Good Design = Good Planning Launch Event @ Alan Baxter Associates, Cowcross Street, Monday 25th June

RTPI London’s “Good Design = Good Planning” series was launched last night with a coalition of design and planning organisations including New London Architecture (NLA) and the London Festival of Architecture (LFA2012), kindly sponsored by AECOM.

RTPI President, Colin Haylock, presented some practical examples of how good planning can deliver good design including Coopers Studios in Newcastle and Bolam Coyne in Byker. A process of “sensitive engagement” and “understanding what is vitally important” for each building was essential in delivering these successful schemes alongside “local planning authority buy-in”. Haylock highlighted good practice guidance such as English Heritage’s Constructive Conservation in Practice and confirmed that the RTPI was working with the government and other partners to ensure there is robust guidance in place to support the NPPF.

NLA Chair, Peter Murray, then introduced a fascinating chronology of how design and planning has evolved over the years with phases of “incremental growth”, “grand plans” moving towards “spatial planning” from the 1980s and to a contemporary discourse where “placemaking is the new buzzword”. Murray also set out a case for better design training for Planning Committees to address a skills gap.

Alan Baxter Associates’ David Taylor introduced a theme of “change” for his presentations and posed the questions “how do we, as designers, respond to what’s imposed on us from political leaders?” and “how do we relate to a changing society?”, including dealing with changing lifestyles and 24-hour cities.

Edward Cullinan Architects’ Robin Nicholson CBE presented case studies of the good, the bad (and the ugly) in urban design and set out what we can learn from these. Nicholson suggested that dealing with climate change will not only be a great necessity, but an opportunity, for design.

RTPI London / AECOM’s Tom Venables then intrdouced the Panel Debate. Questions from the audience included: How does urban design act as the “glue” for the architecture and town planning professions? Who are the contemporary “inspirational” town planners? And how do we demonstrate the benefits of good design to elected members?

Three more “Good design” events are being planned for the autumn and into next year, so keep an eye on the RTPI London Calling Blog for updates or follow the Twitter trend #goodplanning @RTPI_London.


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