One of the highlights of the optimistic few weeks at the beginning of 2020 was the publication of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report. Many months in the making, it represented the distillation of the views of a number of accomplished and enlightened experts involved with urban design and placemaking, all of whom were concerned by the poor standards of development they saw around them.
The report is perhaps a little wordy, but it contains some interesting ideas, and some of these have clearly attracted the attention of Government, because we can see them reflected in the recent Planning White Paper.
More than lip-service
This is encouraging, because most of us working in Planning recognise that a good deal of what is built is not as good as it could be, and the Commission is pushing on many partly open doors. However, it needs to continue to work hard to ensure that its recommendations are properly carried through into practice, as part of a culture shift; there is a danger that Government will pay lip-service to them, and use its apparent acceptance of them to put a gloss on deregulation and initiatives to push for more home-building.
Beautiful = Better
At the very least, the Commission’s report may have reinforced the self-confidence of planners and many in the development industry who genuinely want to see better and more attractive places being built; and Covid-19 has undoubtedly led to consumers being even more receptive to measures such as those aimed at improving space standards, public realm and air quality.
Read hgh’s new Briefing Note on this issue here.
Image courtesy of Ryan Kelly