Achieving good design
The built environment has a strong impact on the way people feel about their local areas. New developments should provide communities with homes that are comfortable and well matched to their needs, and a public realm that is safe and inviting.
Modern design and architecture can provoke strong reactions from some people, but it also has the potential to transform the feel of an area.
Meeting regulatory environmental standards should not be about 'ticking boxes' but should be about driving forward innovative building approaches and technologies.
New communities should not be dominated by cars and roads, but must be places that are safe for children, pedestrians and cyclists.
Subtle design features continued through older housing into new housing can help both areas feel more visually connected.
High design standards will help ensure that all the new homes will be of good quality and will be part of a strategy to maintain the desirability of an area over the longer term.
See: Walker Riverside
- How can the highest standards of housing design be implemented?
- What is the best way to ensure that homes are able to adapt to people's changing needs over time?
- How can we design environments that are easily maintained and managed?
- How can crime and fear of crime be minimised through design?
- How can a neighbourhood be planned to create a desirable place where people will choose to live?
- How can we foster community interaction and neighbourliness through design?
In 2006, the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE) surveyed hundreds of residents who had moved on to 33 new housing developments. Many of the people that took part did not feel that their new environment was suited to their family's needs:
- 40 per cent thought that there was not enough public open space in the development
- 34 per cent thought the layout of their development was unsafe for children to walk, cycle or play in the streets
- 45 per cent said that they live in the kind of neighbourhood where people mostly go their own way rather than doing things together and trying to help each other
- Over half felt the internal spaces and layout of their home allowed them to adapt, convert and extend their homes, but a sizeable minority, 43 per cent did not agree.
New communities of the future have the potential to achieve higher levels of resident satisfaction than many places already built have done. Both the design of homes and that of the wider neighbourhood will need to be carefully considered. Local authorities in their role as place-shapers will need to ensure that place design meets the requirements of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and their own sustainable communities strategies, and will work with other stakeholders including urban planners, architects and developers to ensure the needs and aspirations of future and existing residents can be met.
- A Sense of Place: What residents think of their new homes, CABE (2007)
- Urban Design Guidance: Urban Design Frameworks, Development Briefs and Master Plans, Urban Design Group (2002)
- Commissioning a sustainable and well-designed city: A guide to competitive selection of architects and urban designers, GLA Architecture & Urbanism Unit, (2005)
- Design Coding in Practise: An Evaluation, CLG (2006)