28 OCTOBER 2016
EDP recently attended MIPIM 2016, a UK property exhibition, in London. As well as catching up with existing and potential clients, EDP attended two interesting conferences.
Infrastructure and the Integral Role of Housing Housing and Planning Act
This panel discussion, which included David Partridge (Argent LLP), Grainne Gilmore (Knight Frank), Victoria Hills (Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation) and Gavin Barwell (Minister for Housing, Planning and London), looked at the Government’s medium to long-term infrastructure aspirations and the role of housing within these plans. According to the panel, there is a clear indication that major infrastructure can benefit housing. However, full consideration needs to be given to the creation of communities within large development sites. Reference was made to the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which will seek to provide more land for housing and greater certainty for the housing sector, speeding up and strengthening the neighbourhood planning process by simplifying how plans can be revised as local circumstances change. In addition, reference was also made to the forthcoming Housing White Paper, which will set out a strategy to increase housebuilding. The Housing Minister (Mr Barwell) suggested that a flexibility is required within development, providing a range of tenures, while working with local communities to unlock obstacles to development at the local level.
The Importance of Placemaking – How to Compete in a World of Cities
This panel discussion included Sara Bailey (Trowers & Hamlins), Ralph Ardill (The Brand Experience Consultancy), Ben Brabyn (Level39), Henry Squire (Squire and Partners) and Julie Pears (intu). The session asked whether the role of the masterplanner has become one of the most important in our industry, and how existing cities and new development can create the right sense of place. A key area of discussion was around the ‘branding’ of new development and the need to build in flexibility to a scheme, with Henry Squire using the term “box-clever design”, such that it can respond to market needs and evolve over time. All of the panellists were in agreement that a sense of place and community engagement can encourage vitality within a development and therefore retain people, and their key skills, within an area. Consideration was given to the value of developments, with specific reference to Oxford Brookes’ recently published Highly Valued, Hard to Value, which examined current urban design practices and identified key aspects of value in real estate, including cultural, design, functional, social, environmental, accessibility, brand and long-term value. One of the closing messages to the session was provided by Ralph Ardill who asked, for both new and existing development, “Why should someone invest their life in that space? What makes it special?”.
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