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People and Places: Design of the Built Environment and Behaviour Report, UK

2 Apr 2017

Design Commission News

Design Commission News

REPORT STATES THAT DEVOLUTION IS A KEY PRIORITY IN IMPROVING BRITAIN’S BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Design Commission report calls on devolved governments, mayors and local authorities to step up in the wake of housing shortages, social cohesion and better living space planning.

• On Tuesday 28th March, Richard Rogers, Lord Rogers of Riverside, launched the People and Places: Design of the Built Environment and Behaviour report in Parliament.

• It calls for central government to give local authorities and city mayors more responsibility over housing, healthcare and transport infrastructure.

• The Design Commission argues that by focusing on local needs through local authorities, it will result in better productivity, social cohesion and improved health and environmental outcomes across the country.

The report – coming after over a year of study and evidence gathering from some of Britain’s leading experts in architecture and design – calls for central government to give local authorities and city mayors more responsibility over housing, healthcare and transport infrastructure.

By prioritising human needs and behaviour in the design process, through moves such as setting minimum design standards, setting targets for provision of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and regulating Health Impact Assessments as part of the planning process, the Commission argues that the built environment will be easier to navigate, work and live in.

If implemented, this will lead to healthier work environment, whilst improving Britain’s public realm and open spaces.

The Design Commission argues that by focusing on local needs through local authorities, it will result in better productivity, social cohesion and improved health and environmental outcomes across the country.

It also considers ways to approach the housing shortage, based on best-practice from abroad, developing the design principles for British homes, and working with existing bodies – especially housings associations – to improve both the quality and quantity of residential stock.

The report additionally recognises that a more interventionist approach to economic development, not least the recently announced industrial strategy, has a role to play in developing a new approach to how Britain’s public places are developed.
The policy recommendations are set out in a way that balances the differing views of various sectors and levels of government.

British architect Richard Rogers:
British architect Richard Rogers
photo © Andrew Zuckerman

Background

The report can now be downloaded free here:

People and Places: Design of the Built Environment and Behaviour

KEY ISSUES

• The inquiry considered policy recommendations in four key areas of behaviour:

o HEALTH: Evidence that the built environment can exert both positive and negative effects on human behaviour, thus affecting health.
o ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Evidence that the design of the built environment can encourage people to adopt more (or less) sustainable behaviours.
o SOCIAL COHESION: Evidence was found of the effects of the design of the built environment on social cohesion through its effects on creating or inhibiting co-presence in space.
o PRODUCTIVITY, INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY: Evidence was heard of the effects of the design of the built environment on innovation and communication in work environments and communities.

Recommendations were also made with regard to the perceived lack of affordable housing.

The Design Commission report was sponsored with the kind support of the BRE Trust.

The BRE Trust is the largest UK charity dedicated specifically to research and education in the built environment. Set up in 2002 to advance knowledge, innovation and communication for public benefit, the Trust uses all profits made by the BRE Group to fund new research and education programmes that will help to meet its goal of ‘building a better world together’.


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Design Commission

Design Commission

The Design Commission is the in-depth research arm of the All-Party Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group. It is an industry-led body, which conducts high level research aimed at driving thinking around design policy in the UK.

The Commission’s remit is to conduct investigative research into particular areas or policy problems as they relate to, or could benefit from, design. The Design Commission is composed of parliamentarians and leading representatives from business, industry and the public sector. Its purpose is to explore, through research, how design can drive economic and social improvement, and how government and business can better understand the importance of design.

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