Place Alliance Seeking Case Studies Showcasing Good Design

The Place Alliance is joining forces with Civic Voice and the Urban Design Group to explore how we can deliver high standards of design quality in new housing development in economically disadvantaged areas or in areas where poor design has been the norm in the recent past. Can you help us to identify stories of success by nominating new housing developments that raise the bar for design quality?

The challenge

Research published in 2019 by the Place Alliance and examining the external built environment revealed a stark divide between the quality of housing development in different parts of the country as determined by relative affluence. The analysis showed that poorly designed schemes are almost ten times more likely to be built in the least affluent areas than in affluent areas.

However, this is not always the case. The same study also revealed that it is possible to deliver well-designed schemes in disadvantaged areas while poor quality projects are sometimes built within affluent localities. A common story seems to be that communities whose local planning authorities are unwilling to accept substandard developments and instead push housebuilders for better design quality are typically those that benefit from better designed housing.

Unfortunately, follow-up research pointed to a particular reluctance amongst some local planning authorities to pursue better design outcomes, and that these tend to be concentrated in certain parts of the country where expectations are lower and less scrupulous housebuilders are allowed to ‘get away with it’.

To break this cycle, we need to identify stories of success that can inspire others to push for better and to understand how this is done. As Government policy says, “The creation of high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental … and helps make development acceptable to communities”.

What are we looking for?

To start this process, we are seeking examples of major housing developments where, in your view, design quality in the external built environment has been achieved. In other words, in how a development looks, how it functions, how it fits into its surroundings, the amenities it offers residents, and so on.

We are interested in schemes from all regions of England and particularly projects located in economically disadvantaged areas or in localities where poor quality new housing development has dominated in recent decades. Projects should be at least 50 homes and either currently under development or completed in the last ten years.

If you would like to nominate a project, then please fill out our online form below: this should take no more than two to three minutes to complete.

Click here to fill out our online form