Government agencies responsible for delivering housing have published an ‘urban design manual’ today setting out strategies for creating ‘quality places and promoting community cohesion’.

The Urban Design Compendium 2 was published today by national regeneration agency English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation and is aimed at developers, planners, policy markers, builders, urban designers, architects, community groups and registered social landlords.

It highlighted five key areas of sustainable development. It said leadership and setting policies and targets were vital as was integrating the correct delivery and procurement methods to carry out good urban design. A third key area was collaborating with all involved parties to make sure all skills are put to best use and to ensure design quality was not ‘watered down’. The final key areas was long-term involvement and legacy which involves providing ‘management structures to support communities in the long-term to make sure they function and provide a good quality of life.’

The compendium also identified that the main barriers to good urban design and suggested examples for overcoming these listing exemplar schemes from the UK and abroad.

Trevor Beattie, English Partnerships’ director of corporate strategy, said the first compendium addressed what constituted good urban design while this second edition would inform the approach to delivery. : ‘It is a practical manual for project delivery.’

Steven Douglas, acting chief executive of the Housing Corporation, said: ‘Design quality is more important than ever now, with the rise in delivery targets for new homes supported by over £8bn in Housing Corporation funding - to be carried forwards by the new Homes and Communities Agency in 2008-11.’

An online version of the compendium ( will be launched later today at the London City Hall as part of Urban Design Week