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Challenges and opportunities Richard Simmons Chief executive. 9 March 2011. The three alleged Chinese curses. The third worst curse : May you live in interesting times The second worst : May you come to the attention of the government The worst curse : May you find what you seek.

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the three alleged chinese curses
The three alleged Chinese curses
  • The third worst curse: May you live in interesting times
  • The second worst: May you come to the attention of the government
  • The worst curse: May you find what you seek
the actual chinese saying
The actual Chinese saying
  • It is better to live as a dog in a time of order than as a man in a time of chaos
nick boles conservative mp for grantham and stamford december 2010
Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford, December 2010
  • "Do you believe planning works? That clever people sitting in a room can plan how people's communities should develop, or do you believe it can't work?
  • I believe it can't work, David Cameron believes it can't, Nick Clegg believes it can't.
  • Chaotic therefore in our vocabulary is a good thing”
was he actually talking about emergent self organisation
Was he actually talking about emergent self-organisation?

“Self-organising systems solve problems using masses of relatively stupid elements, rather than a single, intelligent ‘executive’. They are bottom up, not top down. Ants create colonies, urbanites create neighbourhoods”

Steven Johnson, Emergence, 2001

so what s changing
So what’s changing?
  • Big cuts in public spending
  • Localism and the Big Society
  • Open Source Planning
  • Housing policy and standards
  • The benefits system
  • The Green Deal
  • The HCA – a smaller facilitator
  • CABE – shrinking, no longer a QUANGO, merging with the Design Council
the self organising emergent design policy arc david cameron mp
The self-organising, emergent design policy arc: David Cameron MP
  • “Residents know best how to make their neighbourhoods better places to live” – June 2007
  • “More powers for local people to plan the look, size, shape and feel of housing developments
  • “We’ve got to give professionals much more freedom” – July 2010
grant shapps mp 25 november 2010
Grant Shapps MP, 25 November 2010
  • “Private and public housing standards should be exactly the same”
  • “I want the Local Standards Framework to be developed by you. You should determine what the standards specify. You are the people who know most about the impact of regulations and codes. So who better to ask to help deliver a better system”
john howell mp pps to greg clarke and author of open source planning 2 february 2011
John Howell MP, PPS to Greg Clarke and author of Open Source Planning, 2 February 2011
  • “We should continue to encourage the industry to raise the quality of the built environment. Design is important.  We have no intention of abolishing the duty on local authorities to have regard to the desirability of achieving good design.  It remains a powerful lever both in local decision making and plan setting”
what grant shapps wants march 2011
What Grant Shapps wants, March 2011
  • “I want developers to think outside Legoland designs and consider how the expertise, knowledge and materials that are locally available could be best used to reflect the identity of their surrounding neighbourhood”
what greg clarke believes march 2011
What Greg Clarke believes, March 2011
  • “When local people have the chance to influence the function and appearance of developments, opposition can be turned into enthusiasm and buildings are constructed that we can be proud of”
what s needed now
What’s needed now
  • A rational standards framework based on the Building Regulations
  • The “presumption in favour of sustainable development” in the Planning and Localism Act and National Planning Policy Framework must demand good design
  • Delivery of good design through Local Development Frameworks, Neighbourhood Plans and planning consents
  • Expert design advice for local people
key issues sustainability the green deal
Key Issues: Sustainability - The Green Deal
  • The Energy Bill currently in the Lords includes a new ‘Green Deal’
  • Retrofit of existing stock is fundamental – 85% of existing housing stock could still be standing in 2050
  • “The greatest benefits will be achieved through delivering improvements at a neighbourhood scale with community leadership”
  • CABE/Sustainable Development Commission, The Future is Local, 2010
key issues understanding and delivering the public benefit of good design
Key Issues: Understanding and delivering the public benefit of good design
  • Good design ‘can improve social well-being quality of life and a community’s sense of pride in the neighbourhood as well as people’s willingness to accept new development at all’
  • Bring public health benefits – research shows that poor housing costs society more than £1.5 billion a year
  • Increase property values
  • Reduce opportunities for crime
key issues improving design quality
Key Issues: Improving design quality
  • CABE’s housing audits – based on the Building for Life criteria - of market and affordable housing and Kick-start revealed that design quality was not good enough:
so w hat are the opportunities for you to influence design quality
So what are the opportunities for you to influence design quality?
  • Lead in setting up neighbourhood forums
  • Facilitate Community Right to Build
  • Use Building for Life as a community tool
  • Use design review
  • Influence and own new standards
  • Be a good client
above all commit acts of senseless beauty our children will thank you for your creativity
Above all, commit acts of senseless beauty –our children will thank you for your creativity
  • “Whether it’s a house, or the stars, or the desert, what makes them beautiful is invisible”
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
thank you

Thank you