Newly appointed Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan will speak about how best to provide for cycling. He will be joined by other expert speakers Lilli Matson, Phil Jones, John Parkin and John Dales. Please read our Challenges for Cycling Inf Design discussion paper as this informs the discussion.
Next, designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie will be speaking about Poynton, the first shared space town centre scheme in the UK where a signal free junction is successfully accommodating large flows of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
In the afternoon, we will look at a number of best practice examples and forward thinking ideas from play streets to roundabouts.
We look forward to seeing you on the day.
5th March 2013: 9.30am – 3.30pm
Conference Rooms 1 & 2, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ
9.45 -11.15 Designing for Cycling
Andrew Gilligan, Cycling Commissioner; Lilli Matson, TfL to start debate, then all welcome to contribute.
11.30-1.00 Poynton and other signal free junctions
Ben Hamilton Baillie, Hamilton – Baillie Associates; Phil Jones, Phil Jones Associates; Ashis Choudhury and Andrew Bashford, LB Bexley
1.45-2.15 Turnpike Lane DIY Streets project - Ben Addy and German Dector-Vega, Sustrans
2.15-2.45 Play Streets – Gavin Best, LB Hackney
2.45 – 3.00 Refreshments
3.00 -3.30 TfL Better Junctions Review and TRL research into roundabout layouts – John Newham, TfL
We have introduced new courses following requests from our members including a series on development economics. Our ever popular network meetings, leaders briefings, site visits and tricky issue debates will continue throughout the year alongside a range of practical workshops focused on topics like hard working streets and housing design. We also run 2 design review and surgery days a month where members can bring along schemes, for free, for advice and comment from our panel of design experts.
Just to remind you that we offer a yearly subscription from April 1st, and almost all places at our events are reserved for subscribing members. Individual places, when available, will cost £175 plus VAT, higher than the subscription price.
There is no maximum number of places any subscribing organisation can use over the year, but we may have to restrict bookings per event depending on demand.
Bookings will be made upon confirmation of subscription.
Our next 3 month unpaid internship opportunity begins in April 2013.
Please send your CV’s with a covering letter describing your interests and experience to firstname.lastname@example.org before February 28th 2013. We will notify candidates invited for interview the week commencing 4th March. We provide a free travel pass for our interns.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Below are some initial thoughts. Please have a look and let us know what you think by email to email@example.com or comment below.
Premise for National Guidance
The Taylor Review tells us that national guidance should be:
- It should be succinct, relevant and practical
- It should expand on national policy, not introduce new ideas
- It should provide definitions, clarification or information which help to explain how the policy should be applied in practice.
These principles have been used within the recommendations below.
General Design Policy
The NPPF includes the following key design policies:
- Planning should ensure good design so that change helps make places better for people
- The roles and character of different areas should be recognised and responded to
- The usefulness of land should be optimised with multiple functions for a space considered.
In summary, the NPPF sees design as a practical issue which influences the way land is used and how this relates to the experiences and actions of people, whilst respecting and supporting local character. This leads to the key policy that development should improve the way places look and work: Permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions. This policy was introduced in PPS1, after By Design was written, and has never been expanded upon in guidance.
By Design makes reference to the relationship between scheme feasibility and viability with designs. Although the relationship between the different strands of sustainable development are present in the NPPF there is no explicit mention of how viability relates to design requirements – but this could be a useful element of national design related guidance.
Guidance should relate to this key policy, explaining the practical relationships between built form, people, character and usefulness, and explaining how viability and design should be considered together. Guidance should explain how both local policies and decisions should apply the key ‘improve’ test. Although there is some similar content in By Design, new wording reflecting the NPPF would be more appropriate
What is ‘good design’
The NPPF includes some information about what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘poor’ design. This is useful for practitioners and supports certainty for all involved. The following, which can be considered as the required characteristics of well designed proposals, are mentioned:
- function well over time;
- establish a strong sense of place,
- respond to local character and identity
- create attractive and comfortable places
- optimise the potential of land and buildings
- create and sustain an appropriate mix of uses
- discourage crime and disorder
- create accessible places
- support community cohesion
- be visually attractive as a result of good architecture and appropriate landscaping.
The list is very similar to the list of urban design objectives on page 15 of By Design and explained more fully than in the NPPF – it is suggested that this list and descriptions in By Design is updated so it reflects the wording in the NPPF more closely, and included in the new web based national design guidance.
In practice, planning applications deal with 3 dimensional building proposals in the main. The challenge for practitioners is relating plans and drawings to the objectives listed above. The NPPF says that design quality relates to different scales and types of space including parts of buildings, whole buildings, public and private spaces and wider scale schemes. It also states that design policies should guide the overall:
- access of new development.
Although the NPPF says that policies should not be over prescriptive, many applications are decided around arguments on the specifics of these physical characteristics – this is the nitty gritty side of design.
The elements above are very similar to the list of aspects of development form on page 16 of By Design – it is suggested that this list and brief explanatory material is updated so it reflects the wording in the NPPF more closely, and included in the new web based national design guidance.
By Design includes additional ‘prompts to thinking’ in section 2. This includes some useful, practical information, but much does not fully reflect current best practice. Ideally the section should be refreshed and included within an urban design reference or text book which supports the NPPF but is not national guidance.
In terms of directing planning activities, the NPPF covers both policy creation and scheme consideration including the following:
Proactive work by the Planning Authority
- act positively for the achievement of good design
- set out the quality of development that will be expected for the area in policies
- make decisions based on stated objectives for the future of an area
- make use of an understanding and evaluation of an areas defining characteristics
This type of activity adds certainty to the planning process and helps to ensure decisions and policies are based on good evidence. There is no reference to working with communities and neighbourhood planning in terms of design and its policy development, but many would argue that this should be an important element of acting positively.
By Design includes practical advice on issues such as how to understand and evaluate the defining characteristics of an area (section 3, p36/37). Considering that the NPPF is requiring such work to be done, it would seem sensible to retain, and bring up to date, good practice guidance. This does not mean all of section 3 should be included in new national guidance, but elements that relate to the bullet points above, along with more up to date guidance where relevant could be useful. For example the urban design framework diagrams on p51 could be useful for those considering neighbourhood planning.
Scheme based planning work
- Have early engagement on design including applicants taking account of views of local people in design development.
- consider using design codes
- have local design review arrangements in place to provide assessment and support to ensure high standards of design.
There is more up to date guidance on such issues than that included in By Design. Documents produced by CABE and others such as the Princes Foundation can help to support these national requirements. When DCLG has decided how best to signpost useful documents, these should be included within the lexicon.
The NPPF does not refer to what information is required with a planning application to be able to apply the key design tests. This relates to outline, detailed and reserved matter applications and current changes to design and access statement requirements. Similarly the NPPF and the Taylor review does it refer to building standards or other requirements which have a relationship with design policies. Practical guidance on these issues would be very helpful within new national guidance.
Overall, practice guidance relating to day to day planning activities can not be easily plucked from By Design for new national guidance, it really needs rewriting, explaining what terms like design codes are, and pointing to documents produced by others.
Housing, Transport and Town Centre Design Issues
The NPPF includes specific design policies on these issues and they are important elements of good planning, economic development and place making. There are good tools and guidance outside of the documents considered by the Taylor Review, in particular Building for Life 12 and Manual for Streets 2, and emerging best practice and learning from the Portas Pilots and other town centre initiatives.
In general more specific guidance on how the characteristics of good design and aspects of development form can best be considered for these types of places and issues would be a useful addition to national guidance. This does not have to be overly long, for example Building for Life includes just 12 short sentences as the main design objectives which help create the type of residential areas the NPPF calls for. Similarly the link/place matrix within Manual for Streets, if included in national planning guidance, would lead the way to better consideration of how transport modes and local economic and residential functions are balanced in any one area through the planning system. In terms of town centres, some of the physical issues they face around parking, the quality of public spaces, dealing with their edges, in some cases shrinkage or intensification of commercial uses, unit sizes and types, non retail town centre functions, integrated deliveries and so on all have design elements which could usefully be supported by national guidance.
There it is suggested that a short additional element is added to national planning guidance relating to the design elements of these three planning issues.
More background information can be found here: Taylor Review of Planning Practice Guidance v2 draft.
Conference Rooms 1 & 2, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NJ
Book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Free event.
A look at the little things that make a big difference to our streets. We know from frequent surveys that cleanliness, fly-posting and a good public realm environment are close to the hearts of those who use our streets; this half day will look at best practice in achieving a well looked after appearance, managing utility companies and current thinking on what works well where, as well as funding opportunities and ‘Street-Kits’ to help communities clean-up their streets.
9.45 Registration & Refreshments
10.00 Cleansing: Motivating Street Cleaners, Keep Britain Tidy
10.30 Dealing with Utility Companies, Laura Markey, Streetworks Manager, LB Lambeth
11.00 Fly-posting, David Quigley, Senior Environmental Officer, LB Camden
11.45 Environmental Reporting System, Kate Parkinson, Environmental Officer,
Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Kamal Uddin ,Project Manager
12.15 Capital Clean Up, Groundwork, Vivian Brown/Rachel Kirk LB Lewisham
12.40 DIY Streets and StreetKit, Ben Addy, Sustrans Community Project
1pm Round-up and end
In light of the Lord Matthew Taylor Review and following on from a UDL Leaders Briefing on planning, UDL contacted its members on the 13th November 2012 to undertake a brief email survey. We explained to recipients that the Taylor Review will be making recommendations to the government as to what planning guidance should be cancelled, combined or updated.
We gave members a list of design related publications and asked which, if any of these they referred to, and what other guidance they use in their work to make assessments or decisions in the planning process.
We received over 150 responses from across London built environment practitioners (primarily from the public sector), representing a much larger professional community. The graph shows the number of times a document was said to be useful by the first 150 respondents.
As you can see, there is increasing overlap between highway and planning systems and guidance, hence the very popular, relevant and useful Manual for Streets (1 and 2) receiving the most votes.
The other top scoring documents are eminently practical. They include concepts and information which have been proved to work, such as setting out the basic qualities of successful places that should be strived for through development and place management and have had a real impact on the quality and usefulness of urban environments.
However there is overlap between many of the documents, and scope to combine the top 5 scoring ones. By Design and the Urban Design Compendium have much of the same content and in many ways can be seen as the parent documents for the others. Design and Access Statements, the Manual for Streets and Building for Life are topic specific and help practitioners to apply the By Design and Compendium ideas when dealing with planning applications, streets and housing. Other documents, whether produced by the GLA, CABE or a Government Department also explain how many of the same principles relate to more specific issues or audiences such as tall buildings or councillors.
Although respondents were mindful of the breadth and somewhat duplicating nature of guidance, a number said that the less widely used, more specific documents were useful when assessing good design in special situations. In general respondents felt that having specialist guidance available and that they occasionally used, as well as general advice was helpful, for example:
- Principles of Inclusive Design, CABE 2006
- Schools related design publications, CABE
- Car parking: What works where, EP & Design for Homes, 2006
- Creating Successful Masterplans: a guide for clients, CABE 2004
- Quality reviewer: Appraising the design quality of development proposals UDS 2010
Respondents frequently raised the usefulness and practicality of CABE publications, as well as recognising that with recent changes to the planning regime, design guidance and publications could be usefully reviewed, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The suite of design related documents have helped to foster certainty around design requirements within the planning system and have encouraged synergy across sectors – basically most people seem to see the ideas in the documents as sensible and they do not in themselves add any requirements or slow the system. It would be possible, and potentially extremely useful, to pull together the suite of design related documents into one place, removing duplication and out of date content and certainly By Design has been in need of updating for quite a few years. However such a consolidation would involve a significant amount of work and it is unclear who could do this at the present time. If there is no proper review and rewrite process it would be more appropriate to retain these useful and used documents.
Streets need buildings and buildings need streets. Without streets we can’t get to destinations, mainly buildings but parks if we are lucky. So it makes good sense to plan, design and manage buildings, their uses, streets and public spaces together as much as possible. This means bringing together planning and highway/public space work. Planning often takes longer to get going than public realm schemes, but can also influence the place for longer so it is important to coordinate the phasing of both.
The best public realm schemes do this, understanding how building uses, orientation and designs effect movement patterns and the demands placed on public spaces. They also think about the future as the very fact that they are being built might change demands for building development and uses in the area. Good schemes build in resilience so the public realm can adapt to support the area in the longer term.
But too many schemes are singular in their outlook, for example proposing a new shared space square in an area with very low pedestrian demand or surrounding building activities to give it life, or suggesting a new intensively used building that will depending on buses and stations without seeing if there is capacity in the intervening public realm to cope. This kind of thinking can waste, money, people’s time and create long term problems for an area.
Sometimes we gauge the success of public realm schemes by the uplift in local home and businesses rents, but this can drastically change the nature of an area, particularly high streets. So linking investment and planning policies to manage and support change can be very important to local people and businesses.
Localism and Neighbourhood Planning have the potential to help bring public realm and planning issues together successfully. Local people and businesses understand their areas and see them as one place – streets, parks and homes, shops etc together, not the separate fiefdoms of different local authority departments. They can work with local authorities to steer both public realm investment and longer term planning policies, considering issues like how to manage knock on effects from investment.
The Localism Act 2011 sets out processes for neighbourhood planning. It is early days but it seems slower to take off in London than in other parts of the country, maybe in part because we do not have Parish and Town Councils to take things forward. But we do have a growing community of local groups with experience of working with their borough to direct change in their streets and parks. So, considering the benefits of linking planning and public realm work, a London route to good neighbourhood planning could involve local groups who have worked on public realm projects moving forward to look at longer term planning policies for the area. Encouraging and supporting local groups so that the experience and effort everyone has put in to the public realm scheme is not lost once it is finished could benefit everyone.
The schemes listed in this document, both completed and in hand, offer wonderful opportunities to improve public spaces and streets, but some could go further, ensuring they dovetail with buildings and uses and become a springboard for longer term investment, management and planning. So local authorities and local communities are strongly encouraged to:
• Think about their area as a single place including both buildings, parks, streets, bus stops, etc and make sure schemes are based on agreed, practical ideas of how the area as a whole should look, feel and work.
• Recognise that public realm investment may act as a catalyst encouraging other changes in and around the area. Plan for this setting out what you want and how you will manage it – don’t just let change happen to you.
• Build on successful local involvement in public realm schemes to help take forward neighbourhood planning for the area. Consider using the skills and links developed locally and in the council to take forward planning ideas for the longer term.
20th June 2012: 9.30 – 3.30pm
Committee Rooms 1 and 2, Palestra,
One of our regular network meetings for people involved in street design, this all day event will look at a variety of issues and case studies. Our network events are an ideal way of catching up with others working on street projects in London. Here we are on a visit to see the Leicester Square scheme about a week before it opened.
9.30 Registration & Refreshments
9.45 Removing phone boxes – speaker TBC
10.15 Post Mayoral election changes at TfL and LIP funding update – Dan Johnson, TfL
11.15 Presentation on Coventry’s new shared space schemes – Chris Young Coventry City Council
12:15 Update on the Valuing Urban Realm ‘Lite’ Toolkit – George weeks, TfL
14.00 Open Source tools for assessing connectivity – Tim Stoner, Space Syntax
14.30 Removing Guardrail – how is this progressing in? – Sam Write, TfL
15.00 Update on borough scheme - TBC
Site Visit to Exhibition Road
22nd June 2012
Only a few places left.
Come along if you want to see and hear about this famous street scheme
Street Scheme Design Surgery and TfL Design Review
5th July 2012
Let us know if you want to bring a scheme along to discuss and to get some advice from our panel of design experts.
Site Visit to Camden High Road, Britannia Junction and Kings Cross Boulevard Street Schemes
6th July 2012
More details nearer the time but we are working on an interesting line up of guides to help us understand these interesting projects.
Keeping People Safe on our Roads Workshop
12thJuly 2012: 9.30– 4.30
Palestra,197 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8AA
This all day workshop will consider a number of issues around road and public safety. The day will start by looking at accident data and research and will discuss the relationship between design options and safety. In the afternoon we will look at the processes and systems available to evaluate how safe a scheme might be and discuss how this information can best inform decisions.
9.45 What Makes for a Safe Road – introduction to theory and approaches
10.15 Latest Research and Stats – including data from TfL and Kent CC
11.00 Questions and break
11.30 Important Design and Management decisions - junctions, crossings and cycle facilities
12.00 Preventing Terrorist Attacks – experience from Crossrail
12.30 Questions and Lunch
1.30 Safety Audits
2.00 Quality Audits
2.30 Questions and break
3.00 Using Audits and other information when making decisions
Robert Huxford, UDG
John Dales, Urban Initiatives
Bob White, Kent CC
Phil Jones, PJ Associates
Stuart Croucher, Crossrail
Kate Carpenter, Jacobs
Steve Proctor, TMS
Site Visit to the Emirates Airline Cable Car
20th July 2012
Ok, i’ll be honest, we have not sorted out all the details, but we hope this will be our last event before the summer break, offering an ‘end of term’ get together. I am not sure how many people we can accommodate so if you are interested please book a provisional place now.
We also now have 8 Registered Social Landlords as members and are looking to grow our housing design network and programme over the year.
896 bookings taken since April 1st.
The first part of this guided side visit takes us to Leicester Square in the City of Westminster, for a preview of the new landscape scheme for the square, as well as public realm improvements in the wider streets. We will then travel to the City of London to see the transformation of the south side of St Paul’s Churchyard, including Festival Gardens and Carter Lane Gardens. Those responsible for the design and implementation of these schemes will be on hand to talk and answer questions.
Meet from 11.15 at Leicester Square
11.30 Guided tour of Leicester Square, led by Westminster City Council
13.00 Walk to The Strand and travel by bus to St Paul’s
(opportunity for delegates to buy lunch at St Paul’s / Paternoster Sq)
14.00 Reassemble at Festival Gardens (rear of St Paul’s Cathedral) for talk and tour, led by City of London Corporation
email email@example.com to book
Venue: Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ then on site.
Sometimes there is just nothing like seeing a scheme in the flesh, watching how people move about, seeing how it works.
These talks and guided site visits will look at two highly influential schemes:
Walworth Road – one of the first of its type, removing guardrail and the dedicated bus lane and introducing central pedestrian refuges amongst many other interventions. This is a chance to see and hear how the scheme has settled down over the last couple of years.
Elephant and Castle South Roundabout. This scheme has humanised a very busy and important interchange with the help of an innovative approach to signalling as well as changes to crossings, cycle lanes and pavements. The scheme was designed and delivered in house at TfL.
Abdool Gafoor and Gillian Norburn, Traffic Design Engineering, TfL
Matthew Hill, Public Realm Programme Manager, LB Southwark
Project Centre (Walworth Road designers) TBC
1.45 Meet at Palestra for pre visit presentations on the schemes
2.30 Travel by local bus to Elephant and Castle
2.45 Tour of schemes
Free for UDL members. Book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: 55 Broadway, 10th floor. this is the building on top of St James Park Station
Which material should you use for a pavement level loading pad? Would blocks be ok in a raised table? Is it worth considering blacktop when a councillor is calling for ‘high quality’ materials?? If these are the sort of questions you have been asking yourself then this workshop is for you.
This will be a practical session with examples and samples to look at and discuss. We will run through the pros and cons of common street surfacing materials and the detailing that best supports them.
The trainers have had lots of experience drawing up specs and managing the delivery of projects such as Walworth Road, Russell Square and Exhibition Road. This is a good chance to learn from their years of experience and knowledge.
We will also have CED and Marshalls on hand to show us some of their products, provide advice and answer questions.
David Moores, The Project centre
Sarah Rubinstein, Woods Bagot
Tim Long, LB Camden
Clinton Young (or associate) , Marshalls
Michael Heap, CED
12.30 Registration, Refreshments (sandwiches) and first chance to look at samples
1.00 The important of getting the materials and details right – Tim Long
1.30 Linking materials and details to your design objectives and budget – David Moores Using
2.00 Using natural stone effectively in the streetscape, Sarah Rubinstein and Michael Heap
2.45 Using non stone products well – Marshalls
3.15 Tea Break and look at product samples
4.00 Questions and discussion of options for example schemes
Free for UDL members, limited places available for others at £175 plus VAT each. book by email to email@example.com
19th April 2012: 9.30am – 3.30pm, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ
Book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Free for UDL members, limited places may be available for others.
How do you know if commitments and proposals made through the planning process, whether at planning determination stage or later during resolution of conditions, will genuinely manifest as good design and good quality? The aim of this 1 day course is to arm planning officers with some of the detailed architectural knowledge of design details and building materials, and the terminology to help them make more informed decisions.
- What should you look for in elevations and facade detailing to ensure better design outcomes?
- What makes for a good balcony?
- What materials to look out for and what should be avoided?
- What should be expected in landscapes and landscape treatments?
- And what to look out for to prevent corners being cut?
The presenters at this workshop will primarily be architects, working on the front-line of design, who can provide insights into what really happens through the design process and how planning officers can help to secure better design solutions.
Brian Waters: BWCP Architects
Colin Wilson: GLA Planning Decisions Unit
Rick Burgess: PRP Architects
Neil Deely: Metropolitan Workshop
Paul Monaghan: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Bob Ghosh: K4 Architects
Robert Townsend: Townsend Landscape Architects
9.15 Registration and Refreshments
9.30 Introduction and Overview
9.45 How the GLA is securing the Mayor’s new housing design standards
10.15 Introduction to the design process and how quality is made or lost
11.15 Presentations by leading architects on facade and balcony detailing, building materials and design innovation
14.00 Design verses planning – how they can work together
14.30 Challenges for urban design and landscaping
15.00 Discussion and Wrap Up
This event is kindly sponsored by BARRATT HOMES