How can urban design save lives?


How can urban design save lives?


Traffic fatalities are currently estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death worldwide, causing over 1.24 million deaths annually - a ranking that is expected to rise to the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.[1] So how can we stop this number from rising and start decreasing it? Urban design is the art of creating and shaping cities and towns. It is the arrangement, function and appearance of buildings, public spaces, services – and of course, transport systems. Urban design involves many different disciplines including architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning together to make urban areas functional attractive and most importantly, safe. 

So, what are the benefits of urban design and how can it make our cities safer?


Encourage more walking and cycling!

If you live in a walkable neighbourhood, you might have the option of driving to work however you can also ride a bike, walk or take public transport. A walkable neighbourhood is often a much safer place to be. Urban Designers are frequently challenged with designing areas that encourage both our healthy lifestyles while reducing our need to use cars. One way they achieve this is by creating more cycle lanes and more communal green spaces.


Reducing traffic deaths in urban areas

Historically, cities were designed for separation, which resulted in wider roads leading to faster moving traffic today. Therefore, people driving faster increases the risk for everyone on the roads, including those who have no choice and must walk in difficult conditions. Urban designers today make the roads in our urban communities winding and narrower encouraging slow driving.


Reduce the cost of living

A cheap new car costs £20,000, plus insurance, petrol & parking. When you live in a walkable or cyclable city you may drive significantly less or even live without a car. ‘47 % of people don’t plan to own a car because they can use public transit or a car sharing service’. Do you think this percentage will rise or drop in the coming years?


 Protecting the environment

Further to reducing the cost of living, places that bring us together benefit the environment in several ways: Every trip on foot or on a bike burns fat instead of gas, keeping us healthier and the air cleaner. Another way they are protecting the environment is through solar energy. Urban designers today are slowly paving the way to a solar urban landscape that defies traditional energy methods. ‘Increasing independence from the electrical grid has also helped protect communities from volatile energy prices and power outages.’ This is explained in more detail here.


Encourage a healthier lifestyle

I live and work in London and despite excellent public transport I struggle to walk 10,000 steps per day because I’m either in the office or on the train. People that live in smaller neighbourhoods (and therefore a walkable place) often walk 10,000 steps per day as part of their daily activities have been proven to be healthier than those where people walk less. How many steps do you do a day?

Not only does urban design make out cities safer but it also brings communities together. How does Urban design benefit you?



rsz img 0862*no longer with the company*

I joined Mattinson Partnership in April 2017 as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant, working alongside Freddie on the Town Planning and Architecture desk. Before joining Mattinson Partnership I was studying Law at the University of Bedfordshire and worked on a part-time basis in an accountancy firm. I was promoted to Consultant in Autumn of 2017 and now I head the Landscape Architecture and Urban Design desk. When I'm not out socialising with my colleagues you'll find me at home with my beloved black cat, Snowy



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London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.

Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.