Nick James

Senior Urban Designer

My approach starts from getting under the skin of a place's history, challenges and opportunities, and the people who call it home.”

I am a firm believer that ahead of great architecture, engaging landscapes and enthralling urbanism, it is people who make a place. Like when a tree falls in the woods, if a place, building or landscape doesn’t appeal to people, foster a sense of life, or encourage active use by those who inhabit it, does it make a sound and therefore is it successful urbanism?

This thought provoking, ideas driven and wholly people focussed approach to design has led to me recently joining Studio Egret West – a highly creative studio and collective of thinkers and designers who place the idea, the project and its people at centre stage.

Prior to joining the Studio I have worked on a range of community-led, residential and mixed-use projects, maintaining a strong focus on placemaking and community building. My approach to every project starts from a place of seeking to understand the place, getting under the skin of its history, challenges and opportunities, and the people who call it home. This deeper appreciation has allowed me to create site-specific design responses which seek to maximize the inherent potential and create an emotive and highly human connection to place. Most recently, I have led the visioning and masterplanning of SG1, Stevenage, working alongside an industry leading project team to create a transformative and highly aspirational vision for the future the town centre, while at all times striving to celebrate its New Town Heritage.

Aside from town centres, I have found great reward in reimagining the regeneration of a number of inner London communities, working closely with residents, stakeholders and Council Officers to collaboratively create strategic visions driven by local aspirations. In leading a wide range of people focussed, design-led community engagement, I have been able to appreciate its surprising and empowering ability to enrich the design process, build successful relationships and help drive positive change for the betterment of the places and people we work with.

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