Urban Street Planning and Design

Module aims

Street planning and design in the UK urban areas is undergoing a radical transformation, with the growing recognition that urban streets have become too traffic-dominated and that they need to facilitate a variety of other functions. This makes street planning and design a much broader and more complex process, and requires more trade-offs among competing pressures. Crucially, this broader view of streets is now endorsed by the UK Department for Transport, as well as many professional bodies.

These issues are relevant in many other countries too. The New Urbanism movement in the US is challenging traditional methods of urban street planning and design and within Europe the UK is now seen as a leader in this area.  Interest has also been expressed in Australia and New Zealand, and one of the core books on the reading list has been translated into Chinese.

The module equips students with the knowledge and skills to address the following issues:

  • Determining the functions of different parts of the urban street network.
  • Systematically applying a Link/Movement & Place classification to the whole of an urban street network.
  • Identifying the user needs of the various street user groups, and how these translate into design requirements.
  • Developing context-sensitive street design options balancing the needs of all user groups.
  • Methods to engage the public in street planning and design.
  • How to appraise design options.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand this new environment, both at the levels of principle and practice. This ranges from strategic planning of urban streets to detailed physical street design issues, both in relation to existing urban street networks and the construction of new communities. 
  • It also addresses more controversial issues such as the role and relevance of shared space designs on different kinds of urban streets.

Module syllabus

  • This course provides students with an awareness of the multi-functional nature of urban streets and the wide range of competing demands from the large number of street user groups.
  • It provides them with concepts and tools to classify and plan for a variety of city streets with different Movement and Place functions, and teaches them how to design different types of street.
  • It shows how street classification contributes to all aspects of street space allocation, asset management and highway operation.
  • It exposes them to the various controversies regarding design concepts such as ‘shared space’, and the role of cycle segregation.

  The following list of lectures and activities is provisional and subject to alteration





Urban street planning in its historical context

To be confirmed


Urban streets today: perspective and challenges


Road and street hierarchies


Street users and their design requirements


Design concepts – balancing competing demands


The pedestrian environment


Catering for groups with restricted mobility


Freight movement and servicing activities


Cycling and motorcycling – the neglected modes


Buses and trams


Addressing road safety problems


Crime and personal security


Designing residential streets


Designing busy street


The shared space controversy


Street design appraisal


Assessing street performance – I & II


Assessing street performance – I & II


Stakeholder engagement – I & II


Stakeholder engagement – I & II

Activity 1

Three seminars with outside speakers (DfT, TfL and consultant)

Activity 2

Site visit to a street reconstruction scheme

Activity 3

General essay on street design issues

Activity 4

Group design exercise



Teaching methods

A combination of lectures, seminars and exercises.


Information will be provided separately.