University College London

Share your expertise, meet ambitious peers and collaborate on research projects and leadership initiatives for a better present.

5 Minute Thesis

Hi all,Just a quick reminder that there will be a social event this Friday, 1-2pm (BST) on Teams. We'll be hosting a 5-minute thesis event, where scholars will tell us about an area of their research—for no more than five minutes! It's a great way to learn more about what other scholars have been getting up to this summer, as well as letting us know what you've been working on!We hope to see you there.All the best,Phoebe Thomas (she/her)UCL Laidlaw Society Events Officer 

Informal Catch Up (Friday, 1-2 PM BST)

Hi all,I hope you've had a wonderful weekend! This is a reminder that the first scheduled UCL Laidlaw society event will be taking place this Friday, 1-2 PM (BST). This is a virtual social event that will give you the opportunity to chat to other scholars, including those in their second year of the research programme.We hope you can join us on the day!Have a great week,Phoebe Thomas (she/her)UCL Laidlaw Society Events Officer 

Q&A session for new scholars

Hi!I hope you're all doing great! I wanted to let you know that the UCL Laidlaw Committee will be hosting a Q&A session tomorrow afternoon. This will give new scholars a chance to ask about anything that's been on your mind—we want to address any concerns or queries you might have about the programme, research, and more!If you're interested in taking part, then it would be fantastic if you could let us know what time you're available on Friday via the poll below: hope you can join us tomorrow! Phoebe (she/her)Events Officer
Jan 21, 2020

Laidlaw Scholars contribute to new report on housing development design quality

UCL Laidlaw Scholars Anastassia Gusseinova and Fola Olaleye contributed towards the report by Place Alliance highlighting the low quality of design in new housing developments.  Press release below. Place Alliance Press Release Housing design in England overwhelmingly ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’ The design of new housing developments in England is overwhelmingly ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’, with less-affluent communities the worst affected, according to a national audit conducted by UCL for CPRE, the countryside charity, and the Place Alliance. A housing design audit for England reveals that 75% of new housing development should not have gone ahead due to ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’ design.  The report, an audit of over 140 housing developments built across England since 2007, found that one in five of these developments should have been refused planning permission outright as their poor design was contrary to advice given in the National Planning Policy Framework. A further 54% should not have been granted permission without significant improvements to their design having been made first.The audit also found that: • Less affluent communities are ten times more likely to get worse design, even though better design is affordable;• Low-scoring housing developments scored especially badly in terms of character and sense of place, with architecture that does not respond to the context in which it is located;• The worst reported aspects of design include developments dominated by access roads and the poor integration of storage, bins and car parking, leading to unattractive and unfriendly environments with likely negative health and social implications;• Some gains have been made - schemes scored relatively highly for safety and security and were also typically successful at integrating a variety of sizes of house;Professor Matthew Carmona (The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL) Chair of the Place Alliance, who led the research, said: “Research has consistently shown that high quality design makes new residential developments more acceptable to local communities and delivers huge social, economic and environmental value to all, yet we are still failing in this regard across England. “Planning authorities are under pressure to deliver new homes and are therefore prioritising numbers in the short-term over the long-term negative impacts of bad design. At the same time, house builders have little incentive to improve when their designs continue to pass through the planning system. Some highways authorities, meanwhile, do not even recognise their role in creating a sense of place for communities.   “Collectively, house builders, planning authorities and highways authorities need to significantly raise their game. This can’t come soon enough”. Tom Fyans, Campaigns and Policy Director at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “The Government has presided over a decade of disastrous housing design and must raise standards immediately. This research is utterly damning of larger house builders and their failure to build the homes our communities deserve. They must significantly raise their game if we are to create the sorts of places that future generations will feel proud to call home. It’s no wonder so many of our communities feel apprehensive towards new development when the design is so poor. That’s why significantly improving the quality of design is central to addressing the housing shortage."Recommendations from the research The audit proposed a range of recommendations for the Government, house builders and local government. Amongst these the research found strong benefits in designing at higher densities than is the norm.  The Government should be more prescriptive in seeking less sprawling densities, as more compact developments tend to be designed more sensitively. It should require highways design that helps to create high quality, characterful places. Housebuilders need to drive greater ambition across the sector in order to advance a more ethical approach to the design of development that prioritises the long-term social wellbeing of their customers and the health of the environment at large. Local authorities need to use proactive design codes – design parameters established for each site – and design review processes for all major housing schemes. Local authorities also need to end the current disconnect between highways design and planning aspirations when it comes to new housing areas.Schemes which do not meet minimum requirements should be refused on design grounds and this should be supported, without question, by the Government regardless of progress towards meeting housing targets in the area.The full report - A Housing Design Audit for England - including a regional breakdown of the results and recommendations for action can be found here  What we did The 142 audited developments were broken down geographically as follows: South East, 21; Greater London, 20; East of England, 19; East Midlands, 19; South West, 16; North West, 14; Yorkshire and Humber, 12; North East, 11; West Midlands, 10. The audited schemes were chosen because they reflect the typical volume housebuilder product. The average size of schemes audited was 382 units (dwellings) and the average site size was 11 hectares. The research was funded by UCL through the Place Alliance, the CPRE and the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme. The authors acknowledge the support of the advisory group, supporting consultancies and network of volunteer auditors.The advisory group was made up of individuals from CPRE, Home Builders Federation, UK Green Building Council, Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, Civic Voice, Arup, Design Council, Academy of Urbanism / URBED and Urban Design Group. The supporting consultancies were ARUP, JTP, Spawforths and URBED.Research teamMatthew Carmona, Amer Alwarea, Valentina Giordano, Anastassia Gusseinova, Fola Olaleye Make a one off donation  Place Alliance is an independent not-for-profit movement.We operate on a tight budget and rely on sponsorship and the generosity of our supporters. Your support is truly appreciated.        Copyright © 2020 Place Alliance @ The Bartlett School of Planning, All rights reserved.You are receiving this email because you are subscribed to the Place Alliance mailing list Our mailing address is:Place Alliance @ The Bartlett School of PlanningUniversity College LondonRoom 616, 6th Floor, Central House 14 Upper Woburn PlaceLondon, WC1H 0NN United Kingdom Add us to your address book Want to change how you receive these emails?You can update your profile or unsubscribe from this list. Forward this email to a friend or colleague.

About this room

This room provides a space for Laidlaw Scholars and Alumni from University College London to showcase research and connect with peers.