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.
15 May 2012: 9.45 – 4.45pm
The Chamber, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA (note this is a change of venue)
Book by email to email@example.com. Free for UDL members, limited places may be available for others.
What are the implications of the National Planning Policy Framework for London, and what does it offer in terms of delivering good design? We’ve brought together a panel to start a debate by giving their reactions.
Then we will turn our attention to neighbourhood planning with progress reports from the majority of the capital’s frontrunner communities, as well as other non-frontrunners. We will explore what has been achieved so far, what lessons are emerging and what challenges remain.
Agenda (some items to be confirmed)
9.45 Welcome & Introduction
10.00 Perspectives on the design elements of the NPPF and implications for London
- Ben Castell, Technical Director, Strategic Planning and Urban Design, URS
- Penelope Tollitt, Head of Policy & Design, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
- Matt Bell, Head of External Affairs, Berkeley Group
- Andrew Lainton, Cutting Edge Planning & Design
11.15 Open Discussion on NPPF
12.00 Update on Neighbourhood Planning in London (part 1)
- Background and progress at: Bloomsbury, Norland, Stamford Hill, and Markham Square
1.30 My Neighbourhood: a Neighbourhood Planning Protocol for Bath & NE Somerset
1.45 Update on Neighbourhood Planning in London (part 2)
- Background and progress at: Leytonstone, Highams Park, West Hampstead & Fortune Green, Edmonton Green, and West & Central Ealing
3.00 Open Discussion on Neighbourhood Planning
- How have aspirations shifted since the start and what does the future hold?
This event is kindly sponsored by Berkeley Homes
David Moores (Project Centre)
Graham Hanson (DfT)
Rob Edwards (TfL)
Jane Harrison (LB Brent) & Moira Lascelles (The Architecture Foundation)
Hayden Tuck (LB Brent)
Professor Marcus Ormerod (SURFACE, University of Salford)
Michael Parsons (RNIB)
Olav Ernst (TfL Independent Disability Advisory Group)
Chris Mason (Westminster CC)
Colin Davies (PRIAN and independent street designer)
Edmund Bird (English Heritage) [Read more...]
A similar event, looking at community consultation methods in particular, will be held on 25 jan
Here are some notes from 12 Jan.
Briefing; Future of Planning in London
12 Jan 2010
Notes from the day
Around 75 London councillors, senior borough officers and community group representatives attended.
Speakers included Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner at DCLG, Andrew Barry-Purcell head of London Plan team at the GLA, Nick Taylor, head of north region at HCA, George Gardiner of Gardiner Stewart architects, John Walker of the Planning Officers Soc, Michael Gallimore of Hogan Lovells, Michael Bach of the London forum of civic and amenity Societies and Tony Burton of Civic Voice.
There follows a short summary of points made by speakers followed by a review of questions asked by delegates.
1. Localism Bill includes a lot more than planning reforms, but the planning system is seen as a key part of the political agenda and a way of taking forward Big Society ideas quickly.
2. The point was made that local communities should look after themselves and not rely on the council for everything. Devolution should be about sharing the burden of choice not about shifting decision making from one group to another. The local authority and democratically elected councillors will still be the decision maker.
3. The Bill includes a range of proposed changes to the planning system but over it is not as radical as many people thought probably before it was published, in particular:
- The planning system as we know it remains in place. The 2004 Act stays and the ‘plan led’ approach has not been changed.
- So local plans and in London the London Plan (which is not an RSS but a Regional Spatial Plan under different legislation) remain and should still be produced. This includes Core Strategies, Area Action Plans, SPD etc. London has pretty good coverage of LDFs now, with lots more docs in the pipe line. The message was to ‘crack on’ with them.
- Annual Monitoring Return requirements are removed, well in terms of the SoS needing to see them anyway – they still need to be posted on council websites.
- Changes to enforcement procedures seem to be welcomed by most. They will speed up action and prevent some ‘cheeky practices’.
4. Neighbourhood planning was discussed by all speakers. It seems to be the part of the Bill that is causing most interest, uncertainty, concern and scepticism. 2 main elements where discussed, Neighbourhood Development Plans NDPs and Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs) Some comments made included:
- Not all communities and neighbourhoods need to have a NDP. In London there are 624 wards (the size of area most seem to think might emerge as an average for NDPs). If just 25% end up with plans that’s over 150, quite a lot to do.
- NDPs will be part of the Development Plan and changes are proposed in the Bill to the 2004 Planning Act about decision making to ensure NDPs are a ‘material consideration’.
- At the moment there is some ‘new money’ for the admin side of vanguard NDPs, but DCLG consider that enough money has been included in settlements for authorities for the next 5 years to resource neighbourhood planning. Other speakers did not agree that there will be enough money, time, skills and experience around within communities and boroughs to successfully deliver the ideas.
- Not all NDPs or parts of a NDP area need to have a NDO. Some speakers seemed quite sceptical that there would be many NDOs in London and could not see why communities would want them. London has a relatively pro development policy environment – not like rural areas, and there is scepticism as to why a borough or community would want to give up planning control when developments are economically viable and generally allowable if appropriate.
- Defining neighbourhoods and communities is a really big issue. This might be relatively easy in rural towns and villages but the overlapping of communities of interest in terms of geographical coverage, but the sometimes illogical placement of existing boundaries between existing area designations such as wards and boroughs etc all make it difficult in London. Advice was given that flexibility, pragmatism, creativity and partnership working between boroughs and groups would be needed. But the practical questions remain pretty unanswered at the moment and this could prevent take up in London. Leeds apparently already have 8 neighbourhood plans up and running and some boroughs also already have neighbourhood structures that could work well under the bill proposals. More learning from good existing examples could be helpful.
- The Govt want NDPs to promote development – they say that restrictive, negative plans will not be acceptable because they will not be in general conformity with the Development Plan (National Planning Framework, London Plan and strategic policies from LDF for the area). BUT, if NDPs are to grow from local aspirations and only ‘general conformity’ is required some speakers expressed the view that negative NPDs, some maybe growing from conservation area statements, will still come forward. Others felt that they provided an opportunity to fine tune London plan and LDF policies to reflect local issues.
- The NDP system is meant to be flexible. Plans could just set out a vision, and or policies, plan, funding/management strategies, fasing ideas, or outline or full planning permission through NDOs.
- The role of the borough in stewarding the NPD process was discussed. It sounds like they will have a very important and challenging role in terms of deciding on appropriate neighbourhood areas, who can represent communities and bring forward an NPD etc. There are lots of yet to be answered questions about how this might work, in particularly how they will priorities their time and decide which forums/draft NDPs to recognise and support.
5. Speakers gave a short run through on the London Plan, social housing and viability issues. Some of the main issues raised were:
- London Plan (LP) progressing towards publication in autumn or winter 20011 – slightly ahead of schedule at the moment.
- 960 responses received to draft LP – lots of interest.
- Plan should become a ‘Resource for Localism’. It should provide vital information and a strategic steer to inform the development of borough and neighbourhood plans and decisions.
- One of the most innovative new policy areas is Lifetime Neighbourhoods, which could help to support the way NDPs and borough plans help manage established communities and neighbourhoods to provide facilities and environments for all.
- There will be new LP SPG, in particular one on shaping neighbourhoods and localities. This could sit very well with NDPs helping to take forward approaches such as characterisation and understanding local distinctiveness.
- The draft LP has strong policies on design and the built environment – along with many others of course. But these ones could also support NDPs.
- Housing targets will be revised to become ‘something else’ but it is not clear yet what that might be.
- Funding for affordable homes has reduced by about half this year (nationally).
- Old verses new social housing models: old, rents 40-50% of market rate, new up to 80%. Old, tenancies secure for life, new fixed term, reviewable, old, £80k subsidy per unit, new this is included in wider subsidy, old, more focus on new build, new more focus on asset management of existing stock such as bring voids (about 4% of stock) back into use at higher rents.
- Bidding system for HCA type subsidy changing – bidders need to show where other match funding is coming from such as Sec 106 money which adds up to about 50% of funds in London. So v important to talk to developers.
- Issue about estates renewal projects in London. If tenants would be charged higher rents when they move back will there be any support for such programmes?
- In terms of developer viability it is worth remembering that they want to turn money around quickly so smaller returns received faster are more attractive than tying up and risking large amounts of capital up for a long time. So schemes that offer different types of homes that can be built out at different times on a site, not all in large blocks of flats, can be more viable.
- London has found new development models for housing many times over the centuries – it needs to find another one now. This could be mixed typology sites to reduce risk.
- Savings through things like combined heat and power worth considering.
- London block sizes are traditional about the size that takes 5 mins to walk around. But in Europe blocks are a bit bigger, maybe 6 to 7 mins walk – and this can make them more viable.
6. Other comments made by speakers included:
- Not all communities are NIMBY – they care very much about local services, facilities and the quality of the environment.
- People in civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system.
- Good that councillors not seen to have ‘closed minds’ because of conversations, involvement and comments made prior to their role in reaching a planning decision.
- Requirements that authorities must hold a referendum on an issue if 5% of population ask for it is too low. It can be easy to get enough people to sign a petition but they may not really care about the issue. 5% could lead to a large number of unhelpful, expensive and delaying referendums and voter fatigue.
- It would be such a shame if we got so caught up in the detail of legislation that we forgot the ideas behind the Bill.
- Assets of Community Value idea. The community right to bid and buy assets may not protect the use as changes of use may not need permission. The purchasing ‘community’ may not want the use others find vital (eg a pub can become a language school without permission).
- Duty to Co-operate – what does that mean? Maybe just have a meeting? Needs more detail.
- Unclear the role of AMRs in the future – DCLG say they are going, but they are staying if they need to go on council websites. Can they include whatever the council wants now?
- CIL – could be a real incentive for development but at the moment not enough detail on how it would work.
- Changes to enforcement procedures good – but the fines too low – £2500 fine in London for a breach – not nearly high enough
- Mayoral Development Corporation. Idea this will deal with Olympics but they could be created anywhere in London and take local plannign powers for the area.
- Community right to Build (and NDOs) could be manipulated by developers – paying for support of residents?
- The role of the emerging national policy framework will be important. If it is stripped back too far it could just state the blindingly obvious and not be useful.
- It is worth remembering the proposed requirement for developers to ‘collaborate’ with the local community on the design of a scheme – not sure what this might mean at the moment.
Questions asked at the briefing
- Referendums – will businesses and other non resident users of an area have a say. They do now through consultation on plans and planning applications so will the system disenfranchise them? Answer – DCLG thinking about this
- Given the confusion over RSSs over the last few months what faith can planners and councillors have that the new system will work? Answer – there are good practice examples already like Leeds and Burgess Hill – it can work.
- There is a problem in one part of London with applications for loft conversions to accommodate larger families being turned down by the local authority – would a NDP and NDO help? Answer – yes
- In another London borough a neighbourhood system is already in use – could this be adapted to suit NDPs? Answer – yes
- Is there a danger that NDPs will be controlled and driven by NIMBY element of local communities? Answer – yes that is a concern, but hopefully others will get involved when they see it could benefit them and their input could have results.
- London already has its own plan, strategy and visions. Maybe we don’t need more of these at local level, but we need a way to elaborate them to manage change and ensure good mix of uses, facilities, types of home, good public realm etc at local level. So London situation rather particular? Answer – point taken.
- If a NDP comes forward and it does not include development proposals/support can the borough refuse to support it? Answer – The idea is that NDPs should propose development. Boroughs will need to do a validation check to sort this out (note from author – more guidance on this would be useful)
- If my area came up with a NIMBY NDP it would be voted through in a referendum – how can validation checks stop this happening? Answer – politicians say you should trust people, this will not happen.
- How can NDPs that span borough boundaries work? Answer, through co-operation between boroughs (duty to co-operate) who should maybe support and adopt the NDP together.
- How will NPs be funded? Answer – Govt considers enough funding provided through current grants and settlements. Extra money available for vanguard schemes.
- Is the Bill giving local authorities the ‘responsibility to disappoint their residents’? As it could encourage NDPs which ask for unrealistic and undeliverable things – especially in London where the Mayor may take some CIL money etc. Answer – it is up to boroughs to ensure plans are appropriate.
- With changes to the London Plan, will the Mayor take a stronger line with boroughs re housing targets? Answer – Mayor wants targets to be locally owned.
- We have a large house builder interested in our area. How do we get them to the pre app table? Answer – surprised they don’t want to be there anyway, but maybe provide them with a development process program to follow saying what will happen/be decided when.
- How much weight will be applied to London Plan verses borough plans verses NDPs? Answer – such issues will be resolved through experience of the vanguard plans.
- How many NDPs and NDOs might there be in London? Answer – maybe some in richer neighbourhoods where residents pay for them or do them themselves and they relate mainly to conservation issues. Also could be some in areas where developers see them as worthwhile and take the lead or pay for their development. But they will not happen in most places. Especially as it looks like there will not be enough help and resources available.
- On consultation/referendum – how do you pick the area? Answer – maybe by ward or adjacent wards? More guidance will be provided.
- Does this whole thing diminish the role of boroughs? Answer – maybe – it will depend on the detail. But they still have a vital role.
- How far can the general power of competence for boroughs go? Answer – we will see, but generally it could allow boroughs to do a significant number of things without fear of challenge.
- Do the proposals play to amenity societies? Answer – yes – many proposals which are opposed by communities but have been granted permission may not have received permission under the new system.
- Do you see Design Review as a useful way of embedding impartial and objective consideration of proposals and quality check into the new system? Answer – maybe, if it does not add time and considers developer viability.
- Who will represent the inarticulate, travellers, homeless within neighbourhood forums? Answer – civic societies try to include these groups and represent their views.
NB – comments, questions and answers above have not been attributed to any particular person or speaker. UDL can also not guarantee the accuracy of notes, they offer a summary of issues raised only.
Report by Zsuzsa Szeles, UDL Intern
First of all, many thanks for everyone who came for our Tricky Issues session on the 1st of July and particular thanks to speakers who gave us an extremely interesting insight into different projects and issues.
The main focus of the session was on achieving high quality design of mixed tenure and high density housing developments to enhance safety and access for all.
The session started with a presentation by Julia Robinson from HCA who highlighted some of the key issues which were identified through a quality assessment of 42 residential schemes conducted between 2008-2009. Various aspects, such as habitability, connectivity, unit size, security and quality of external spaces were looked at to assess standards of developments. The presentation provided a number of best practice examples and explained what should be avoided in terms of external and internal design.
This was followed by a series of presentations given by Gary Tidmarsh from Lewitt Bernstein; Steve Proctor – Proctore & Matthews; Alan Camp & Nikki Cutler- Alan Camp Architects, Chris Rainsford- Calford Seaden Architects and Dominic Papa from S333 Architecture & Urbanism. They focused on different aspects of designing shared facilities such as communal spaces, refuse and car parking areas as well as attractive and well designed entrances.
The presentations generated a very stimulating discussion session and questions about different design approaches and challenges that arose during the design process. Please place your cursor over the image to receive more information.
If you would like to tell others of your approaches to designing shared facilities, issues and challenges please add through discussion forum on the link below.
1. Julia Robertson, – HCA- Audit of Communal Facilities
The public realm is frequently characterised by clutter. Roads and streets are often dominated by ‘street furniture’ components which include anything from bins, benches, bollards, railings, lighting, signposts and cycle stands. Some of these items are introduced on grounds of ‘pedestrian improvements’, yet they stagger pedestrian crossings and impede pedestrian movement while allowing a free run for the car. Therefore, all these need careful attention. Since the promotion of walking, cycling and place making are high on the agenda, it is recognised that changing designers and local authorities approach to street design is vital to create attractive streets while giving high priority to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport.
Tim Long gave us a presentation on a more sophisticated, smarter design approach with a particular focus on the use of innovative, multi-purpose street furniture elements to avoid clutter and make streets and public spaces more attractive environment.
As Tim explained, by implementing multi-purpose street furniture, a number of objectives can be achieved:
-Reducing visual and physical clutter in public spaces
-Less cleaning, management and maintenance
-Appreciate architectural quality
-Simplify street design
The first objective is particularly relevant in today’s security conscious urban environments, specifically where the use various design elements (bollards, planters and other form of barriers) intend to reduce vulnerability and increase security.
The presentation included a number of case studies where improvements have taken place and provided great examples of different type of street furniture such as ‘bin & bench’,(a multi-functional bench that can be also used as a bin) which was implemented in Covent Garden’s Great Queen Street.
Other solutions included anti-terrorism benches and bollards whereby the counter-terrorism function is hidden for the users. These furniture elements are impact tested to stop vehicles to carry out attacks.
The session generated a number of interesting questions and discussion points towards the end in terms of comfort, cost effectiveness, practicality, use of material and people’s experience using these new features.
This discussion was followed by looking at a range of surface materials and their correct applications as well as suitability in different urban environment. As Mark, an expert on landscape & surface materials described, there are a number of considerations which need to be taken into account when choosing surface materials for paving or road surfaces. These include for instance resistance, durability, weather condition of the country and finishing of materials. Handling should also be considered, as this have a time and cost implication on public realm and urban design projects.
Edmund Bird- Heritage and Its Role within TfL
Transport can impact on the historic environment in a number of ways, some negative but some positive. For instance, a new road may risk damaging archaeology or affect the setting of a listed building and historical character of the area. On the other hand, a sensitively designed public space free on unnecessary street clutter such as signs, guardrails and road markings can be a positive benefit to the historic area.
The focus of Edmund Bird’s presentation was on the relationship between heritage and new transport proposals of different scales from public realm improvements to major infrastructural proposal in historical settings. Looking at a wide array of case studies and examples, the presentation provided an excellent insight into sensitive issues, design considerations and possible conflicts when dealing with public transport improvements in historic environments.
A brief discussion included topics on restoration processes, historic bollards as well as other considerations such as trees and landscape protection.
Nick Blades- Legible London
Nick Blades is a programme Manager at Transport for London within the Strategy and Business Development Directorate. He is currently working on the Legible London Programme but at TfL has previously worked on a range of transport and urban realm projects including London Bridge Interchange, Greenwich Waterfront Transit , A406 Bonds Green Safety and Environmental Enhancements, A13 Renwick Road Junction Improvement. Previously, he has worked as a transport planner for a range of public sector organisations and private sector consultants.
Despite improvements in the last few years, there are a number of challenges facing London and its transport system. Public transport is crowded and roads are congested. In order to reduce overcrowding and maintain the efficiency of the transport system, further investment in transport infrastructure are planned, along with the Major’s objective to improve cycling and walking in London and provide a safe and efficient pedestrian network in the city. However, as Nick explained, there are a number of barriers to walking in the city due to lack of information, poor integration and infrastructure, people’s poor awareness about distance and lack of research in relation to pedestrian movements and how they can be improved.
In order to develop an integrated and effective pedestrian network, TfL is piloting ‘Legible London’ to tackle these issues and help both residents and visitors walk their destination quickly and easily.
As the presentation highlighted, the system aims to integrate, feed and co-ordinate a range of information, including street signs and printed maps to help people find their way. Most importantly, it seeks to be part of the wider transport network by providing consistent end to end journey information via a range of media, TfL modes and in different places.
Discussion towards the end of the session provided an opportunity to find out more about future delivery and system development, partnership working and cost implications of the scheme.
Lennox Davidson- Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing
Nick’s presentation was followed by an extremely interesting overview about Oxford Circus’s Diagonal Crossing by Lennox Davidson from Transport for London. Claimed to be the largest of its type in Europe, the crossing has been inspired by one in the Sibuya district of Tokyo in Japan to cut congestion and overcrowding of London’s busiest retail street and devote more space to pedestrian movement.
In order to allow getting people to cross with ease, all its barriers and street clutter were removed and remodelled and footways were widened to give pedestrians the freedom to move around quickly both straight and diagonally.
As Lennox stressed, it was important to attain a deep understanding of the problems of Oxford Circus and conduct a series of analysis and predictions in relation to pedestrian movement, impact on buses and journey time for such high profile transport planning and urban design intervention.
Six months on, the project is already considered to be highly successful and has brought a number benefits, for instance:
- Improved public realm
- Reduced pedestrian congestion
- Walk time has been reduced
- However, there is a need to do more surveys on bus journeys and traffic.
After the seminar, a number of questions were raised, which generated a stimulating discussion on Accident rates since the completion of the project and the impact of removing guard rails around the site, which, as Lennox explained had no efficient function and were considered to be as part of an old design. However, terrorism and ‘design out of terrorism’ appeared to be a concern during the design process and a number of meetings had to take place with Anti-terrorism design officers to find some solutions for their concerns.
As we know, determining the economic and social benefits of green infrastructure projects is difficult to do so. Resources such as the countryside, wetlands, urban parks, street trees and their ecosystem are seen as critical for sustainable economic and social growth, not just a way of supporting wildlife and the environment.
Following an extremely interesting seminar on The London Green Grid and the East London Green Grid, this discussed the use of Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolbox which was developed over the past two years by a consortium led by the Northern Way, five Regional Development Agencies as well as Defra, Natural England and CABE. Consultants GENECON LLP have been working on to establish practical ways of valuing Green Infrastructure and raising awareness of the strategic importance of Green Infrastructure of sustainable growth.
Speaker: Graeme Collinge – Genecon LLP
Graeme’s work during 2009/10 has included leading the GENECON team developing an appraisal Toolbox for Green Infrastructure projects on behalf of a consortium of RDAs including the NWDA, Yorkshire Forward, One North East, AWM and the LDA, with Steering Group members also including the Northern Way, Natural England and CABE. Related to the Green Infrastructure agenda, at wider national level, Graeme has developed a particular specialism on the use and calculation of endowments for safeguarding the long term management of new green space assets created through the regeneration process, co-authoring English Partnerships’ Best Practice Note (BPN) on Endowments in 2005, and has since been responsible for assessing the scale of the endowments needed on more than 20 country park assets transferred from English Partnerships / HCA to bodies such as the Land Restoration Trust and local authorities.
So what is the toolbox for, and how does it work?The toolbox provides a simple framework to identify and value the functional benefits of individual green infrastructure investments and existing green assets. It takes into account a wide spectrum of environmental, social and economic returns green investments have the potential to generate, and help articulate their value in qualitative, quantitative and when possible monetised terms.
As Graeme explained, the standard valuation techniques for assessing the potential benefits provided by a project draws on:
‘Scientific values’ e.g.: run-off coefficients
‘Market Values’ e.g.: price of energy
‘Benefit transfer values’ e.g.: recreational user values
Benefits assessed in terms of the functions the GI may perform, support or encourage, depending on the type of project envisaged.
For instance, to estimate recreation, tourism, health and property benefits, we will need to estimate the number of beneficiaries based on the local population and household numbers, and any visitors using a spreadsheet summary output of costs and benefits. Many of the tools use ranges of values which in the end are calculated, however for benefits which cannot be monetised, the Toolbox Guide may help to think about ‘qualitative benefits’.
The session included two case studies ( 1. Dagenham Washland, East London Green Grid, London Thames Gateway Parklands Programme 2. Erith Marshes and Belvedere Links, East London Green Grid, also part of the London Thames Gateway Parklands Programme ) to illustrate how to apply the valuation toolbox.
The user guide ‘Green Infrastructure –’Building Natural Value for Sustainable Economic Development Valuation Toolbox’ expected to be published in autumn 2010.
It was great to see such diverse and well thought through work being taken forward by all. I am sure lots of other London authorities are also doing interesting things but we could only showcase a small selection in the session. If you would like to tell others about your approaches to characterisations studies and other forms of built environment evidence gathering, please add through the discussion forum on the link below.
Thanks too to GOL, English Heritage, DfL, the GLA, HCALondon, RTPI and RIBA for your input – all very helpful.
During the tricky issue session it was particularly interesting to see how ideas around characterisation have moved on, and the importance now given to thinking about how the information gathered will be used.
It was very clear that the purpose of evidence gathering needs to be thought through before work starts, and we could clearly see how the different reasons for studies helped to create very different, but equally valid, approaches.
And lastly – one attendee said he had had a ‘eureka moment’ after 5 hours of presentations and discussions. He finally understand that character is not just about appearance and historic provenance, but about how a place is structured, how it works, who uses it, what they do, how intense activity is etc.
Presentations from the events can be found in the network section of our on line Learning Space here. If you have not used this before then please create a log on for yourself and enjoy. There is also a discussion forum on this page if you would like to add your own observations, thoughts or questions to the network.
- Retrofitting existing housing to improve energy efficiency: The Homes Energy Efficiency Programme aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in London’s housing through retrofitting energy efficiency measures. The LDA is providing seed funding to develop the delivery model for this programme and it’s roll-out. It aims to visit 1.8 million homes in London to retrofit them. They will visit the home, complete a quick survey of the house, and complete those measures that can be done on the day.
- Emerging London Plan Policies: An overall explanation of the emerging London Plan and the key differences was discussed. Some of the main differences are a focus on outer London boroughs and the emphasis on local decisions. The document is available for public consultation until 12 January. Click here for a link to the document and to have your say!
- CABE’s LDF Review:An informal discussion as to how local authorities are incorporating design strategies into their LDF’s. They have published a booklet describing some of what has come out from previous discussions on the topic called ‘Planning for Places ’ – Click here for a link to the document.
- Suburban Design Policy: Raised the questions if there is an opportunity for sharing best practice and design solutions through a London Suburban Typologies Design Guide and if a stronger vision is needed for rediscovering and protecting suburban quality. If you are interested in this question, please place a comment below.
- Presentation on Sustainable Homes: Merton is looking to push a high level of sustainability in its homes while also ensuring that policy takes into account the significant split in property prices thus not constraining development in particular areas. Merton has developed a tool, the Merton Code Cost Calculator (MC3 Model), to make the process of sustainable design construction and standards more structured and provide developers greater certainty on costs.
Potential topics for the next meeting include: English Heritage and PPS15, Lifetime Neighbourhoods, and Characterization Studies. Please place a comment below if you would like to recommend any other topics for the next meeting and if you are interested in attending, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 2009AAP and Background Masterplan Better Homes Public Life Connections Community Delivery and implementation Monitoring Framework
On a very hot and sunny July day a group of about 30 UDL members met outside the Royal Festival Hall to start our summer site visit. Read on to found out what we saw….. [Read more...]
Streets Officer Network Meeting – June 30
It was a full Streets Officer Meeting with 35 people attending and a packed agenda to get through. Topics covered ranged from street clutter to a number of recent Mayoral Projects – including the Cycle Superhighways and the Mayors Great Spaces. [Read more...]