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CABE offers a way to make Enterprise Partnerships work

12 July 2010

Jane Barraclough, 020 7070 6771,

A new report from CABE, Getting the big picture right, urges a new approach to large scale urban design, with more joint working across local boundaries. Large scale urban design deals with the environmental, economic and social issues that cannot be solved through local action.

The guide offers a way for councils to take forward the idea of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), recently announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (29 June, 2010), particularly with regard to their role, size and governance.

Joanna Averley, CABE’s deputy chief executive and director of design and planning advice, said: ‘LEPs are meant to reflect the natural economic geography of the areas they serve and address the real functional areas that govern the economy and how many people travel to work. Large scale urban design provides a framework for decision making on these very issues. You use boundaries based on functional relationships, and put the active involvement of all the interested parties at the heart of the process.’

Large scale urban design reflects the fact that housing and job markets now operate across extended areas, as do the catchments for leisure facilities and major hospitals. Similarly, many environmental challenges, such as water management, flood prevention and generating low carbon energy, are best addressed by cross-boundary action.  Urban design at this scale can also link specialised centres together to support the knowledge-based economy, and connect failing areas to economic opportunities.

CABE used a mix of UK best practice, international research and workshops to produce this guide. It describes the distinctive features of large scale urban design and who benefits most, before setting out exactly how organisations and partnerships can implement the three-stage process.

Notes to editors

  • To request an interview or images please contact Jane Barraclough 020 7070 6771 or
  • The link to Getting the big picture right is here:
  • CABE is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and offer expert advice to developers and architects. We show public sector clients how to commission buildings that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places.