Headlines: May 9th, 2007

COUNCILLORS URGED TO BE PROMOTERS OF GOOD DESIGN NOT JUST REGULATORS

 

The government’s advisors on architecture have published new guidelines for planning decision makers in local government in an attempt to ensure that new housing developments are successful. “Actions for housing growth: Creating a legacy of great places” has been produced by CABE – the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment – and recommends 10 practical actions.

CABE says the idea of the advice is to unlock the potential in the housing growth programme for the creation of well-designed cities, towns and neighbourhoods that are sustainable, functional and distinctive as well as being attractive to investors and homebuyers.

The ten steps include realising the scale of an opportunity; providing clear leadership in decision-making bodies; the integration of design skills with all planning and development processes; collaboration with partner organisations and the involvement of local communities in the change process as well as putting sustainable development at the heart of all thinking and action. CABE also says that design quality is fundamental to successful housing growth and should be considered strategically from the outset. Good design, it says, ensure places work well in such things as giving pedestrians priority in road layouts and making public spaces safe and attractive.

Sarah Allan, enabling advisor at CABE, said, “What is needed is leadership and commitment. Perceptions have to shift. Councillors and board members of local delivery vehicles need to see themselves as promoters of good design, not just regulators.”

The new guidance also offers examples drawn from this country and Europe, showing what can be achieved. It recognises that different places will need different solutions but the Commission believes the practical advice can be used to find the best solution to challenges posed in each area.