Exploit views

Views to the sea, across a land- or townscape, towards lakes, rivers, greenery or a local landmark will reinforce a sense of place and provide a popular outlook from homes, and a plan can be manipulated to make sure that as many homes as possible have access to the view (Figure 2.36). If they can't it might be possible to provide an exclusive point of access to the view for home owners. This was done at Seaside in Florida. Residents were given access to private beach pavilions, thus allowing...

Other Building Types Within Residential Areas

Other uses common in new residential areas include community or religious buildings and kindergartens. Community and religious buildings can form a prominent traditional and meaningful focus within a layout. Where the building forms are particularly distinct, and they are located at important junctions or adjacent to significant public spaces, such buildings can make a useful orientation point within a layout (Figure 6.37) (see Chapter 7). Kindergartens often appear in European schemes where...

Schools In Residential Areas

It is common within schemes accommodating between 2500 and 4500 people for a primary school to be built as part of the scheme, whilst the quality of local schools is also a critical selling point for housing generally. Early designs put the school at the centre of the neighbourhood, as it was felt that the institution helped with community cohesion children could safely walk the short distance from their homes, whilst the playing field and hall could be used for community events (Figure 6.21)....

Promote biodiversity

Many urban open spaces and green areas have traditionally been heavily manicured to look maintained, but sterile manicured lawns and exotic plants do not make a significant contribution to biodiversity. Laurie (1979 xvi-xvii) and Hough (1984) argue that ornamental parkland and manicured landscapes, designed primarily for their aesthetic appeal, can provide little habitat diversity. Instead, if biodiversity is to be encouraged, it is necessary to support or plant a greater diversity of...

Foils and incidents

In both the informal and formal townscape traditions the drama of a Figure 8.20 Punctuation can create a pause in an otherwise longer view down a street townscape is sometimes realised by a deliberate visual interplay between contrasting forms. This might result from judiciously locating a large tree within an otherwise highly urban setting. In this respect, both the 'urban-ness' of the buildings and the 'naturalness' of the tree become highlighted. In townscape language, the tree is called a...

Types Of Urban Space

Urban space is not merely distinguishable as either outdoor or indoor. Instead, from an urban design perspective, it is better to distinguish between four types of outdoor space which reflect who will have access to the space and something about how it will be perceived and used. Public space Public space refers to urban space which is easily accessible to the general public at any time of day or night (Figure 3.5). Streets are an obvious type of public space which people can physically enter...

Maintain naturalised watercourses

Studying and understanding how water drains off an existing site should be an important element of any site analysis, and the role that existing watercourses make should be particularly explored. In a natural state, rivers and streams can offer an approach to drainage that is in equilibrium with broader environmental conditions and that requires little management. The natural state of the watercourse also offers a great source of biodiversity and is a good resource of both educational and...

Reuse Old Buildings And Land

Within any site designated for residential development, it is desirable to consider the scope and viability of reusing previously developed old Figure 4.28 Within any scheme it is always desirable to consider the scope and viability of reusing existing buildings so that resources are recycled Figure 4.28 Within any scheme it is always desirable to consider the scope and viability of reusing existing buildings so that resources are recycled buildings and land (Figure 4.28). Environmentally,...

A clear edge to a neighbourhood

It has long been recognised that people are territorial and have some sense of 'their patch' and often, although not always, physical elements define the boundaries that exist between these territories. Such territories result from economic, social, cultural or racial differences between people. Studies of housing markets, for example, highlight how one side of a street, railway or river might be highly desirable, whilst on the other, despite the close proximity, houses might be cheaper and...

Features Of An Environmentally Benign Lifestyle

People who try to live more environmentally sustainable lives typically do so for ethical reasons, and not because of the way their environment is designed. More likely, they will choose to live in an environment that allows them to pursue their desired lifestyle, or they will adapt their environment as far as possible to allow them to live a particular way. According to research by Bedford et al. (2004) people living a more sustainable way would 1 walk and cycle as often as possible, or...

Designing For Young People

The public spaces of a housing scheme are used most extensively by children and teenagers coming and going, playing and, as they get older, hanging out. This active use of space is important for physiological and psychological development. The neutrality of a public space is particularly important to young people who are developing their own identities and are seeking a space away from the direct gaze of adults and where they can start to be themselves. Clare Cooper Marcus and Wendy Sarkissian...

Consider the impact of wind

The qualities of wind affecting a site can be found by researching wind roses which indicate the typical direction, strength and cooling affect of winds impacting on a site at different times of the year. Some winds may be positively used to cool the urban environment in hotter climates, and so homes need to be Figure 4.39 Sun spaces on southerly facing fa ades help to warm a home, particularly when combined with thermal mass within the building structure Figure 4.39 Sun spaces on southerly...

Orientate homes to manage access to heat and light from the sun

In hotter climates natural lighting is desirable, but the excesses of heating need to be managed. In such a context deep balconies or overhangs on sun lit elevations will provide natural shading wall and roof insulation will keep heat out of living spaces while natural forms of ventilation off shaded surfaces or areas will help air flow through a home and allow natural cooling (Figure 4.38). Figure 4.38 Balconies and overhangs on sunlit elevations will create naturally cooling shade In cooler...

Use green roofs

Where traditional pitched roofs are replaced with roofs containing grass sod or other relevant plants, water is retained in the earth on the roof. In such roofs runoff can be minimal (Kennedy, 1997 61). Such roofs also have other advantages. They can help insulate a building from both heat and noise reduce extremes of heat in hot weather provide a habitat for wildlife as well as look attractive as a result of the natural planting (Figure 4.30). Figure 4.30 An example of a green roof which would...

Parking courts

Parking courts arrange cars collectively into a courtyard or mews either in front or to the rear of homes (Figure 5.69). To the front, cars can be seen from the houses. To the rear the space must be planned to have surveillance-the Poundbury block discussed above shows how this can be achieved successfully, with houses or apartments included within the parking court but away from the main street. Successful parking courts, particularly to the rear, tend to have controlled access, or are...

Learning From Townscape Precedents

As with many of the themes and issues considered in this book, it is extremely valuable to collect examples of precedents to inform your appreciation and thinking, as well as to allow you to reflect on what you want to realise within your designs. Precedents in townscape allow us to consider the various qualities that have been achieved in the past, so it is always useful to sketch or take pictures of impressive views created by the layout of buildings and spaces within the landscape so that...

The Value Of Design

England's Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment tried to explore the extent to which people were prepared to pay a premium to live in a better designed scheme (CABE, 2003). They found that people would pay more to live in schemes where a distinctive 'sense of place' had been achieved and that such schemes would help to make specific locations, and therefore the land on which they are built, far more desirable and valuable (Figure 2.9). However, this is not just restricted to one...

The Scale Of Streets Introduce Hierarchy And Spatial Variety

Creating distinctive places within residential areas involves designing a variety of scales into the block structure that is adopted. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but when considering the block structure the most relevant thing to consider is the need to introduce some kind of spatial hierarchy into the pattern of streets and spaces to be created. In relation to streets it is likely that some streets will have a greater degree of pedestrian and vehicular activity associated with...

Ensure A Basic Level Of Amenities In Residential Layouts

People living in residential areas expect a certain level of Figure 3.36 Limit the use of buffers light to internal rooms, privacy, and possibly outdoor space. These features contribute to the residents' comfort and are referred to as amenities. They are also factors that are affected by the chosen layout of the scheme as much as by the architecture that might be adopted within individual homes. Different societies have different expectations when it comes to which amenities are important to...

Outdoor Space

Residential uses located above other types of activities can have access to outdoor space (Figure 6.35). All apartments can have balconies. Where a ground floor activity is serviced from the front, residents can have access to a rear courtyard, and where ground floor activity is serviced from the rear, then semi-private space can be Figure 6.34 Try and find ways to reduce the impact of service areas on views from homes Figure 6.34 Try and find ways to reduce the impact of service areas on views...

The impact of a longer development period

Such a scheme might take slightly longer to build, however, and it is interesting and important to note that increasing the build time to 3 years would increase the cost of borrowing as well as the contingency costs. For this scheme the impact on the land value is as given below. Cost of borrowing for building and fees 2 (6,904,000 4 3,883,500 + Interest paid 3,883,500 (1 + (0.08 4))4 x 3 3,883,500 + Interest paid 3,883,500 (1.02)12 3,883,500 + Interest paid 3,883,500 (1.26824179456255)...

Catchments And Permeability

Catchments are heavily influenced by patterns of accessibility, and when assessing a catchment for a business it is necessary to measure the real distance that residents will have to travel if they want to use a given service. Businesses established in areas with a low level of permeability will need to have larger catchments than businesses established in areas where routes are more direct (Figure 6.31). The level of permeability therefore combines with the pattern of uses to make an area...

Valuing the phased scheme

Danning Homes prepare a phased valuation for their scheme, splitting the work up into three phases. A rough summary of the costing is below to show the impact on the land value. Twenty-two houses built along the northern Twenty-nine houses built in the second cul-de-sac Nineteen houses built at the front of the site Note over a 3 year period the values used will vary as a result of interest rates influencing the surplus values and inflation affecting costs, although this hasn't been reflected...

Keep away from bad neighbours

A good site analysis will highlight if there are uses or other features neighbouring a site that will detract from the value of homes. If this is the case, it may be necessary to plant a buffer of trees to hide the offending view, or if the feature is smaller it may be simply necessary to orientate the backs of new houses to it so that it is not visible from the public realm (Figure 2.46).

Create Opportunities For Local Food Production

Figure 4.48 Provide opportunities for residents to sort and recycle their waste Gardens and allotments have traditionally been important spaces for people who wish to grow their own food, and increasing awareness of the distances that supermarket food travels nowadays (Roseland 1998 AEA Technology Environment, 2005) has encouraged environmentally aware people to revisit the extent to which they might use the principles of permaculture to grow food within the vicinity of their home. From a...

Water conservation

In a country like the UK, famous for its rain, you would assume that there are no water problems, but this is far from the truth. The average rainfall is 897 mm year, while in the less populated mountains of Wales rainfall can be over 4000 mm year, but and in parts of the East and South East of England the rainfall can be under 550 mm year. The UK has a very well developed system of water distribution. However, because of the density of population in the East and South East, serving the...

The Precautionary Principle

Some would argue that there is still insufficient scientific evidence relating to human impacts on the environment. As a result they would argue that we don't need to concern ourselves with environmental degradation, particularly in urban development. In response to this, however, the 'precautionary principle' has emerged. The principle appears in the Rio Declaration in 1992 and states 'In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according...

Building place and defining space

This chapter introduces the importance of designing urban form and a succession of places within residential schemes. It discusses the types of space that we create within the urban environment when we lay out homes and how these spaces should be configured. Different types of block structure are introduced and discussed. The importance of amenity standards is also considered. The chapter concludes with a brief explanation about how we shouldn't let these amenity standards dictate the form of...

Territoriality and defensible space

A design of the built environment can create, in residents, a sense of responsibility and control for a defined area if particular qualities are achieved. Oscar Newman (1972) called this 'defensible space'. In his research, he explored the extent to which residents felt they had control over the spaces within and around 14-storey apartment buildings in deprived housing projects in New York. Using the categories of space that were defined in Chapter 3, he found that between the public streets...

Image style and meaning

Developers work hard to create the right stylistic impression for their homes. The dominant trend in housing for sale is homes that are neotradi-tional in styling. Sometimes these are relatively faithful reproductions of former styles, although, on other occasions, designers might loosely use certain motifs because they are regarded as popular. In areas where there are distinctive building traditions, such housing styles might be encouraged by the planning system and a concern to reinforce the...

Livework

The idea of introducing live work units provides another opportunity for the creation of mixed uses within a scheme. The idea is not new as Europe, in particular, has a long tradition of people 'living above the shop' but it certainly appears to have been reinvented and its image transformed. The concept is relatively straightforward that people live and work in their accommodation. The idea emerged following observation of how artists live in or next to their studio space, usually in low cost...

Mixed Use Ambitions

Compared to older residential areas, many new areas like Pontprennau in Cardiff, tend to have far fewer smaller businesses planned into their form. Developers in such situations tend to, rather lazily, just provide commercial space for national chain stores rather than create opportunities for local entrepreneurs. The plan for New Islington in Manchester is an interesting contrast. Extracts from the project's website (http www. newislington.co.uk ) illustrate the positive ambition for promoting...

Density

The most obvious mechanism available for increasing the value of a scheme is to build more homes on a given site. Average densities in the UK are about 25 units per hectare, although more recently, as a result of national planning policy, higher density schemes have emerged in high demand locations. Not uncommon now are schemes with a mix of houses and apartments at over 30 units per hectare, and even apartment buildings that achieve over 100 dwellings per hectare. It has been noted that this...

Closed vistas

One of the most common townscape qualities is the idea of closing a vista (Figure 8.21). Long views through a scheme sometimes end in nothing for example, the side of a house or a group of garages. To make a view more memorable, and to add a sense of purpose, coherence, and quality to a residential area, it may be possible to deliberately locate special house types to close an important view. On certain higher order junctions, this might include the careful design and location of apartment...

Watercourses And Sustainable Urban Drainage

Previously it has been suggested that greater concern should be shown for the conservation and management of water in residential areas. Architecturally it is possible to introduce, for example, water efficient household appliances or grey water recycling into the design of individual buildings. Such matters are beyond the scope of this book (see Howarth 2000 or Kennedy 1997). In terms of site layout and urban design, however, it should be possible to maintain existing watercourses in a...

Districts

Urban areas often contain districts that people recognise. Such districts may contain a particular population or, in design terms, might contain buildings from a particular period, or even of a distinctive style. Often where the character of an area is regarded as particularly positive, new developments might be designed to reinforce that character and therefore help to maintain the distinctive identity. However, where areas are homogeneous and monotonous, a design opportunity for new...

Provide Facilities That Allow Residents To Recycle Their Waste

Localities have very different approaches to the management of waste, and it is important that schemes should dovetail with local collection schemes. Within a layout, however, the design implications of supporting recycling need not be complicated. For example, within some schemes it might be possible to have collection points for sorted waste within walking distances from people's homes in other areas, where doorstep collections occur, it might be desirable to provide more space for the...

Environmental Sustainability By Design

Although it is possible to create the physical conditions for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle within a scheme it does not mean that residents will live in the desired way. It is important, therefore, not to be environmentally deterministic in your approach and assume that your design will result in an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. A common assumption, for example, is that if you provide local shops, people will use them in preference to shops that are further away....

Drain into a permeable area

Rather than draining water off roofs, paths or lightly trafficked roads into a complex system of pipes, SUDS would mean that water drains as soon as possible into one of a number of permeable features that would allow a more natural rate of groundwater recharging Soakaway A soakaway is a specific area that has a permeable surface and which, following rain, is able to temporarily store water prior to its infiltration into the ground. A grassed or semi-paved area could, for example, be put over a...

Energy efficiency and housing forms

Homes with less exposed external surfaces are more energy efficient, as heat is always lost through roofs, walls and floors. As a result, apartments and terraced houses are more energy efficient than semi-detached or detached homes. Denser buildings may also be more sheltered from cooling winds by surrounding buildings (Figure 4.37). Figure 4.37 Apartments and terraces are more energy efficient whilst denser configurations provide more shelter from winds in exposed locations

End parking

Another common arrangement for parking in Europe is end parking, where parking is arranged perpendicular to the residential block at the end of a terrace. Access to homes is then via narrow pedestrian-dominated routes, although generous dimensions still allow for delivery of goods. Often the parking area is also the location for waste and recycling facilities. This arrangement keeps the parking a short distance away from homes, allowing space around the homes to be used by residents and, in...

Waste reduction

Waste is a big problem and countries are keen to encourage and support attempts made by local authorities to reduce waste production at source and, in particular, encourage recycling and composting. A country like the UK has an improving record. In 2001 it recycled 13 of its waste, preferring to put 81 into landfill. In 2004 5 the figure had changed to 23.9 being recycled or composted, whilst 72 went into the land (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2006a). The USA has a better...

Environmentally benign development and design

It is possible to create developments that respect natural processes, have a lower impact on the environment and generate physical conditions for a low energy lifestyle. People who live there would then be able to make a greater contribution to environmental sustainability. Initially, this chapter will discuss the main environmental problems that could be confronted through the design of residential schemes. There are four main themes reducing pollution and limiting the production of gases that...

Consumer Preferences

Figure 2.9 CABE research found that well designed housing in Chelmsford, Essex achieved 10.3 greater residual value than a comparable standardised scheme in a similar location Figure 2.9 CABE research found that well designed housing in Chelmsford, Essex achieved 10.3 greater residual value than a comparable standardised scheme in a similar location Figure 2.10 New housing in the centre of Bakewell, Derbyshire is in walking distance of many facilities, shops and services Figure 2.10 New housing...

Limit The Use Of Buffers

A particular characteristic of contemporary residential development is the prevalence of buffers or border zones around the residential communities. These are areas of open space or landscaping that isolate the new residential areas from their immediate context, but without having any obvious open space function. Sometimes they are introduced along busier roads so that no residents have to be affected by the traffic at other times they are introduced between new and existing communities. The...

Mixeduse Building Access Servicing And Sound

It is important for vertically mixed-use buildings to ensure that conflicts do not occur between the uses during the life of a scheme. Sometimes commercial buildings have a larger footprint than residential uses and so it may be possible to use the additional area on the exposed roof for residential gardens, balconies or access (Figure 6.32). Access for residential and commercial businesses should be kept separate so that each type of use is secure, and activities-like repeated commercial...

Phasing the development

The phasing of a scheme would be planned to allow successful marketing, to protect new residents' amenities and to bring the units most in demand to sale first. Some house builders would plan a marketing suite of homes into a scheme. These would typically be built at the entrance to the scheme, so that home buyers can look at model house types whilst the scheme behind is being built. A future double garage could be used as the marketing office. The first phase would then be selected in a...

Management and restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants are commonly used in some countries to control the form of housing or activities occurring within a residential area. Their purpose is to manage residential amenities and therefore maintain property values. The covenant takes the form of a legal agreement and it can stipulate, for example the size of plot and home allowed the need to get approval for a design from an 'architectural review committee' what types of construction must be used the setbacks required between the...

Loss of biodiversity

Development can maintain, develop or destroy habitats and ecosystems that provide the environmental conditions needed to support distinctive communities of flora and fauna. Built environments can sometimes, however, be regarded as environments where little remains of a biodiversity that once prevailed, although there are approaches to planning and design which can also provide more opportunity for nature and natural processes to flourish. The need to protect and enhance biodiversity within...

Further Reading

The Urban Land Institute has produced the excellent Residential Development Handbook which includes very useful chapters on the development process, project feasibility and financing (Schmitz, 2004). Further advice about costing developments can be pieced together from a number of sources including Darlow (1988), Cadman and Topping (1995) and Isaac (1996). These books tend to focus on commercial property development but residential schemes do get a look in. A useful introduction to the house...

Energy Efficient Residential Forms

There are now many architectural solutions which help provide more energy efficient homes, thus relying less on fossil fuels. Homes and landscapes can be designed for construction using a combination of recycled materials and materials which contain low levels of 'embodied' energy used in their manufacture and delivery (Figure 4.35) (see Edwards, 2000 Newton and Westaway, 1999 Harris and Borer, 2005). South facing surfaces can be fitted with photovoltaic cells (Figure 4.36) or solar water...

Pollution and climate change

Urban areas are often regarded as some of the most polluted environments on the planet. Historically, the main forms of pollution affecting urban areas have been caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, resulting in high levels of sulphur dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Where cleaner forms of fuel are now being used for generating power, most of the pollution comes from traffic emissions. While the resulting pollutants are less visible, the forms of pollution have negative...

The Spatial Distribution Of Uses

The type of uses that might be possible within an area also depends on how they are to be developed spatially. Four arrangements would seem to give an indication of how urban areas and patterns of use might develop. People needing access to shops and other facilities within the new residential schemes will probably find them provided in one of these four forms. 1 Centralising shops and facilities Some designers, having studied traditional patterns of urban development, locate a mix of uses at...

Some common residential block structures

Although a range of residential block structures have been adopted, some specific forms tend to be more common than others. The periphery block was probably the most common form of block structure until the 1930s when other block structures were experimented with. More recently, however, periphery blocks are suggested for a wide range of contexts as a result of the influence of the publication Responsive Environments (Bentley et al. 1985). The basic principle reflects the advice given...

Using natural features to define spaces

It is not necessary to use only buildings to define space within the urban environment trees and shrubs can provide a distinctive town-scape form and atmosphere. At the most general level, you may need to decide whether the character of a settlement will result from the buildings seen within a green setting, or whether any trees will be an addition to the urban spaces created between the buildings. It is possible, within a scheme, to vary its character by changing the role of the landscaping....

Plan the net densities

Higher net densities of residential development are often associated with areas where there is a high demand for housing, although more recently it has been argued that higher net densities of development may also allow people to live more sustainably. The theory is straightforward the more people that live within the vicinity of a given shop, service or facility, the more likely that its use will be sustained. The desirable distance for people wishing to walk to either their shops or a local...

Radburn

The name Radburn refers to the community in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Here, Clarence Stein and Henry Wright created a neighbourhood where the patterns of access for pedestrians and vehicles are completely separate. A radburn layout involves creating a form of block where one side of a home faces the vehicle access and parking, whilst the other side faces pedestrian routes and community spaces Figure 5.16 . In this scheme, locating private gardens becomes difficult as the pattern of access to both...

Bibliography

Addenbrooke, P., Bruce, D., Courtney, I., Hellewell, S., Nisbet, A. and Young, T. 1981 Urban Planning and Design of Road Public Transport, London Confederation of British Passenger Transport. AEA Technology Environment 2005 The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development, London DEFRA. Aldous, T. 1992 Urban Villages A concept for creating mixed-use urban developments on a sustainable scale, London Urban Villages Group. Appleyard, D., Lynch, K. and Meyer, J. 1964 The View...