It feels like Cardiff Council is in residence in my practice, more than the other way around.
It's interesting to sit with, talk with, and be amongst people for whom, the concerns of making things different (hopefully better) are so direct. Making things better is an admirable thing to wish for, but it so quickly becomes embroiled in the mud of monitoring and recording. Aesthetic concerns are of no importance. Aesthetics maybe come later in the form of 'spin'.
There is nothing less interesting than going to work in the council and do work that's gets mired that game of trying to change things. The most appropriate way think I can think of approaching the environment of the council is to think only in terms of qualities that I personally value. As soon as you start to get into 'what will these people think' or 'what will those people think' you've slipped into being involved in the political games.
I'm not such a cynic as to think that 'political games' are always a bad thing, that populism, and idealism are always wrong. But the last thing the council needs is another person in the building stirring up that pot.