Paul Murrain

Urban Design Consultant @ Paul Murrain Urban Design

Paul is an urban design practitioner and teacher with 30 years experience.

He is a former Senior Lecturer and Course Director at the Joint Centre for Urban Design in Oxford,

He worked practiced and lectured (University of Miami) in the USA from 1996-2000.

From May 2002-April 2005, he was Senior Design Director at HRH The Prince of Wales’ Foundation for the Built Environment. Whilst at the Prince’s Foundation, Paul was responsible for both the projects and the teaching programs. He continues to work with The Foundation as a network Practitioner and Senior Fellow. He also contributes to their teaching program.

Paul was appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Greenwich from 2007 to 2010 and an in 2016 he was invited to a similar post at the University of Stockholm.

He has collaborated with leading worldwide and US New Urbanists Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) for many years in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and the USA. In the UK he has served on DPZ Enquiry by Design teams at Tornagrain, Inverness

Paul has carried out many projects across the world including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Norway and the UK for a range of public and private sector clients. He has often been lead urban designer fronting the Enquiry by Design method of collaborative engagement.  Between 1995-1997 he played a major role along with local practices in Johannesburg, to redevelop and intensify a low-density suburb transforming it into ‘Melrose Arch’ With its traditional streets and fine grained mix of residential, retail, offices, it continues to be one of the most successful developments in South Africa.

Early in his career he spent 18 months in the Urban Design Unit at Milton Keynes to specifically challenge the principles of the urban form to integrate and restructure the isolated neighbourhoods and failing local centres.

In February 2004, back in the UK, Paul was lead Urban Designer exploring the potential of Harlow New Town to absorb a proportion of the London-Stansted-Cambridge growth corridor in the form of a sustainable urban extension of approximately 55,000 people. This project was recommended to proceed at judicial review of the Regional Spatial Strategy.

Since leaving the Prince’s Foundation he has also been retained by the client to work on Sherford, the masterplan for an urban extension to Plymouth for 5,500 dwellings and associated mixed use. This project saw pioneering collaboration with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and their ‘Greenprint’ Sustainability Assessment techniques.

Paul was a member of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Design Coding Advisory Panel. Prior to that he was asked to advise the office of the ODPM on matters related to New Urbanism and urban design codes and was invited to join the Deputy Prime Minister and his fact finding team in the USA in 2003.

He has carried out many consultancy commissions in Australia over the last 25 years, including leading major urban design work for complex inner city sites in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and undertaken visiting lectureships at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Paul is an original member of the Congress for the New Urbanism in the USA and a signatory to the New Urbanist Charter.

In 2008 he was appointed to the UK Government’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment  (CABE) Expert Panel on Strategic Urban Design and as a CABE Enabler.

Paul was recently appointed as lead urban design consultant and EbD lead to a multi disciplinary team lead by Savills for the Government initiative of Science Vale in South Oxfordshire. The project was in collaboration with the UK Dep’t of Communities and Local Government to develop a UK base for innovative science based industries,

IN 2015 he completed a Government funded project to re-design 6 high rise/deck access public housing estates in London to return them to the traditional morphology of Street, Block Plot and Type, common to all walkable mixed-use public places.

Currently two of his projects in the UK involve the redevelopment of two large disused airfields.

Amongst his writings, Paul is joint author of a book entitled “Responsive Environments: A Manual For Designers.” which sets out the design qualities necessary to produce a physical environment that is choice laden, interactive and essentially democratic for everyday users of the public realm of our towns and cities. Along with the other authors he recently received a lifetime achievement award from the UK Urban Design Group for the contribution this book made to the profession and the subject.

His more recent writing has been chapter contributions in the following publications.

The Neighbourhood Unit: The antithesis of sustainable urbanism. In, ‘Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond; Rethinking Cities For The Future’ Haas. T. (ed). Rizzoli. New York. 2012.

Landscape Urbanism: Supplement or Substitute. In ‘Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents’. Duany.A.M & Talen, E (eds) New Society Publishers, Canada 2013