Just thought that you might be interested in looking at the Guardian's (UK newspapers) web page on urban design.
What you'll actually get is a page with links to various articles about urban planning in the UK published over the last few months or so.
Thanks for the article, Journeymouse. I looked at it and was amazed at how short-sighted the writers and Britain were on how they conceived of urban design. They kept referring to architects and individual buildings & projects, as if the only aspect of urban design is how a building looks. Those articles certainly show how Britain conceives their urban design goals: that urban design is about physical determinism and it is to be used for economic development purposes. I am not a big fan of phyiscal determinism and do not believe the physical environment has an over-riding influence on how people behave. But urban design for economic development purposes can be a worthy goal. The thing I cannot ascertain from the articles is what the cities are like now and if they really are in a depressing state of decay; if the buildings are "okay" and if the local economies are growing, then I don't see the need for signature buildings, as the article seems to suggest. But perhaps therein lies their strategy: buy throwing money at the physical appearance of buildings and by investing in signature buildings, these towns will attract a more bourgeoius, middle class, white collar resident, tourist, or whatever. The net effect is bringing people to the small towns... not a bad goal at all. However, if this is the goal, then it seems like the overall net effect will be gentrification and the displacement of the industrial, blue-collar workers from their traditional towns. Is this what Britain wants?
So, my question to fellow Cyburbanites is this: What is the purpose of urban design? Is it for economic development purposes? Or is it for the people, to give them places they can enjoy, congregate, and act like citizens? Or is it both? Or is there another reason, one more complex than I am suggesting here?