2F: Homes and Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods and the Localisation of Life, Duncan Maclennan and Dr. David Waite (Urban Studies, University of Glasgow)

There is a long history of Scottish, and other research, that evidences how poor access to public and private services and amenities may reduce the quality of life and real incomes of poorer and more affluent households. Overcoming distance and time and environmental costs of separating households from the key activity points they use has implications for inclusion, sustainable development and the effective functioning of urban markets. In recent years the 15 or 20 minute neighbourhood has been enthusiastically embraced by planners and policymakers. This paper, recognizing the general desirability of enhanced accessibility, raises key questions about policy application that may be critical to achieve effective outcomes. These include the need to recognize the fuzziness of neighbourhoods and the range of perceptions of and preferences for places: potentially overlooking the spatial logics of wider urban systems such as the distribution of retail/services and labour market geographies: and the challenges presented by politics and processes of public sector reform. Whilst sharing the aims of better neighbourhood services and opportunities this paper addresses the real challenges those seeking to apply the policy may face.

Homes of the future: Why Design Matters?, Dr. James White, (Urban Studies, University of Glasgow)

Creating well-designed homes and neighbourhoods creates more sustainable and resilient place and is a shared ambition of the four UK governments, but is rarely achieved in practice. This presentation shares the findings of a major 2020 report that sought to understand why design quality is so often undervalued and how design-sensitive and sustainable planning and development might be encouraged in the future. Sponsored by the RTPI and the four UK governments, the research examines the process of planning, designing and developing new homes and neighbourhoods using data collected from across the UK. It finds that the design quality of new homes and neighbourhoods is stubbornly low and that the responsibility for delivering design value is shared by the public and private sector. The presentation will outline the principal recommendations and share an animation of the finding, focusing on why the four UK governments should adopt ‘design value standards’ that place neighbourhood urban form principles in regulation and embed the economic, social and environmental value of design at the heart of planning and housebuilding.