The quality of the place where you live has a powerful impact on your quality of life. Despite the pressure on resources, there are still ways to create the kind of places where people and business thrive.

Lace Market Square, Nottingham

Lace Market Square, Nottingham. Photo by David Millington Photography Ltd

Historic places connect us to the achievements and lives of previous generations. Good contemporary design expresses our confidence in the future. Functional places contribute to people’s productivity. Sustainable places contribute to people’s health and wellbeing.

Placemaking also makes economic sense - good quality places are usually cheaper to run, easier to maintain, and attract investment.

Placemaking itself is not just about design. It involves understanding the bigger story about a place, as well as being attentive to the small but important details. It involves taking care of what is there already, and anticipating what is still needed to make a place work.

Why is this important now?

People care passionately about the places where they live and work. It is here that the ‘big society’ is going to be made real first of all. And it is through placemaking that councils can create cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages that will be great to live in and invest in during the difficult years ahead.

All this will need civic leaders who are well equipped for the task.

It’s local leaders that are best placed to understand how a place should develop, and bring together all the different partners involved in making that vision a reality. This pivotal role will only become more important as the government implements its radical plans for decentralising power to councils and communities:

  • with the introduction of ‘open source’ planning, and emphasis on community-led planning
  • with a massive scaling back of targets and inspection regimes
  • through a new general power of competence, putting local people squarely in the driving seat.

To make the most of these opportunities, local decision makers will want to access the best advice available. And that is what CABE is here to offer.

Expert advice for placemaking

  • Public space

    Public space

    Public spaces - parks, streets and squares – are vital parts of our towns and cities.

  • Housing


    Well-designed housing improves quality of life. Without a focus on design quality, we risk creating homes in which no-one wants to live.

  • School design

    School design

    We help clients, such as local authorities and schools, to create well-designed learning environments.

  • Sustainability


    We embed sustainable design in all our work and encourage sustainable living by helping to create buildings and spaces that fulfill environmental, social and economic needs.

  • Planning


    Good planning can deliver good design in the right place and at the right time. Poor planning can leave a terrible legacy of failed buildings and spaces.

  • Inclusion and diversity

    Inclusion and diversity

    The built environment can contribute to a more equal, inclusive and cohesive society if places, facilities and neighbourhoods are designed to be accessible and inclusive for all.

  • Health and wellbeing

    Health and wellbeing

    An all-inclusive approach to public health is emerging for those planning, building and managing places that affect people's health.

  • London 2012

    London 2012

    CABE has an important role to play in supporting the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in creating a legacy of high quality buildings following the London 2012 Games.

  • The value of design

    The value of design

    Promoting the value of design is central to everything that CABE does.