Spatial Design

Other Names: Space Making, Architectural Design, Urban Design, Space Planning, Service Design, UX Design, Interior Design
An inclusive framing of a collective built environment design approach to practice.
Note: There is an important distinction made in this description between the Profession; a legal designation that protects the public and members of a ‘profession’ and the Discipline; the skills, experience, techniques of an area of practice.

Scales of Spatial Design, based on work with ASF-UK and others (Image; Bennett)


Spatial Design is the framing of an emerging cross-discipline of design that brings together traditional Built Environment design specialisations through collective actions, methods and approaches to space-making, neighbourhood building and general structural making.

Spatial Design is not a professional designation (yet), but rather an inclusive conceptual framing of communicative, visual, and co-productive practices in the built environment.

The disciplinary aspects of Spatial Design typically includes the disciplines of architecture, urban, landscape, planning, construction, interior and service design, as well other non-professionalised space-making practices such as public art, grass-roots building and making.

Examples of those who work through Spatial Design practice approaches

South African

Urban Works: Architecture & Urbanism


1to1 – Agency of Engagement

Urbanists for Equity

Counter Space Studio


Cluster – Cairo

Think Public

Jan Gehl

Spatial Narratives

The Rebuild Foundation

Quick Reads

South African

Ubuntu Design Group Story – Wandile Mthiyane

South African Cities Future Documentary

Knowledge Imperatives for Southern Urbanisms – Edgar Pieterse


Spatial Design Course – KADK

About Spatial Agency – Spatial Agency

Spatial Design Practice Training – UAL

Design Stories – Spatial Narratives


South African

Landman, K. (2016) ‘The transformation of public space in South Africa and the role of urban design’, Urban Design International. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., 21(1), pp. 78–92. doi: 10.1057/udi.2015.24.rticiapate

Farber, L. et al. (2008) Representation & Spacial Practices in Urban South Africa — VIAD. Edited by Leora Faber. Johannesburg: Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD).

Keeton, R. and Nijhuis, S. (2019) ‘International Planning Studies Spatial challenges in contemporary African New Towns and potentials for alternative planning strategies Spatial challenges in contemporary African New Towns and potentials for alternative planning strategies’. doi: 10.1080/13563475.2019.1660625.


Frediani, A. A. (2016) ‘Re-imagining Participatory Design: Reflecting on the ASF-UK Change by Design Methodology’, MIT: Design Issues, 32(3). doi: 10.1162/DESI.

Anderson, N. M. (2014) ‘Public interest design as praxis’, Journal of Architectural Education, 68(1), pp. 16–27. doi: 10.1080/10464883.2014.864896.

Hamdi, N. (2013) Small change: About the art of practice and the limits of planning in cities, Small Change: About the Art of Practice and the Limits of Planning in Cities. London ; Sterling, Va: Earthscan. doi: 10.4324/9781849772532.

Awan, N., Schneider, T. and Till, J. (2011) Spatial Agency: other ways of doing architecture, Other Ways of Doing Architecture. Edited by N. Awan, Tatjana Schneider, and J. Till. Abbingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

JSD_ZA Contributions on Spatial Design

“Ultimately it (spatial design), can be seen as ‘the glue that joins traditional built environment disciplines together with the people they are designed to serve’. ”

Spatial Narratives