Design Governance: The CABE Experiment (Paperback) book cover

Design Governance

The CABE Experiment

By Matthew Carmona, Claudio De Magalhaes, Lucy Natarajan

© 2017 – Routledge

272 pages

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Design Governance focuses on how we design the built environment where most of us live, work, and play and the role of government in that process. To do so, it draws on the experience of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), a decade-long, globally unique experiment in the governance of design. This book theorises design governance as an arm and aspiration of the state; tells the story of CABE, warts and all, and what came before and after; unpacks CABE’s ‘informal’ toolbox: its methods and processes of design governance; and reflects on the effectiveness and legitimacy of design as a tool of modern-day government. The result is a new set of concepts through which to understand the governance of design as a distinct and important sub-field of urban design.

Table of Contents

A personal acknowledgement


FOREWORD: Exploring design governance



Chapter 1. Design governance (why, what and how – in theory)

Chapter 2. The tools of design governance (formal and informal)


Chapter 3. The RFAC and 75 years of English design review, 1924-1999

Chapter 4. CABE, a story of innovation in the governance of design, 1999 to 2011

Chapter 5. Design governance in an age of austerity, 2011-2016



Chapter 6. The evidence tools

Chapter 7. The knowledge tools

Chapter 8. The promotiontools

Chapter 9. The evaluation tools

Chapter 10. The assistance tools


AFTERWORD: The impact and legitimacy of design governance


Appendix. Research methods

About the Authors

Matthew Carmona is a Professor of Planning and Urban Design at University College London's (UCL) Bartlett School of Planning, UK. His research has concentrated on urban design, processes of design governance, and the design and management of public space. He is an architect, planner and chair of the Place Alliance.

Claudio de Magalhães is a Reader of Urban Regeneration and Management at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning, UK. His interests have been in planning and the governance of the built environment, the provision and governance of public space, property development processes, and urban regeneration policy.

Lucy Natarajan is an experienced researcher at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning, UK, where she did her PhD. Her core areas of concern are urban policy, knowledge in decision-making, public participation, spatial strategy, and new technologies of governing. She is an experienced facilitator with a track record of managing collaborative work.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning