Rob Cowan is a one-stop-shop for an understanding of place, and the associated role of urban design. Today, we talk about his many contributions to urbanism in the United Kingdom, including cartoons, words, training, and methodologies. These contributions played a big part in the practical sections of Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character.

His website succinctly summarizes his contributions to the field. They include The Dictionary of Urbanism and national urban design guidance, as well as editor, cartoonist, illustrator, and speaker.

In the video, we discuss Rob’s pending urban design primer (Essential Urban Design, RIBA Publishing, 2021), and his belief in the cartoon as a communications tool. We then address the complexity of the word “character.” Finally, Rob explains the Placecheck method for understanding place. He summarizes how Placecheck provides a baseline for inclusive decision-making about change.

This short video is well worth review by anyone interested in cities and urban design.

Review the special “landing page” for Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character here.

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