URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) Ltd is an award-winning design and research consultancy based in Manchester. We believe in building sustainable towns and cities and enabling good design.
We have many years’ experience of working with public and private sector clients on masterplanning projects across the country. We work at a range of scales, from the site-specific level, up to spatial strategies for entire regions. Many of these have resulted in built schemes that are now vibrant and successful places. Our vision and expertise was recognised in the Wolfson Economics Prize, which was awarded to David Rudlin and Nicholas Falk in 2014 for their work on a 21st Century Garden City.
Since we were founded over 40 years ago, we have been working to achieve environmental and social sustainability in urban areas from regional and city, to neighbourhood and building scales. We take a holistic approach which considers energy and resource use, climate, and transport, but also design quality and economics; for example, in our work on the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood Network (SUNN) and Footprint.
We believe that meaningful community engagement enriches our designs. We have developed tools and methods to facilitate this. This dialogue has enabled the completion of projects that initially faced local opposition. It has also encouraged local people and building users to participate in the design of their place.
We have developed expertise in low-carbon architectural design, particularly in the retrofit of existing buildings. We see this as integral to the environmental sustainability and the long-term success of urban areas, improving health and well-being as well as climate and wider environmental outcomes.
URBED is a limited company with cooperative rules, managed by its employee members. We are multidisciplinary – within the office there are urban designers, planners, architects, landscape architects, sustainability experts and geographers. Our collaborative values are reflected in the work we undertake with clients, our fellow consultants, and communities.
The services we offer are detailed in full on our website: www.urbed.coop
We’re working with Carbon Co-op in this BEIS funded project to develop local supply chains for whole house retrofit across Greater Manchester. This is one of six pilot projects in England. It aims to develop localised capacity to deliver retrofit works and inform future government policy and approaches.
Led by Carbon Co-op and URBED, the partnership includes Arc4, Cumbria Action for Sustainability, Quantum Strategy and Technology, Fieldwork Studio and Shortwork along with Electricity North West, Ecology Building Society and Greater Manchester Green Growth.
Together we’ll be researching, developing and testing the potential for a new householder-led approach to domestic energy efficiency works in the owner-occupied and ‘able to pay’ sector.You can read more about it in a blog on the Carbon Co-op website here.
In 2014 Squash asked URBED to work with them to develop a new home on derelict land on Windsor Street in Liverpool 8.
The building is intended to be environmentally responsible as well as creating a warm and welcoming space for the neighbourhood. It has high levels of insulation and triple-glazed windows to make it comfortable and cheap to run. It was constructed with a timber frame, including glu-lam beams. It is finished externally with FSC timber cladding from Scotland and a recyled steel roof. The insulation in the roof and walls is made from recycled newspaper. Recycled glass aggregate is used as the below-floor insualtion. It features many recycled, re-puposed and re-used materials in its fit-out. These include a shop counter made from left-over building materials, a timber floor that used to be in a school gym, and planters made from the mesh-fencing that used to surround the empty site.
In autumn 2018 Homebaked Community Land Trust (CLT) invited URBED to work with them to develop plans for the next phase of their work, refurbishing the terrace of houses next to the bakery as part of longer-term aims to regenerate the local high street. We’re using a participatory process – working with the CLT board, Homebaked stakeholders and local people – to develop designs for housing, business and community space within the block. This development will create affordable accommodation and space for people to come together, linked to the bakery building and the surrounding public spaces. We will be using our retrofit expertise to turn the 100 year-old terrace into a comfortable, warm and light-filled space that is environmentally responsible – enabling its residents to live well.