Local context is the

foundation for all our work


Traditionally, consultants have delivered projects for clients. We can do that and we’ll do a good job. Even better, though, we like to deliver projects with our clients, working with you to produce solutions that you feel ownership of. This way, you get better value and the results are more sustainable.

Urban Design Services

Ministry of Local Government, Trinidad and Tobago 2009 – 2013

Outline Brief:
To prepare a Generic Urban Design Framework for Trinidad and Tobago, providing urban design training to the Government’s planners and consultants, advising on the urban design elements of 14 Regional Development Plans and exploring the use of ‘Form Based Codes’ to supplement or replace conventional planning standards.

Our Methodology:
The project was carried out in three phases. The initial phase, to prepare the Generic Urban Design Framework, involved conducting several workshops, symposia and ‘Placechecks’, as well as building a website as a resource for planners and designers. The next phase required a number of training sessions and one-to-one guidance with planners and consultants. These were designed to help incorporate appropriate regional urban design policy in each of the emerging regional development plans.

The final phase involved assessing the potential for using the ‘Form Based Codes’ approach to urban design as either an alternative or a supplement to Trinidad and Tobago’s existing planning standards. After having several workshops, prototype Form Based Codes where produced for two town centres so that the practicalities and value of the method could be evaluated. The final report and recommendations can be viewed and downloaded here.

Eureka moments:
Recognising that urban design thinking cannot simply be transplanted from one context to another was key. Some principles are universal, but their application has to be informed by a deep understanding of local context and culture. The symposia and Placecheck sessions were of immense value, enabling us to explore ideas and attitudes with the client and find solutions relevant to Trinidad and Tobago.

What’s happened since?
Urban design policies now feature in Trinidad’s national plan for regional development and there is guidance through the National Spatial Development Strategy. The Form Based Codes are now going through further trials while the old planning standards are under review.