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Cardiff Council

City design and public art

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The way buildings and public spaces look and function can help make our capital city a nicer place to live, work and visit. 


A sustainable approach to the design of new developments can also reduce the impact the construction industry has on climate change, add value to the development and the local area and mean that new buildings are cheaper and more efficient to heat, light and manage.


It is part of our job as a council to make sure there are guidelines in place and that advice is provided about the design of new buildings and public spaces in order to help achieve this. 

Cardiff Public Realm Manual

The public realm refers to the space between buildings where people have free access, such as streets and public squares.

The Cardiff Public Realm Manual (PDF 3.56 MB) sets out guidance and design principles that should be taken into consideration during the design of public realm schemes in order to create high quality, inclusive streets and public spaces.

Guidance on Design and Access Statements (DAS) 

Most planning and listed building consent applications (with defined exceptions) will require a Design, and Access Statement to accompany the application. 

The DAS will show that good design objectives have been considered.  

Download and read the Design and Access Statement Guidance (PDF 323 KB)

Design Guides 

Design guides cover a range of topics, including household extensions, new housing layouts and tall buildings, and offer advice about design choices, case studies and other useful information. 

Liveable Design Guide​ 

The Liveable Design Guide (PDF 12.9 MB)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ sets out how new developments will help Cardiff become Europe’s most liveable capital city. It sets out the Council’s ambitions for placemaking, urban design and architecture, which will be applied to strategic development sites throughout the city.​

Cardiff Residential Design Guide 

The Cardiff Residential Design Guide (PDF 1.73 MB) offers guidelines for the design of residential developments in Cardiff. It also has case studies and describes the design process to be followed. 

Tall Buildings Design Guide 

The Tall Buildings Design Guide (PDF 1.73 MB) has advice on where tall buildings are located in the city and principles which must be applied to their design. The guide is focussed on the development of tall buildings in the city centre and bay areas of Cardiff.​

Infill Sites Design Guide 

The Infill Sites Design Guide (PDF 2.65 MB) provides guidance for infill development, which is the way previously developed small sites within the city are developed.


Shop Fronts and Signage Design Guidance  

The Shop Fronts and Signage Design Guidance (PDF 2.52 MB) provides guidance for when shop fronts or signs are replaced, changed or if new ones are put up. The document gives outlines on key issues, such as design, lighting, security and advertising.


Welsh Sustainable building standards 

The Welsh Assembly Governments' sustainable building standards document (PDF 245 KB) applies to all residential new build developments as well as non-residential development with either a floorspace of 1000m2 or more or a site with an area of 1 hectare or more.

Design Review

The internal Design Review service offers advice on the design quality of developments that have been submitted for pre-application advice or planning permission. Annual Reports summarising the schemes reviewed are available for:

Public art 

Cardiff is home to a collection of more than 200 public artworks that have developed with the city over the past 150 years and form part of the fabric of its public spaces. 

Find artwork 

The Cardiff Public Art Regist​er (PDF 5.31 MB)​  ​​has details of Cardiff's current collection of public art. You can download the document and learn more about each piece of art, including its title, artist, location and the year it was unveiled.



Protecting public art


There are three documents which set out ways of protecting Cardiff’s current artworks and helping to create opportunity for future pieces.



Contact us

For more information about any of the above documents and guidance, or if you have any questions about city design, please contact us.

Tel: 029 2087 3489
Strategic Planning
Cardiff Council
Room 250 County Hall
Atlantic Wharf
CF10 4UW

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