Community Engagement & Localism
> Quality design or design compromise?
This talk and debate, chaired by Lee Mallett, brings together The Glass-House
, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment
and The Building Exploratory.
Some lively debate took place about different approaches to ensuring design quality, and the importance of listening and responding to the community voice.
High quality design begins with a clear vision and good brief, and designing for the public realm and community facilities must draw on local knowledge and aspirations to get that vision and brief right. The Glass-House
explored what both the designer and the community need to know and expect of each other to get the best design possible.
Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive of The Glass-House
, commented: "Localism and changes to planning legislation will present new opportunities for communities to shape their neighbourhoods, but how can we ensure that design quality is not left out of the equation? This talk will be a great opportunity to explore the impact that communities can have on design quality and vice versa." The Prince's Foundation
pioneered the ‘Enquiry by Design’ process to bring community engagement and urban design into the same forum. At the heart of the organisation's work is a belief that neighbourhoods will accept new development that they understand and which reflects recognisable characteristics of the place.
James Hulme, Director of Policy for The Prince’s Foundation
, said: "local people's appetite for collaborative planning, and for development generally, will be stimulated if consultation is seen as a transparent process with demonstrable influence on the final design of schemes."
Nicole Crockett, Chief Executive of The Building Exploratory
, presented their approach to working with communities to celebrating place and the role that knowledge and creativity plays in engaging people with change. She also discussed the recently completed, and award winning, Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground.
Lee Mallett, who chaired this debate, commented: “I’m all for community engagement. The biggest risk in the market is whether you’ll get planning permission or not and that is as it should be in a democracy. But you can’t expect people to vote for development if you don’t engage them in your ideas. Bring it on! The big problem is there are so many bad designers and councillors/planners who don’t know that there are better designers out there.”
> The architecture centre as ‘critical friend’
Open City explored models on how to engage communities effectively in neighbourhood planning.
The Localism Bill aims to provide communities with a greater influence
on local planning matters by allowing them to prepare Neighbourhood
Development Plans. Architecture centres such as Open-City can act as
independent advisors steering negotiations toward a productive
conversation that result in effective local design policy and high
quality local development proposals.
Open-City highlighted its
experience of formulating an effective and highly successful model of
engagement around planning and development with residents and planning
councillors in London, and how this can be replicated elsewhere.
Victoria Thornton, Founding Director of Open-City, said:
the fundamental changes to the planning system, it is essential that
communities, councillors and other local decision makers have access to
specific, expert and independent advice on design that a not for profit
organisation like Open-City can provide.”
Find out more information on:
For some more information on toolkits and were to get advice see the DC CABE website.
The Building ExploratoryOpen-City
Glass-House presentationOpen-City's presentation - The architecture centre as ‘critical friend’
Pidgin Perfect is a creative studio based in Glasgow, Scotland. They work with clients across architecture, community, institutions, government, art and beyond. They combine imagination, technology and craft to help make better communities for everyone. Together with their wider 'flight' of talented collaborators bringing specialist skills to their projects they combine their unique understanding of creating space and place, as architects, with an ability to communicate direct to the public. Their process therefore helps their clients to define meaningful architectural solutions and achieve results truly authentic to them.