The urban antidote to bigness [Beta Version]


These declarations define and govern the Massive Small Project. They outline the thinking, principles and behaviours needed to meet the future challenges of our towns and cities. They are mutually reinforcing: each point should not be considered in isolation to the others. They will evolve as new challenges arise.

Putting democracy back into urbanism

Governments alone cannot effectively tackle the increasingly complex problems of rapid urbanisation. We must mobilise people’s latent creativity, harnessing the collective power of many small ideas and actions to make a big difference. To release this potential, we must trust people to do the right thing. By adapting their environments to their needs, people form the building blocks of urban society – our neighbourhoods, districts and quarters.  Using simple rules, essential conditions and enabling leadership, governments can show the way.  We need to renegotiate the social contract between government and its citizens – between top-down and bottom-up systems, developing more democratic processes that will foster an open and collaborative relationship.


Managing in the present 

In an uncertain future, we must stop fixating on the visual form of the city and specific imposed end states. Rather, we need a clear vision of our goals. We will achieve these by focusing on catalysts and small beginnings, intervening in a precisely targeted way that will stimulate growth and change. Our approach to urban governance should involve rapid and continuous feedback loops. This feedback will inform, alter and accelerate our next actions. This is iterative and adaptive learning – one gains knowledge along the way that affects future decisions.

Limiting choice to create infinite possibilities

We must define clear and simple boundaries within which people are free to organise and improvise. This means providing the enabling conditions within which endless potentials emerge. Structured choices enable the growth of highly responsive environments and provide a place’s inhabitants with a full progression in life. Our top-down urban planning, design and delivery systems must evolve to offer a common platform with an equitable framework of choices – design options, procurement routes and entry levels to the system – for the individual, collective or institutional builder. We advocate a range of defaults and catalysts for urban change to help this process.


Small changes make a big difference

We must rediscover the process of urban evolution, harnessing the collective power of people and unleashing the potential of billions of bottom-up actions. We do not need to start again – we just need to begin balancing the roles and responsibilities of all people,  building on their strengths. In some instances this means a far greater involvement by governments. In others cases it means some simplification and streamlining to allow people to take greater responsibility in the system. Above all this must never justify unbridled laissez-faire approaches and unprincipled deregulation.


Smart citizens make smart cities

 Data and technology should augment human intelligence, not seek to replace it. We must trust intuitive wisdom, avoiding the twin traps of reductionism and determinism. We must see the urban system as a network of interrelated spectrums, not polarities. We must recognise the city as a constantly changing organism, not a mechanistic model capable of highly processed control. Rather than seeking reassuring ideologies and absolutes, we should rely on collective intelligence to find our ‘timeless way of building’.


From command-and-control to co-creation 

We must challenge and reform the rigid command-and-control systems that inhibit people’s ability to adapt their place to their needs. This depends on new forms of leadership that can work in the interface between top-down and bottom-up systems. A new generation of civic leaders and professionals must see their responsibility as agents of urban change, building social capital and promoting self-organisation at every opportunity. In the public sphere, responsibility and accountability must be devolved to the lowest levels – fundamentally changing the scope and purpose of practice from being reactive controllers to becoming co-creative enablers.


Responsibility to your charge

True professionalism and civic leadership must be built on trust and commitment to do the right thing.  Like any calling that fundamentally affects the lives of others, any member of the urban professions, any elected official and anyone in a position of authority in the city must be bound by commonly accepted behaviours. In time this should be defined by the collective creation of code of ethics equivalent to the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath or its Declaration of Geneva. In signing up to these principles, they accept their duty and responsibility to the present and future well-being of the inhabitants of the city they have charge over.


Rational discourse based on shared understanding

 We advocate a common language for collaborative knowledge sharing and joint action by all people in the system. This provides a basis for cross-sectoral collaboration between all the urban professions and academia; between civic leaders and their agencies; and between active citizens and interest groups. Using this shared language, we promote openness, shared working and joint ownership of ideas and solutions across the sectors.



Towards urban viability and resilience 

We understand that the total human habitat exists as a dependent sub-system of the environment. It can not be isolated from the natural habitat. Accordingly we must build the foundations for viable urban life and a responsible urban society that takes us to a point where we are no longer destabilising this encompassing system. In doing so, we must not be caught up in a narrow, prohibitive top-down view of the problem but rather we must see the relationship between urban interventions and the global system. Enabling people to control their own habitat is an essential part of building the resilience that will be needed as we enter a period where global issues are increasingly felt locally.


Operating in the sweet spot of creativity

We must never allow our thinking to freeze into a static doctrine. No segmented group or individual can possess the complete view needed for working with complexity. Accordingly our thinking is structured to avoid the danger of group-think and the myth of the single hero. Our theory is compatible with and fosters diversity, complexity and change, makes use of conflict and paradox constructively, and embeds self-analysis and correction at its very core by always being open to challenge. It freely treads the fine line between chaos and order – the place where innovation flourishes and we leverage the power of complex systems. Our theory embraces feedback from different sources, integrating new perspectives, enhancing itself over time. It never parts from the reality of the city and people’s experience of it. The focus is always praxis: where theory meets practice.

Endorsed to date by the following leading influencers and thought leaders:
Rob Adams, Monica Albonico, Christopher Alexander, Cany Ash, Mike Batty, Alan Baxter, Kelvin Campbell, Rob Cowan, Rex Curry, Arunava Dasgupta, Julio Davila, Dave Dewar, Dan Dubowitz, Toni Griffin, John Habraken, Nabeel Hamdi, Inderpaul Johar, Julia King, Michael Mehaffy, Amira Osman, Alessandra Orofino, Klaus Overmeyer, Julio Cesar Perez-Hernandez, Priya Prakash, Himanshu Parikh, Karl-Henrik Robert, Jason Roberts, Kristien Ring,  Judith Rodin,  Saskia Sassen, Barbara Southworth, Matthew Taylor, Jeremy Till, John FC Turner, Vanessa Watson (with others to follow)
  1. This constitution is the beta version based on the original idea from Andrew Campbell. It is offered for challenge, comment and commitment.
  2. Leading figures who subscribe to these principles, and who have actively promoted Massive Small (in full or part) were asked to endorse the constitution by putting their names to it.
  3. The constitution will be published online to galvanise support from the widest possible group. The names of all those who further endorse the principles will be listed on the Massive Small website




Simon Cohen
Branding consultant & designer Simon Inc Ltd United Kingdom
Tom Bromet
Architect Donald Insall Associates United Kingdom
Akshat Aggarwal
Student GGSIPU, delhi, india India
Mallory Baches
urban designer The Civic Hub United States
David Contreras
UX Designer AKQA United Kingdom
Geoffrey Bickford
Urbanist South African Cities Network South Africa
Ingrid Jones
Housewife None United States
Sarah Jones-Morris
Landscape Architect Urban Designer Street Furniture Designer Landsmith Associates United Kingdom
ahmed moulay
penture lofkf Algeria
Peter Troxler
Research Professor Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Netherlands
Klint Mullis
City/Urban Planner Charlotte Center City Partners United States
Robert Jan Visser
Entrepreneurial Citizen Netherlands
Pranav Shankar
Student National Association of Students of Architecture, India India
[email protected]
[email protected]
Thieu Besselink
Educator, Social Innovator The Learning Lab Netherlands
Mathieu Proctor
Urban Designer Perkins + Will United Kingdom
Jean-Michel Gillet
architect groupyus Switzerland
Martin Hawley
Building Information Modelling and Management (BIMM) BIMM-UK United Kingdom
Heather Parker
consultant EY South Africa
Benjamin Hooper
Co-Founder OverHear United Kingdom
N/A N/A Pakistan
William Thompson
Architect Freelancer United Kingdom
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Efthimis Kapsalis
Junior researcher University of Thessaly Greece
Fahd Bangash
Startups United States
Clément DELORT
Education Ifac France
Ricardo Mateus
Researcher/Consultant Best Option Portugal
Jonathan Price
Architect Self-Employed United Kingdom
Stephen Goldsmith
Director Center for the Living City United States
Tracey Clayton
parent Highstylife Australia
Irene Sansalvadore Stewart
Masters Student Wits University South Africa
Deandra Farinha
Student University of Witwatersrand South Africa
Emi Lorna
research analyst realmassive United States
Emi Lorna
research analyst realmassive United States
Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann
Senior Researcher Creative Climate Cities Germany
Miguel Pinto
Architect Urban Creative Studio South Africa
Lee-Rae Rodwell
Entrepreneur Organicize Me United Kingdom
Stephen Lantin
Student UC Santa Barbara United States
Guglielmo Miccolupi
Designer Commando Jugendstil United Kingdom
Manu Pathak
Student CEPT University India
Sophie Eftimion
Urbanist, Researcher UPVD France
Daniel Knobelsdorf
Chief Opportunities Officer The Hunting Party Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Marvin Barrios
Operations climate change organisation United States
Arina Cazan
Student Universität Stuttgart Germany
Arina Cazan
Student Universität Stuttgart Germany
Ian Thompson
Consultant (Public engagement) Dialogue by Design United Kingdom
Guillermo Palacios
Residential Developer Consortium Desarrollos Mexico
Sebastian Arrese
Entrepreneur Morelia S.A.C. Peru
sampath ramanujan
Police Service Government of India United States
sampath ramanujan
Police Service Government of India United States
Fred Gold
Urban Designer Independant United Kingdom
Mark Lawrence on behalf of Wulvern Housing
Mark Lawrence on behalf of
Pocholo Abola
Employee Shang Properties Inc. Philippines
Matthew Rowlands
Specialist Deloitte United Kingdom
Sharon Steuer
Artist and Author Cultural Space Coalition United States
designer __ United Kingdom
Richard Bower
Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design University of Central Lancashire United Kingdom
Vanessa Dunlap
Independent None United States
Deidrehannah Nicely
Artist, permaculture designer Forest Queen Designs United States
Gustavo Dalla Costa
Video Editor Pelotas University Brazil
alyss thomas
psychotherapist, lecturer and writer none United Kingdom
Ashley Haulkory
HRIS Consultant CGI France
Naomi Spier
architect - Israel
Zane Prodahl
Student / Food Strategy Coordinator Vancouver Island University / VIU Campus Food Movement Canada
Shelby Erin
Teacher Satree Phuket Thailand
Larry R
Entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist and The Society Project United States
Christian Tilleray
Deputy CEO Vital Regeneration United Kingdom
Pierre Oskam
Landscape Architect TU Delft Netherlands
Andrew Lamb
Consultant World Bank, Field Ready, WFEO United Kingdom
Luke Tozer
Architect Pitman Tozer Architects Ltd United Kingdom
Neil Barker
Architect emBarkArchitecture United Kingdom
Lucinda Hartley
Urbanist CoDesign Studio Australia
James Campbell
Programmer MIP Holdings South Africa
Sulabh Goel
Urban Designer Delhi Urban Art Commission India
Matthias Bauer
Associate Director - Urban Design and Planning ATKINS China
Ilham Zbadi
Civil Engineer, Smart Cities practitioner EPFL France
Ben Haber
Associate On Purpose United Kingdom
Carol Coombes
Senior Partner Cracking Leadership United Kingdom
kate stewart
Change Activist We Make Places United Kingdom
Mahroof M
Urban Planner CEPT University India
Tony Hutchinson
Housing Project Manager and Consultant Tony Hutchinson and Co Ltd United Kingdom
Katie Wallace
Place Communications CoDesign Studio Australia
Melissa Hellwig
Sustainist Cyprea Sustainability Australia
Bernard Oberholzer
Landscape Architect BOLA South Africa
christiaan weiler
architect cab42 architecture strategy and design France
Jana Wisniewski
Editor e-motionArtspace Austria
Hannes Couvreur
Local Wisdom Cultivator Superbly Human Belgium
Daniel Rowling
Consultant ThunderMaps United Kingdom
Andy Williamson
Innovator for new democracies Democratise United Kingdom
Zuzana Tabackova
Architect SKRZ Slovakia
Jon Irwin
Event Organiser Freelancer United Kingdom
Isobel Knapp
Urban Designer and Transport Planner Alan Baxter Limited United Kingdom
Peter Wood
Academic Researcher The Open University United Kingdom
Gerhard Hitge
Transportation Planner ELUTI French Southern Territories
Andrew Boraine
Partnership practitioner Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) South Africa
Priya Prakash
Founder Design For Social Change United Kingdom
Bert Estercam
Sales Representative Imtech Traffic & Infra Belgium
Banashree Banerjee
Urban Planner Independent Consultant India
Jhono Bennett
Arcitectural Urbanist 1to1 - Agency of Engagement South Africa
Pieter Herthogs
Design for Change researcher Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium
Klaus Overmeyer
Urban planner and researcher, Landscape architect and gardener, Founder Urban Catalyst studio Urban Catalyst studio/ Bergische University Wuppertal Germany
nicholas gibbons
Planner private United Kingdom
Mukul Ray
student School of Architecture & Planning, KIIT University,Bhubaneswar,Odisha,India India
Jodi Allemeier
Partnership practioner Economic Development Partnership South Africa
Sam Shahin
Urban Designer University of Westminster Canada
Samantha Loy-Fripp
Urban Planner, designer and strategist Smallworld Urbanism United Kingdom
Beatriz Mella
PhD (c) in Urban and Transport Planning UCL Chile
Ramón Garachana
Urban Planner & Manager UPGEA SL Spain
Neha Kandwal
student University College London United Kingdom
Harshal Telrandhe
Student Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology,Bhopal India
architect a.plan Romania
Kay Pallaris
Urban Analyst & Planner Mapping Futures United Kingdom
Holly Weir
Strategic policy planner Royal Greenwich United Kingdom
Riette Oosthuizen
Urban Planner HTA Design LLP United Kingdom
Catalina Justiniano
Executive Director Fundacion Junto al Barrio Chile
Swati Janu
Architect mHS CITY LAB India
Meriam Salama
Architect The Henry Project Australia
Michael Crily
Urban Designer Studio UrbanArea llp United Kingdom
Denize LeDeatte
MD PeachMangoMaverick United Kingdom
Barry Shaw
Architect and urban design consultant Barry Shaw Associates United Kingdom
Katie Kershaw
Urban designer Node Urban Design United Kingdom
Maurizio Carta
Full Professor of Urbanism and Regional Planning University of Palermo, Department of Architecture Italy
Daniel Fawcett
Planner - United Kingdom
Rachel Godfrey
Chartered Town Planner Quod United Kingdom
Kenneth McLeod
Retired Community Australia
Peter Carty
Real Estate Lawyer JLL (HSBC Account) United States
Chiel Reemer
Writer The Noosphere 😉 Netherlands
Al Eggeling
Town Planner Indigo Planning United Kingdom
Dijana Cizmadija
Programme Assistant City of Rijeka Croatia
Szymon Nogalski
urban designer Urban Initiatives Studio United Kingdom
David Syme
Urban Designer Urban Initiatives Studio United Kingdom
John Dales
Transport Planner + Street Designer Urban Movement United Kingdom
Sean Furey
Water & Sanitation Specialist Skat Consulting Ltd. Switzerland
Stephen Gleave
Urban Designer and Town Planner Gleave23 United Kingdom
Ben Derbyshire
Architect HTA Design LLP United Kingdom
Miriam Fitzpatrick
Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design UCD & WIT Ireland
Brian Goodey
Urban Landscape Designer Joint Centre for Urban Design Oxford Brookes University United Kingdom
Richard Barwick
Construction and Regeneration Professional Regeneration UK United Kingdom
Tere Garcia Alcaraz
Architect Archithoughts Spain
Amy Burbidge
Urban Designer North Northants Joint Planning Unit United Kingdom
Soheil Sabri
Researcher The University of Melbourne Australia
Paul Britton
Development specialist Homes and communities agency United Kingdom
Graeme Moore
Town Planner / Urban Designer Wakefield Metropolitan District Council United Kingdom
Steven Boxall
Regeneraton and Sustainable Growth Consultant Regeneration X United Kingdom
ruth morrow
architect/educator/inventor QUB United Kingdom
Bruno Postle
Homemaker/Coder/Engineer Homemaker United Kingdom
Martin Ellerby
Property Developer PlaceFirst United Kingdom
Margie Caust
urban strategist urban collaboration Australia
Jonathan Bretherton
CEO Bretherton Projects United Kingdom
Guido Wolf
FT Senior Hogh School Teacher Physics and Math Freie Waldorfschule Hannover-Maschsee Germany
Kate Lloyd
Head of Housing Partnerships and Capital Portfolio Office London Borough of Brent United Kingdom
Dr Dellé Odeleye
Lecturer Anglia Ruskin University United Kingdom
John Dryden
Team Leader Public Realm Design London Borough of Brent United Kingdom
Honoré van Rijswijk
Urbanist WWW.FRONTWORK.CO.UK United Kingdom
Tim Pope
Consultant in personal capacity United Kingdom
Branka Dimitrijevic
Professor of Architecture University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
Viya Bay
Chief creative officer Museum Russian Federation
George Wade
Architect ALL Design United Kingdom
David Adamson
Research and Development Manager Compass Housing Australia
Jae Mather
Sustainability Director Carbon Free Group United Kingdom
Deborah Nagan
landscape architect (uncommon) & CABE United Kingdom
Jorge Sainz de Aja Curbelo
Architect - Urban designer SQW China Group Spain
Michael Stott
Director Planning + Design FOTENN Canada
Rebecca Bird
Area Manager City Car Club United Kingdom
Mike Brook
Chairman Capital Enterprise United Kingdom
Azar Djamali
Architect Urban Designer Azar Djamali Architect Ltd United Kingdom
Konstantinos Kalogeropoulos
Urban Planner-Designer Foster + Partners United Kingdom
Matthew Hardy
Senior Lecturer Prince's Foundation United Kingdom
Urban designer City of Cape Town South Africa
David Roden
Architect David Roden Architects United Kingdom
Neil Humphrey
Transport Consultant NCH TRANSPORT United Kingdom
Dennis Rodwell
Architect-Planner Consultant in Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Urban Development United Kingdom
Darren Price
architecture/planning/urban stuff (and politics) Place ART (and The Labour Party) United Kingdom
Philip Cave
Landscape Architect and Urban Designer Philip Cave Associates United Kingdom
Paul Longshaw
Programmes Director Salford City Council United Kingdom
Gabriel Greeff
Architect, Urban Designer G P Greeff Associates, Architects and Urban Designers South Africa
Tony Burton
Free range n/a United Kingdom
John Habraken
sophie morley
Architect ASF-UK United Kingdom
Divya Chopra
Architect and Urban Designer Self employed India
Gill Thompson
urban designer, planner, project manager Brighton & Hove City Council United Kingdom
teodoro georgiadis
senior scientist Italian national Research Council Italy
Rihards Sobols
Urban Designer LDA Design United Kingdom
Gillian Easson
Founder Creative Dundee United Kingdom
Sharon Lewis
Urbanist Western Cape Economic Development Partnership South Africa
John Earnshaw
Freelance Housing, Regeneration & Crime Reduction Consultant Lansdown Housing Consultancy United Kingdom
Gill Cullinan
Urban planner MCA Urban and Environmental Planners South Africa
Matt Cullinan
Urban Planner MCA Urban and Environmental Planners South Africa
Lia Ghilardi
Managing Director Noema Culture and Place Mapping United Kingdom
Matthew Riley
Architectural Designer SLOW United Kingdom
Matthias Wunderlich
Director Urban Initiatives Studio United Kingdom
Elena Petrovska
Healthcare architect Ministry of Health Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of
Adam Langford
Planner NAIPTA United States
Kerry Reed
Landscape Designer University of South Australia Australia
Social Entrepreneur Unregistered United Kingdom
Aleksandra Krstikj
professor of urbanism and conservation Tecnologico de Monterrey Mexico
Claudio Sarmiento-Casas
Researcher University of Toronto Mexico
Martha Isaacs
Intern The Glass-House Community Led Design United States
mohit singla
architect student COA India
Rob Cowan
Writer Urban Design Skills United Kingdom
Carles Vinardell
Architect and Associated Professor UPC-PA-ETSAB Spain
Michela Ventin
Researcher University of Trento Italy
Shruti Shankar
Urban Designer Urban Design Collective United States
Delia Murguia
Architect Massive Small Mexico
Alia Fattouh
Co-Founder TandemWorks Lebanon
Nehaa Bhavaraju
Architect Massive Small India
Bruce Donnelly
Urban planner Office of Bruce F. Donnelly United States
Ernandy Vasconcelos
Post-doctoral researcher Independent Researcher Brazil
Peggy Fowler
Urban and Regional Planner Habitat for Humanity United States
Francisco Bustamante
Architect fabrica urbana Chile
Vidhya Mohankumar
Architect & Urban Designer Urban Design Collective India
Julian Dobson
writer and researcher Urban Pollinators Ltd United Kingdom
graham ford
architect graham ford architects United Kingdom
Andrew Frey
Executive Director Townhouse Center United States
Oliver Davey
Traffic Engineer Urban Movement United Kingdom
Doug Kelbaugh
professor, architect, urban planner, author Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Design, U of Michigan United States
Simon Gusah
Urban Development Planner Urban Base Consulting Nigeria
Beth Kay
Architect/ Local Government LB Haringey United Kingdom
Samir Shaikh
Architect & Urban Designer Orga Architecture India
david bullpitt
urban strategy blocurban Australia
Graham Marshall
'Living' Environment Expert Prosocial Place United Kingdom
Puneet Patel
Architect YASHDAM India
Cecilia Hernandez
Urban Planner Massive Small United States
Stephen Lorimer
Network Coordinator Sustainable Society Network+ United Kingdom
Scott Adams
Urban Design HTA Design United Kingdom
Poul Tvermoes
Town Planner NA Australia
Suzette Jackson
Designer Innate Ecology Australia
Ming Cheng
Architect / Urbanist Burrell Foley Fischer LLP United Kingdom
Darshana Chauhan
Urban Designer, Architect London Borough of Hackney United Kingdom
Mark Lever
Assistant Transport Planner JMP Consultants Ltd United Kingdom
Hank Dittmar
Town planner and Urban Deaigner Hank Dittmar Associates United Kingdom
Hugo Nowell
Urban Designer Urban Initiatives Studio Ltd United Kingdom
Ian Hingley
Landscape architecture & urban design Urban Movement Limited United Kingdom
David Chapman
Architect/ Planner Lulea University of Technology Sweden
Martin O'Rourke
Heritage Consultant Martin O'Rourke Conservation Regeneration United Kingdom
Jaime Parsons
Urban Designer Cardinia Shire Council Australia
Katerina Karaga
Urban planner and Architect Massive Small United Kingdom
Maria-Elena Oprescu
architectural assistant Massive Small United Kingdom
Annie Eby
United States
Giuseppe Parità
Project Coordinator Massive Small Italy
Sam Golding
Urban Designer Sam Golding Design United Kingdom
Paola Giuseppetti
Project Co-ordinator Massive Small Italy
Chris McCormick
Entrepreneur, Process / Project Manager Splint AS Norway
Lucinda Hartley
Kristin Sjoholm
sonia raetchi
Gabor Sooki-Toth
Daniel Hill
Place Partners
Rick Robinson
Rex Curry
Urban Planner ReidCurry United States
Andrew Campbell
Operations Strategist United Kingdom
Barbara Southworth
urban designer [email protected] South Africa
Rowan Mackay
Usman Rasheed
Rob Cowan
Kelvin Campbell