The Landscape Institute has submitted evidence to the Farrell Review of architecture and the built environment, calling for a focus on liveable cities

Terry Farrell
The Landscape Institute has responded to Terry Farrell's call for evidence

It says in its evidence, ‘The main lesson from the Olympics, we believe, is that the best results for local communities, developers, and cities as a whole are achieved when a concerted, crossprofessional effort is made to create a liveable environment, with long-term legacy uppermost in everyone’s mind. We urge the Farrell review to consider the designed environment as a whole, with a focus on creating liveable cities. This is the way forward for all of the built environment professions, and unless we all think in these terms, none of us can deliver what society needs.’

It warns, ‘Recent proposals to raise the threshold for developments requiring Design and Access Statements (DAS) will have a negative impact on design quality. This undermines the commitment to design quality enshrined in the NPPF and should be abandoned. The requirement to submit a DAS ensures that applicants give due consideration to the design aspects of their proposal before submission. The preparation of a DAS can be of substantial value to the applicant/developer, by providing an opportunity for some rigorous evaluation of design options and choices which should inform all types and scales of development.’

Responding to a question about what local and national bodies can do to promote design quality, the Landscape Institute recommends:

Include robust design policies in Local Plans – to be used to reject poorly-designed
schemes;
– Make Green Infrastructure a subject of supplementary planning documents to add further
detail to local plans. Many local authorities are already doing this, which will go some
way to ensuring that land use is optimised and the natural environment is able to
contribute towards the creation of liveable towns and cities;
– Ensure that local authorities follow the recommendation of the NPPF and use the Design
Review process. No project is too small to go to a Design Review panel. The value of
this process has been encapsulated in the most recent edition of the joint Design Council
CABE, Landscape Institute, RIBA, RTPI publication Design Review: Principles and
Practice (2013);
– Use elected members of local authorities as design champions, perhaps within relevant
committees, such as those responsible for planning, environment, development
management, and regeneration;
– Reinstate Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) as part of the validation of
planning application process at the local authority level (see response to 1.1); and
– Greater responsibility on Local Enterprise Partnerships to recognise the value of good
design in promoting sustainable economic growth.

‘- Include robust design policies in Local Plans – to be used to reject poorly-designed schemes;

– Make Green Infrastructure a subject of supplementary planning documents to add further detail to local plans. Many local authorities are already doing this, which will go some way to ensuring that land use is optimised and the natural environment is able to contribute towards the creation of liveable towns and cities;

– Ensure that local authorities follow the recommendation of the NPPF and use the Design Review process. No project is too small to go to a Design Review panel. The value of this process has been encapsulated in the most recent edition of the joint Design Council CABE, Landscape Institute, RIBA, RTPI publication Design Review: Principles and Practice (2013);

– Use elected members of local authorities as design champions, perhaps within relevant committees, such as those responsible for planning, environment, development management, and regeneration;

– Reinstate Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) as part of the validation of planning application process at the local authority level

– Greater responsibility on Local Enterprise Partnerships to recognise the value of good design in promoting sustainable economic growth.’

In its response the Landscape Institute also warns against complacency in believing that the UK can always teach lessons to other countries. In many ways, it says, others are ahead of us and we should learn from them. It says: ‘Singapore is already well ahead of the UK in BIM adoption, so it is already reaping the benefits of reduced costs and integrated decision-making in the construction sector. At the same time, it is ahead of most countries in its thought leadership on the liveability agenda and has turned itself into the greenest and most attractive place in Southeast Asia. South Korea has much to teach us on smart cities, and Australia is investing millions of dollars into the research and design of water-sensitive cities. If we think there is brand value in these things we need to catch up with these countries, not pretend we are ahead of them.’

You can read the full response here.

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