That will be among the questions posed at the first of a new lecture series next week organised by Cheshire Society of Architects.
The event on 21 March at Chester University launches a series of eight monthly events covering a range of design and planning related topics.
The event series will feature presentations from eight of the UK's leading architects and planners. They include professionals with direct experience of working in historic cities such as Bath, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
They will come together with local businessmen, civic leaders, politicians, lobby groups and others to explore what constitutes good design in historic cities. The event will also feature open discussions, a drinks reception and networking.
"The timing of this important event coincides perfectly with the ongoing One City Plan debate," said organiser and local architect, Andy Foster. "It promises to be a lively debate around the contentious question of what constitutes good design. I've no doubt that there are some recent developments that will come under scrutiny."
The speaker at the first lecture will be Eric Parry, founder of Eric Parry Architects, which gained a national reputation for its cultural and commercial projects developed within the context of historic places. These include the recent restoration and renewal of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square and a significant new wing for the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath. For Eric Parry, buildings are a vital part of their setting, enhancing people's perception of their environment and their involvement in it.
At this first event of the series Cheshire West & Chester Council will provide details on the launch of a Local Design Panel whose aim will be to raise the bar with regard to the quality of the built environment across the borough.
The university's Binks Building will host the first event. Nearly half of the 300 places have been filled.
- Further details and registration for the first event can be found online at www.csaparry.eventbrite.co.uk or alternatively contact the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a £5 charge on the night.