Posted: 1st January 1980

We work in neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities to generate solutions for quality of living.  We seek to discover and carefully exploit the positive aspects of place and community to deliver attractive distinctive physical environments.  We collaborate to build a greater sense of community and closeness, creating a vision which will be self sustaining socially, physically and environmentally.

Vision & Innovation
At MBLA we seek to generate and deliver a strong and clear vision for all our urban design, regeneration and masterplanning projects. This ensures a robust, sustainable yet flexible framework exists to facilitate long term delivery.  Our flexible solutions allow for evolution in response to changing conditions.  Our vision and innovation ensures strength of purpose in creating guiding principles which are established for onward stewardship in the evolution of the project.

Experience & Research
MBLA offer considerable experience in the field of urban design, masterplanning and regeneration gained since the formation of the practice.  Over a period of 20 year’s MBLA were appointed to masterplan the regeneration of Hulme in Manchester including the creation of the Guide to Development in Hulme, the principles of which were adopted as Manchester City Council Planning Guidance. Having designed and delivered successful working places where transformational change now impacts positively on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of existing and new residents, we have subsequently undertaken projects for many local authorities, urban regeneration companies, enterprise agencies, developers, health boards, universities and colleges, house builders, environmental agencies, community groups and landowners working across all sectors.

We constantly review our projects to apply lessons learnt and develop best practice on new projects moving forward. Our work has been informed by our involvement in research and policy formulation. The relationship between research and live projects is a key one within MBLA and ensures our work reflects best practice and contemporary thinking.

Collaborative Approach
Successful projects are the result of collaborative endeavour.  At MBLA, our collaborative approach underpins our extensive experience in facilitating community and stakeholder engagement and involvement in projects. To meet all project demands, we deploy techniques relevant to the specific project and design outcomes to create a shared vision.

We have an experienced network of regular collaborators who can provide specialist input, when required.  This collaborative ethos involves our client and delivery teams and ensures a holistic and comprehensive approach.

We utilise a range of analytical techniques, working with other specialists where necessary, to interrogate the project setting and context. This may include, amongst other things, study of;

  • history of a place (physical heritage, morphological structure, social history, collective memory)
  • socio-economic characteristics
  • market analysis
  • geo-technical, hydrological and services analysis
  • site accessibility and connectivity
  • policy framework to understand constraints and opportunities for development

Successful place making requires understanding of a locations essential sense of place – it’s ‘genius loci’. This may not be immediately apparent but this is an essential element that we seek to either discover and exploit or generate afresh.

Sustainable Places
Successful places are those that have a long active life and work because they are;

  • connected and accessible
  • robust and durable
  • flexible and adaptable
  • cherished and loved
  • engender a sense of ownership
  • easy to manage and maintain
  • have a mix of functions to extend their use across the day/week/year
  • good micro-climates (capture the sun, shelter from the prevailing weather)
  • minimising energy consumption and running costs
  • supporting ecology and bio-diversity.

Our approach is one which seeks to discover and carefully exploit the positive aspects of a place through planning and design and enhance these elements to create a vision which will sustain itself socially, economically and environmentally.

Range of Services;

  • masterplanning
  • development frameworks
  • design and planning briefs
  • design guidance
  • design codes
  • site appraisals
  • massing studies
  • parameter plans
  • character studies
  • feasibility studies
  • development concepts
  • development appraisals
  • implementation strategies
  • development audits
  • visual impact assessment
  • planning appeals / public enquiries
  • public and stakeholder engagement and consultation

Working with a range of established collaborators we can offer a comprehensive multi-disciplinary service where required.