"Postwar urban development in developing countries has often been charac-terized by insensitivity to cultural norms and associated typologies and ur-ban morphology. New "universal" styles, whether modertn or postmodern,infrastructural and urban models, are imposed without reference to thepre--existing matrix or its generative values. Urban design as the mostrelevant specialisation has not contributed much in theory or practice to theresolution of these contretemps. This failure seems fundamentally due to theabsence of an agreed role construct for urban design in developing countries,and the absence in established urban design programmes of culturally or-ientated procedural and substantive theories.Urban designers ought to interpret the spatial, built and settlement pat-tern-linked meanings in their designs, but have instead often produced across-cultural hiatus, since either the designer or the methods adopted areforeign to the local culture.The aim of the research reported in this paper was to develop and approachto urban design, philosophically rooted in a relativistic anthropologicalstance combining Rapoport's (1982) non-verbal communications methodand Daniel's (1984) Piercean influenced conception of the anthropologist asinterpretant, with Crane's and Wolf&Shimms's (1970) models of the urbandesign process, to arrive at a culturally responsive procedure, geared toconditions in developing countries.The approach was tested on the twin city of Mmabatho-Mafikeng, Bophutat-swana, South Africa, an almost ideal case since it:-Consisted of a planned city, comprising a new Capitol, two types ofhousing areas, and a popular-vernacular settlement, -Included a largely English-speaking local population,-Included several projects highlighting difficulties desiging for-cross-cultural meanings.The study concluded that:-The approach adopted successfully explained residents attitudes towardsexisting and projected contemporary schemes, and traditional unplannedsettlements; "foreign" expressive cues and structuring elements could beinexpensively identified.-Designers are unwise to attempt cultural cue transformations, oftenpossessing multiple meanings, without validating them through nativeinterpretants.-The urban design activity is defined for developing counbtry contexts, butseveral principles identified are also relevant for the first world.-The urban designer is faced with extra-ordinarily 'wicked' problems(Rittel 1972) , incorporating cultural heterogeneity, rapid urbanization,major infrastructural shortcomings, and totally inadequate financial andhuman resources. These render contemporary first world urban design con-cerns and proposals largely irrelevant.-Relevant historicial evidence in many developing coutries is limited forprecolonial times to oral tradition or archaeological evidence."