The Bartlett School of Planning


Urban Maestro’s Policy Dialogue and Expert Forum on New Governance Strategies for Urban Design

17 March 2021, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

Urban Maestro

Lessons learnt and policy recommendations on urban design governance in Europe will be debated by international expert and policy makers.

Event Information

Open to





Matthew Carmona

In the past two years, the Urban Maestro project (urbanmaestro.org) has explored and encouraged innovation in the field of urban design governance through enabling a better understanding of alternative non-regulatory (“soft power”) approaches, and their contribution to the quality of the built environment.

All over Europe, the project has been capturing and highlighting knowledge on how such initiatives are used in practice, with what purpose, and their impact on delivering better-designed places. The project has also contributed to the global urban debate and the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by enhancing practices of urban design governance within Europe and beyond.

The event is co-hosted by UN-Habitat and the Directorate-General for Territory, within the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU. It is organized in two sessions:

- In the morning, the Policy Dialogue will present the project’s main findings, illustrated by concrete examples related to the use of soft power in the governance of urban design. Policy implications at European, national and local levels will be debated.

- The afternoon is dedicated to an Expert Forum which will offer a better understanding of the broad range of formal and informal tools available to decision makers. Through two series of discussion groups, participants will have the opportunity to interact with representatives of the 100+ practices identified by Urban Maestro. The afternoon will conclude with a roundtable discussion on future projects and activities in the field of urban design governance.

View agenda.

About the Urban Maestro project

Over two years, the Urban Maestro project has taken a deep dive into the governance of urban design across Europe. It has examined interventions in the means and processes of designing the built environment put in place by public authorities and other stakeholders across the continent in order to shape both those processes and outcomes in a defined public interest. In particular the focus has been on the use of soft powers to influence design quality with the aim of understanding the scope, use and effectiveness of the range of informal (non-regulatory) urban design governance tools that governments, municipalities, and others have at their disposal.

Urban Maestro is implemented since 2019 by three partners: the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Brussels Bouwmeester Maître Architecte (BMA) and the University College London (UCL). It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

www. urbanmaestro.org

Participants who register for this event agree that their personal data is stored and used solely for the purpose of organizing the event, in respect of UN-Habitat's data protection policies.