Video: Why neighbourhood design quality matters

The crucial role that design plays in the delivery of new homes and neighbourhoods has been considered in a newly released animation that explores some of the ways in which the design quality of new development can be improved.

The video is based on a major 2020 research project by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence called, Delivering design value: the housing design quality conundrum, that found the design quality of new homes and neighbourhoods to be stubbornly low.

The report makes 12 recommendations to improve the planning and design of new places. These are:

  1. Housing and neighbourhood design principles should be regulated by the four UK governments in ‘design value standards’.
  2. Creating well-designed places should be a core national planning objective in each of the four nations.
  3. Volume housebuilders should be held to account on design matters.
  4. The four UK governments should encourage and support a more diverse housebuilding industry.
  5. Housing land allocations should be based on sustainable development principles and prioritise brownfield development.
  6. Design governance leadership should be championed in local authorities.
  7. Local plans should be more place-based and outcome-focused.
  8. Masterplans should be produced and enforced for larger housing sites.
  9. Genuine community engagement should be undertaken early in the planning and design process where it can have the most influence.
  10. Design and construction procurement decisions should be more design driven.
  11. Post occupancy analysis and development monitoring should be used much more widely.
  12. The four governments should provide more direct funding for design governance, especially at the local level.

Researcher Dr James White said: “The Scottish Government kindly sponsored the production of the animation. It is free to use. Our hope is that the animation can be used as a training or education tool by local authorities, local community councils and other stakeholders that are engaged in the planning, design and development of new homes and passionate about challenging the status quo on the journey to net-zero neighbourhoods.”

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