It concluded that investment in quality design leads to higher profits for owners and productivity gains for occupiers. Social and environmental benefits were also identified.
"This is one of the very first pieces of research of this nature in this country," said project director Matthew Carmona of the Bartlett School, who described the results as "fairly conclusive".
Researchers looked at six developments around the country. "The three best-designed schemes – Castle Wharf in Nottingham, Brindleyplace in Birmingham and Barbirolli Square in Manchester – are all performing at the very top of their markets," said Carmona.
CABE chairman Sir Stuart Lipton said the report marked the start of a concerted drive by CABE to to convince clients to invest in design.
A report based on the research, The Value of Urban Design, will be launched at the government's Building For The Future conference next Tuesday.