TransForm Places

The centre for better neighbourhoods

Our role: to provide an independent resource for local and national design excellence.

We provide expertise and work with all those who are designing, planning, building and managing new development. We provide opportunities to share best practice, develop skills, and access expertise and impartial advice. We link best practice at the scale of individual buildings with national policy aspirations, showing how layout at the neighbourhood scale can deliver sustainable development.


Our work is supported by parties interested in making better places. We are supported in our role by CABE, the Government’s Design Advisor, along with Local Authorities through Local Enterprise Partnerships. We also work with conscientious private businesses that see the value of good design and the benefits it can bring. To find out more about how you can support design quality, please get in touch here.

Our aims

  • To champion the delivery of high quality housing and neighbourhoods
  • To promote energy and resource efficient neighbourhoods and construction
  • To raise awareness of design issues and promote best practice
  • To enable you to transform your design ambitions into high quality developments

Meet the Team

Sue McGlynn BSc (Hons) Arch, Dip UD, MA

Sue McGlynn is Executive Director of TransForm Places and her particular interests are in urban design frameworks, masterplans and design codes to guide the quality of future development, methods for understanding local distinctiveness, and in movement, transport and legibility in cities. Sue has been a CABE Enabler for five years and is also an Enabler for Creating Excellence South West, and is an accredited BfL assessor. More recently, Sue was one of the presenters in CABE’s national series of Manual for Streets Masterclasses. She also has extensive experience of devising and delivering training programmes for professional audiences, including developers and house builders, architects, local authority planners, highway engineers, and councillors. Sue is a co-author of the seminal urban design text Responsive Environments: A Manual for Designers (1985). Sue is also an accredited BfL assessor.

Garry Hall BSc (hons), MSc

Garry Hall is an Executive Director of TransForm Places, joining the organisation from his previous role in Housing Policy Planning in Oxford. As an Urban Designer and Planner, Garry has experience in both the Private and Public sectors, working on a range of projects from health care premises through to major housing developments and exhibition centres. He also has experience in project delivery, working as a valuer and land buyer for Registered Social Landlord clients across the South East, and as a consultant, helped to develop cross-subsidy finance models for the delivery of affordable housing. Garry’s particular interests are the economics of delivery and in mechanisms that fix quality early in the design process, and he is an accredited BfL assessor.

Graham Smith

Graham is an urban designer, former lecturer at the Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University, and a CABE Enabler. He is a councillor at the CTC, the Nation Cyclists Organisation. He specialises in design, design advice, writing, appraisal and critique, training and lecturing, study seminars and study visits in Urban Design and movementUrban design operates in the public realm, the layout of buildings and the organisation of movement space, to create opportunities for all users. The possibility of sharing space in the public realm is contested continuously by notions of ‘might is right’ and the supposed benefits of motorised personal transport for the national good. In this context shared space, as a concept, must be carefully understood for its user’s benefits rather than being seen as a style solution.

Louise Thomas BA (Arch), Dip Arch, Dip UD, MA

Louise is an urban designer with some 17 years experience working for developers and local authorities, on retail, residential and commercial proposals throughout England. She is also the founding Director of the Urban Renaissance Institute – a Centre of Excellence for the South East region – at the University of Greenwich. She has delivered educational programmes for a range of development related professionals and councillors on urban design and architecture, affordable housing, and development processes. Since 2009 she has also devised the urban planning seminars at EcoBuild on making ‘greener’ cities. As lead masterplanner, she has worked on several projects in China, including the international competition-winning Tianjin Port expansion project for the Chinese Government – an environmentally sustainable development on 3,400ha of reclaimed land, now under construction.  Her consultancy experience extends to planning for economic development and quality of place, working with authorities on attracting and managing growth. Louise is also Joint Editor of Urban Design, the quarterly journal of the Urban Design Group, and a Steering Group member of the RTPI’s Urban Design Network.

Marta Bou Fernandez BA (Hons), MSc, MA Urban Design, PGDip

Marta Bou Fernandez has experience in both urban design and planning. She completed an MA in Urban Design with Distinction in addition to a Postgraduate Diploma in Spatial Planning at Oxford Brookes University in 2009. Prior to that, she completed an MSc in European Environmental and Spatial Planning from Oxford Brookes University and a Degree in Geography (urbanism specialisation) from the University of Barcelona in 2004. Marta has over 5 years experience in both the private and public sectors, working on a range of projects from small scale planning applications to urban extensions. She has recently been involved in the development of an Area Action Plan for a strategic development north east of Oxford. Marta’s current work includes part-time lecturing and delivery of seminars at Oxford Brookes University. Marta is particularly interested in the make up of cities and how their design and public realm can affect the way in which people live.

Nicole Strong B.Arch, M.L.Arch UCT, MA Urban Design, mSACLAP, mILASA

Nicole is an Urban Designer and Landscape Architect from Cape Town, South Africa. Her interests lie largely in Environmental Planning and urban renewal and the possibilities of exploring and incorporating sustainable systems into the design of settlements. She also has a keen interested in the concept of ecoliteracy and developing urban design solutions that help to address current challenges outside the classroom. Current work includes a proposed design manual, Eco-Responsive Environments. The publication is an updated version of Responsive Environments, Bentley et al, 1985 and builds on the same brand, but is significantly different as it deals with the emerging global challenges of rapid urbanisation and climate change.

Prachi Rampuria B.Arch. (Hons), MA in Urban Design

Prachi is a graduate architect and urban designer. Having done B.Arch from India and MA in Urban Design from Joint Centre for Urban Design (JCUD). Recent works include co-authoring the publication of a practical urban design manual ‘Eco-Responsive Environments’ with Emeritus professor Ian Bentley, Sue McGlynn and Soham De; to be published by Architectural Press, Elsevier, UK. Additionally, Prachi and developed architectural competition entries for ideas regarding the redevelopment of Rookgasreingner, Rotterdam, a derelict historic building important to the area’s identity; and UPGRADE 2010, concerning aging urban areas, places, buildings and natural environments that requires delicate interventions.

Soham De B.Arch. (Hons), MA in Urban Design

Soham De is an architect, artist and urban Designer with experience in India and UK. Soham has worked as part of a global team of climate change and sustainability services specialists, delivering project design document(PDD) for energy efficiency measures in buildings. He has also been involved in research and development for Green building Certification projects (LEED India). Additionally, Soham is working in the publication of a practical urban design manual ‘Eco-Responsive Environments’ with Ian Bentley, Sue McGlynn and Prachi Rampuria to be published by Architectural Press, UK in 2012.

Meet our Board

John Weir, Chairman

John Weir is an architect with over 30 years’ experience in the volume house building industry. He is currently deputy chairman of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

Dr Harry Rutter

Harry Rutter is a consultant in public health medicine. He is the director of the English National Obesity Observatory and an honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford. In addition to his work on obesity he has a broad interest in the relationships between all aspects of transport, sustainability, built environment and health, in particular the health impacts of walking and cycling.


We have worked with Design Council CABE since our launch in 2006. Our joint projects include the role out of the Building for Life Assessor training, helping CLG and CABE reach their goal of an embedded assessor in each Local Planning Authority. We also helped train people on the official Manual for Streets role out. Other projects include design support and enabling projects.

Architecture Centre Network is the national advocacy, support and development organisation for 20+ architecture and built environment centres in England and Northern Ireland, and we work closely with them to help develop the role of centres to deliver better places for people to live, work and invest.

Get in touch:

TransForm Places Ltd
1a The Avenue
MK45 1BP

+44 7970 363141
Recent projects:
  • Workshop 1, Nov 28th 2011
  • Manual for Streets training with OPUN
  • Avon / Nunn Mills Masterplanning
  • Priors Hall Design Coding
  • NBC Tall Building Strategy
  • Site Visit Club
  • Urban Design Fundamentals
  • MfS Walking Tour
  • Manual for Streets (Jan 11)
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