Kate Bailey, chair of Policy and Communications Committee at the Landscape Institute said:
“It is commendable that the Government is to fund delivery of new housing infrastructure and more affordable housing; but housing quantity cannot be divorced from housing quality. People want to live in desirable housing, not just any housing. Poor design is a barrier. Existing residents need to believe that new housing will enhance, not diminish, their quality of life and the value of their homes. One way of overcoming public opposition to new housebuilding is to commit to high quality landscape in every new development. If we are to increase housing density as the Government intends and if one outcome is the provision of generous and attractive green spaces and amenities, then hopefully this new housing will be more acceptable to existing communities.
“The quality of where we live is not just determined by the house itself but by the surroundings, a safe neighbourhood, the journey to the school, bus stop or tube. There is no one size fits all solution. The landscape profession already has the tools for incorporating the best design principals. For example ‘Build for Life 12’ is a traffic light system to assess the quality of developments. It asks twelve questions of development proposals, eleven of these are reliant on landscape planning and design. Greater use of ‘Build for Life 12’ by local authorities would play a considerable role in improving design quality and reducing local opposition. In order to effectively promote high quality landscape design in housing, professional knowledge, design skills and leadership are essential.
“The UK features many poorly-designed housing estates and I believe that a landscape led approach is critical in increasing the supply of high quality ‘liveable’ housing. It will help make developments more acceptable to existing and future residents and will be a positive evolution in the way we plan and deliver new communities with sustainable lifestyles fit for the 21st century.”