Press archive 2020
Following from the publication A Housing Design Audit for England and the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission report Living with Beauty, Place Alliance coordinated a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, to argue the case for A Design Quality Unit for England. The text of the letter can be found here.
Get behind the call by forwarding the letter to your own MP, or re-tweeting the blog.
As the letter suggests, this is a once in a generation opportunity for the Government to show real leadership and ambition on design quality by setting up a body to monitor, challenge and inspire us on design quality, as part of a long-term and sustained national investment in place.
Philip Box, policy and project coordinator at UKGBC, commenting at the launch of the report, said:
“This report notes some good examples of industry leaders going beyond the minimum, on energy efficiency, low carbon energy and biodiversity. However, it shows overwhelmingly that business as usual is not currently good enough to address the challenges we face. Our current minimum standards are inadequate, and we need to be more ambitious if we are to meet our legal decarbonisation targets.”
The Housing Design Audit report concludes that some house builders – especially the larger ones – are simply choosing not to build better-quality housing in England.
And even worse, the report found some evidence that some were using the planning appeals process to force through schemes with the lowest design quality.
It is disappointing that this housing audit only happened at all because the three co-authors were able to assemble partners to work on a voluntary basis (as detailed on page 18 of the report), rather than it being core funded by England’s dedicated housing agency.
The fact that they have produced such a robust, fact-filled, easy-to-read report make it all the more commendable. Read more →
Inspired by the late philosopher Roger Scruton, the government talks about beauty, but promotes ugly development. If they’re serious about good design, they need a theory that’s not skin-deep. The Bartlett School of Planning has meanwhile reported that most new housing is “just not meeting the basic requirements for civilised living”. New developments, it says, lack amenities such as green space, playgrounds and access to shops. Read more →
An audit carried out by University College London of over 140 housing developments built since 2007 found 75% should not have gone ahead because of their “mediocre” or “poor” design. Architect Matthew Carmona’s team frequently found schemes “dominated by large areas of tarmac for parking and roads that weren’t very easy for people to walk around”. Read more →
A new report damns the design of new housing developments in England as overwhelmingly ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’, with less-affluent communities the worst affected, according to a national audit.
The study has already prompted the LGA to press for Right to Buy reform in the upcoming budget and a revocation of the permitted development right.
“It’s really a national tragedy,” said the report’s author Matthew Carmona, a professor at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning.
“The pressure to build is in a sense absolutely right, we need more homes, but we need more homes of a good quality that people can thrive in and communities can grow in,” he said.
Report finds ‘unethical’ housebuilders are designing just 26% of homes well
“Greedy” housebuilders are constructing homes that are overwhelmingly of poor or mediocre design quality, according to a national housing audit conducted by University College London. Read more →