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08/03/2021

Framework for successful community development set out

Words: Laura Edgar
Planning / iStock-166225668

A framework that identifies a set of principles to ensure that large-scale development delivers the high-quality homes needed to meet demand and the needs of local communities has been published as a poll finds that two-thirds of the public think new development is poor.

21st Century New Communities: Raising the Ambition, the Urban Land Institute UK (ULI UK) and urban design and planning practice Prior + Partners, aims to establish a “new paradigm” for large-scale development that “unites and inspires all those involved in the delivery of new towns, villages and urban extensions”.

The government wants to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s to meet housing demand and a shortfall in past delivery. As part of this it has set up a garden communities programme, which includes funding. It is also reforming the planning system to help in meeting its target.

The report notes that alongside the development of brownfield land and high-density urban regeneration, large-scale development such as new towns and garden cities will have a role in meeting the housing shortage while providing “unique opportunities to explore and demonstrate new models of creating thriving, sustainable communities”.

A poll gathered by ULI UK and YouGov highlights that support for large developments depends on their quality. It found that 67 per cent of 2,057 respondents felt that the quality of current new community development is poor overall.

Vanessa Hale, chair, ULI UK, said: “Everyone is well aware of the housing crisis which the UK is facing, but the built environment industry and public sector tasked with meeting that challenge are facing their own crisis: a crisis of public confidence that not only can it deliver required housing volumes but that large-scale new development can be part of the solution which meets the needs of local communities with high-quality, sustainable places where people will, fundamentally, love living.

“We know that the industry possesses the skills to deliver amazing places, as evidenced by the quality of some of our large-scale urban regeneration schemes, but also that we can and must do better to raise the level of ambition for what new developments can provide.

“Drawing on examples of best practice, this report builds on previous work to date exploring how to address the supply, diversity, and quality of UK housing and, we hope, provides a new framework for successful and sustainable new community development.”

ULI UK and YouGov said green space and parks was the number one factor that would help gain the support of the public. The top five factors were:

  • 39 per cent - Green space.
  • 35 per cent - Affordable housing.
  • 33 per cent - Provision for wildlife.
  • 32 per cent - Community services.
  • 26 per cent - New employment opportunities.

ULI UK pointed out that these factors align with the attributes set out in the report as being fundamental to successful development.

Jason Prior, Prior + Partners, commented: “The UK’s housing challenge is deep and the creation of high-quality new community developments that are distinctive, resilient and well connected, where people can live healthy and productive lifestyles, can be part of its solution.

“Future new communities will need to be very different to those of the recent past to be truly inspirational and sustainable places to live and they must focus centrally on what it is that the people who live in them value most. Delivering on this ambition will require robust engagement, new stewardship models and new thinking on funding and investment from both the public and private sector. This will ensure that there is early and sustainable investment in placemaking and strategic infrastructure, which are central to effective community building and to delivering both economic and social value.”

The report can be found here on the ULI UK website.

Image credit | iStock

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