interventions in the means and processes of designing the built environment as devised by public authorities and other stakeholders across the continent. In particular, the focus was on the use of soft powers to influence design quality in the public interest. In doing it traced the scope, use and effectiveness of the range of informal (non-regulatory) urban design governance tools that governments, municipalities, and others have at their disposal. Governments everywhere, are increasingly seeing these sorts of tools as part of a necessary investment in delivering the sorts of high quality built environments that their residents, businesses and investors demand. The project explored how.

In 2023 Urban design governance: soft powers and the European experience will be published by UCL Press, drawing the Urban Maestro work together and further developing the findings. The book will be available as a free download.