How can we make better quality design the default outcome? – 16 June 2020

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14.00-15.30 via Zoom


Improving the quality of the design of new built development has become a priority for government, and for the sector as a whole. The government-sponsored Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, chaired by Nicholas Boys-Smith and the late Sir Roger Scruton, produced its report Living with beauty in January 2020, which crystallised the value of beauty and the perils of ugliness and set out a broad framework of ideas to promote better quality through a new relationship between communities, developers and the stewardship of new developments. This was rapidly followed by the Place Alliance/UCL Housing design audit for England, supported by CPRE, the countryside charity. This research used established design audit techniques to update earlier work undertaken by CABE, and found that, while there had been a small improvement in the design of large housing schemes, and that there were examples of very good practice in design, the vast majority of design was merely average, and much did not come up to standards expected by national planning policy.

These are by no means the only contributions to this area of thought, but are two of the most significant, and most recent. Such research and thinking has been essential in demonstrating the importance of good design, what good design looks like, and the fact that good design can be achieved when the planning and development process is done well.

But how can we make better quality design the default outcome? Can it be sustained within the existing system and policy context, and if so, how? Or do we need a different approach, and if so, what?

The Forum is bringing together a panel to take the discussion forward from valuing good design and describing good design outcomes, to focus on exploring positive solutions to policy and process that will make great design the norm.

Chair: Matt Thomson, Head of Land Use & Planning, CPRE and NPF Management Committee
– Nicholas Boys-Smith, Chair, BBBB Commission
– Andy von Bradsky, MHCLG
– Owain Lloyd-James, Head of Places Strategy, Historic England
– Simon Slatford, Senior Director, Lichfields

The Forum is grateful to Lichfields who had originally agreed to host this meeting before the decision had to be taken to move the event to a virtual platform.

To book a place please contact: secretary@natplanforum.org