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UDB: Who are we?

We are a Bristol Based integrated Masterplanning, Architecture and  Urban Design Service.  We design, deliver

and complete residential, mixed use and commercial masterplans for a diverse range of client types.


We can advise our clients on development design strategy as well as demonstrating the viability and quality of our proposals through the quality of our design and visual work.

Urban Design Box is a team of professionals from backgrounds in Architecture and Planning and strong experience in Urban Design. We are a practice member of the Urban Design Group a campaigning organisation which raises the standards of Urban Design.

Meet the Team...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith


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I have over 20 years experience designing and leading masterplanning and urban design projects from vision through to delivery; working on behalf of private and public sector clients including National House Builders, FTSE100 Companies, Local Government, Port Authorities, and Land Promotors and Developers. I am a member of the RIBA and am a Recognised Practitioner of the Urban Design Group, of which Urban Design Box is a Practice member. 


I enjoyed an early career within a large Architectural and multi-disciplinary practice with national coverage, becoming the Urban Design Director responsible for the South West. I set up Urban Design Box in 2015 with the ambition to provide design focussed masterplanning within a commercially astute context and with a highly personal client service. I have represented clients at Planning Appeal, providing Evidence on Design matters on both masterplanning and detailed design projects. 


I am a Design Review Panel Chair at the Design Commission for Wales; I also sit on 'The Design Review Panel' advising on Urban Design in particular. I am a visiting tutor at the Welsh School of Architecture.

John Armstrong

Associate Director

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I have worked in planning and design for over 20 years in a variety of locations including Merseyside, Leeds, Essex, London and now Bristol.


I began my professional career as a town planner before going back to college to study urban design and then moving into the private sector as an urban design practitioner.


I take a thoughtful and considered approach to design and particularly enjoy tackling sites that are heavily constrained or where design expectations are high.


My experience includes taking the lead on large detailed residential schemes within Garden Cities through to the management of large mixed-use masterplanning projects on behalf of landowners.


I am an Urban Design Group Recognised Practitioner.

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Our Office...

Based in the former North Bristol Baths swimming pool building, the layout of light, glass fronted offices surrounding a central social cafe/hub suits our way of working.

Why not pop in and see us for a coffee?

Find us at the Pool!


Angela Jacobs

Associate Director

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I have been working in Urban Design and Planning roles for over 10 years, after gaining a joint degree in Architecture and Planning.


Following university, I worked as a town planner before moving into urban design. After working for five years, I took a short break to travel around the world, joining Jonathan at Urban Design Box on my return.


I have worked on a wide range of residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. These projects have been varied in scale, and at all the stages of the design process, from initial site promotion to application submission and through to appeal.


I particularly enjoy working collaboratively with other members of the project team on challenging or unusual sites and evolving designs with the input of Council Officers and members of the public.

I am a chartered member of the RTPI and a Recognised Practitioner of the Urban Design Group.

Emily Ramsay

Urban Designer

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I joined Urban Design Box in 2021 as an urban designer, after spending the first couple of years of my career as a planner following university.


My experience has been primarily in residential projects ranging from small, bespoke developments to large urban extensions. I’ve worked with a range of clients on sites largely in the south-west, providing material for planning applications, carrying out site appraisals and liaising with Planning Officers to gain planning permissions. 


I’ve appreciated placemaking during many of these projects, as well as in previous years while studying to gain my Master of Planning degree and now I’m enjoying developing my design skills and putting them into practice as an urban designer. 


I am working towards becoming an Urban Design Group Recognised Practitioner.

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Bristol North



Chloe Garland


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I have extensive experience within environmental conservation and throughout my career, I have worked on several ecosystem management projects, with a focus on protecting endangered species. 
In previous roles, I have worked as a consultant ecologist and have designed and implemented a number of interpretation projects. 
At Urban Design Box, my role includes graphic design projects, finance, and team and project administration.


We work with a small number of design collaborators to provide a comprehensive and flexible masterplanning service including:

Pearce 3D specialise in architectural visualisations, producing visualisations for projects from residential one off developments to large scale developments.

Big Picture Design is a design consultancy that specialises in Masterplanning, Urban Design

Architecture, Feasibility and Surveys.

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