Francis is a principal and head of the New Delhi studio. He is also chair of the urban design and town planning professions across the practice.
He trained as a geographer and town planner and heads our urbanism sector, focusing on urban development strategies and masterplans, creating building and public realm design opportunities for the rest of the practice. He believes urbanism requires a knowledge of city dynamics, embracing social, economic and political factors, as well as environmental drivers and urban design aesthetics, and that our interdisciplinary approach lends itself perfectly to this understanding of urban places and development.
Based in Manchester, Francis works on projects across the UK and globally, leading our urbanism teams in every major studio. The practice has an international portfolio of projects, ranging from sustainable urban neighbourhoods to economic masterplans for major cities and regions. He is also Chair of our New Delhi studio and his projects there include the masterplans of three districts in the new state capital of Naya Raipur, the Chennai Kanyakumari spatial framework and economic strategy for a 800km industrial corridor in the southeast of India, IRSDC – TOD masterplans for the rail stations for Indian Railway Stations Development Company, and a programme of masterplan and public realm interventions for the Pondicherry Smart City project.
Francis believes that the key contribution that urban designers and planners can make is in engaging all stakeholders, including residents and businesses, in a meaningful discussion about the future of their place – street, neighbourhood, town or city.
My training as a geographer: Everything there is to know – integrated through the medium of space. That, and my first job working for Manchester City Council as a planner in Hulme and Moss Side, learning to see the city through the experiences of others.
Our plans for the regeneration of York’s historic Castle Gateway area have taken a major step forwards, following the City of York Council’s decisions to grant full planning consent for two landmark projects.