We've included a glossary of terms below to explain any unfamiliar words and phrases you might find in the project consulattion documentation.


Accessibility refers to the design of building and environments to ensure it’s usable by all people, with or without disabilities. Examples of this might include providing level access for wheelchair users or providing special facilities to help people hearing or vision impairments.

Active frontage

Activity frontage is a building with activity at ground floor level. Active frontages provide lively and pleasant streets which feel safe to walk through. Overlooking or ‘eyes on the street’ also help with security. Buildings such as toilet blocks, substations or service buildings are examples of inactive frontages.

Amenity space

Space which generally enhances the character of an area. Within a building amenity spaces might include balconies, terraces or winter gardens (glazed balconies).

Ancillary / Servicing / Plant

Service areas within a building which support its overall operation. Some examples include: district heating rooms, substations, ventilation, as well as any further machinery and apparatus etc.

Aspect (In architecture)

The number of views out of the building or home in more than one direction (e.g. a home with views only south is considered ‘single’ aspect, whilst a home with views south and west is considered ‘dual’ or ‘double’ aspect).


Variety of life or eco systems found within an area. The biodiversity of an area can be encouraged through clever landscaping. Examples of biodiversity includes: bees, bats, birds, plant life etc.

Blue badge (parking)

Accessible parking provision close to a building or destination for blue badge permit holders.

Basement parking

Underground carparking

CADAP (Conservation and Design Advisory Panel – Tower Hamlets)

A panel providing ‘Independent and professional design and conservation advice to the council on development proposals and any other relevant issues within the borough’ (ref;


The overall look, feel and nature of a place.

Community engagement

The process of consulting with members of the public during the design process (e.g. community steering groups or public consultation exhibitions)

Conservation area

A designated area valued for its special historic or aesthetic character.


The wider area surrounding the site.

Cycle parking

Provision of cycle stands for a variety of users. This includes ‘long’ or ‘short’ stay cyclists.


The number of homes within an area of land


The front back and sides of the building. A façade is the overall organisation of external walls, windows and doors.

Green space

Areas of greenery such as parks, squares or courtyards.

Landscape architect

A type of architect dedicated to the design of outdoor spaces.

Listed building

Building considered of special heritage by Historic England

Local Authority

A statutory authority who are officially responsible for public services and facilities in an area (e.g. London Borough of Tower Hamlets)


The simple 3D form of a building considered at the early stages of its design. Massing studies focus on how a building sits within its wider context.

MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)

A pitch which can be used for multiple uses (e.g. 5-a-side football, basketball, games etc.)

North facing

An area of building which faces north. While a north facing room receives very consistent daylight, it usually receives little direct sunlight.


A vantage point or view


An area that is easy to move through and is well connected with its surrounding context.

Pedestrian priority

The design of streets to provide an enhanced experience for people walking. Priority is given to people walking over cars and other vehicles.

Planning Application

An application for a planning permission from a local authority.

Planning consultant

A professional with expert knowledge of the planning process.

Planning committee

An elected committee who meet to determine whether a planning application should be approved or rejected.

Planning / Case officer

A professional, usually appointed by a local authority to oversee and interrogate planning applications submitted to the local authority.


A raised area of external open space with one or more storeys of building below it.


Guidance produced by local councils or statutory authorities to guide the design progress and ensure very best practice.

Public realm / Public space

Space which is free and open to everyone.

Refuse strategy

The management strategy for dealing with day-to-day waste produced within a building.


The proportion or size of a proposal in relation to something else.


A inwards step in the massing of a building


A proposed design option

Servicing strategy

The proposed strategy for the servicing of a development. This can relate to the management of fire, deliveries, waste etc.

Site plan

A simple plan illustrating the red line boundary in relation to a site’s wider context

Space standards

Guidance on the size and internal layouts of buildings.

Sustainability (in construction)

Ensuring proposals are environmentally responsible and resource efficient, considering both the long and short term.

Townscape view

A view generated to illustrate how a proposal will appear from far away.


The nature of a building. Examples of use include:
Commercial: Office space
Community: Community buildings including: community centres, libraries, public facilities etc.
Education: Education buildings such as schools, colleges or universities
Resi: Residential homes
Retail: Any type of shops; including grocers, high street stores and supermarkets etc.

Mixed use

A range of complementary uses within the same scheme or proposal.

Unit mix

The variety of residential types provided – from one-person studios to family homes.

Urban Design

The design of towns, cities, streets and spaces


The design of signage aiding people with getting from A to B within a proposed scheme.

Further resources

Glossary (Bengali)
Our glossary of terms translated into Bengali.