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...

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...

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,...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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

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...