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Page 1: Better Neighbourhoods: Making higher densities Neighbourhoods Report_1.pdf · Ebenezer Howard – Garden city 1898 45 180 Minimum density

Better Neighbourhoods:Making higher densities work

Page 2: Better Neighbourhoods: Making higher densities Neighbourhoods Report_1.pdf · Ebenezer Howard – Garden city 1898 45 180 Minimum density

Foreword 3

Summary 4

1/Challenges 5

2/Benefits 11

3/Barriers 16

4/Key factors for success 18

5/Recommendations 26

Appendix: Tools for better neighbourhoods

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Building new housing at higher densities is increasingly being seen as the solution to the high demand for housing and the acute shortage of land in London and the south east of England.

Yet building at higher density is often viewed as a problem rather than an opportunity, and can present major challenges, particularly in terms of achieving agreement between local authorities, developers and residents.

This report considers how barriers to successful higher-density housing can be overcome. It analyses the challenges associated with building at higherdensities, and shows how housing intensification can provide significant benefits for developers and residents alike. It argues for an understanding of how higher densities can create popular, sustainable neighbourhoods.

The key to building successful communities is to achieve consensus among all those involved in the development process. Yet the range of potential barriers to building higher-density housing, the complexity of the process and the variety of interests involved can create adversarial situations, resulting in too many low-quality developments being built.

A significant idea emerging from this report is the use of a charter or compact to agree minimum standards between local authorities and developers. This approach is already being trialled in various parts of the country.

So much guidance, research and policy information is already available on housing density that information overload can be a problem. This report provides a shortcut – it analyses key issues, and combines the most useful research in one document. It can help public and private sectors work together to realise the benefits of building better neighbourhoods and to make higher density work.

Peter DerrickChamberlain, Corporation of London

Richard SimmonsChief Executive, CABE

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IntroductionThis short report addresses how toincrease the supply of homes in areas of high demand, and in particular how to build at higher densities withoutsacrificing quality.

It draws on new research into housingintensification commissioned by CABEand the Corporation of London. It also includes a literature review andstakeholder interviews assessing barriers to high density, as well as five case studies.

Case studies include large strategic sitesin a metropolitan city, small urban infillsites, intensification around transportnodes, edge-of-town growth/new out-of-town settlements, and the regenerationof local authority estates. The literaturereview and case studies are featured onCABE’s Building for Life

The report also draws on CABE’s Design Reviewed publications, considersprojects reviewed by CABE’s expertdesign panel, and looks at CABE’s reporton what house buyers want from theirhomes. All these are available

The report is divided into five sections,which cover:1/The challenge of higher densities2/The benefits of higher densities3/The barriers to higher densities4/Key factors for success5/Tools for better neighbourhoods.

The report aims to:• Respond to changing national policies,

pressures for innovation, the imbalancebetween supply and demand, and theneed for new types of housing

• Provide a basis for negotiating a charterfor better neighbourhoods, or forcharters with individual developerswhere they agree to abide by agreedstandards

The report can be used to:• Provide a quick review of all relevant

research to help councillors and othersentering unfamiliar territory

• Offer tools to assess and reachagreement on major schemes

• Develop new ways of morecollaborative working

FindingsThe key recommendations of the report are for partners to:• Adopt a more consensual approach

throughout the development process,including the use of charters anddevelopment agreements

• Build capacity among local authoritiesand developers

• Investigate use of planning anddevelopment charges

• Share learning between all participantsin the development process

The report emphasises the importance ofconsensus for successful development,and argues the case for using a charter to reach agreement between the publicand private sectors on improvingstandards of design, sustainability,affordability and community benefits, in areas of housing growth where higherdensities are appropriate.

It stresses that the aim is to create betterneighbourhoods, not just boost housingnumbers. In situations where high densityis appropriate – adjoining town centresand transport nodes or overlooking publicspace – it works well, provided publicauthorities and house builders arepartners and not adversaries.

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The aim of building at increased densitiesto make better use of constrained landsupply is now enshrined in policy, forexample through the Government’sPlanning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3).However, while there are many benefits to building at higher densities the subjectremains controversial with developers,local authorities and the public. There is concern among professionals at theextra expense that can sometimes beassociated with building at high densities.For instance, the need to provide extrafeatures, such as communal facilities, canincrease costs in some developments,though these costs are often outweighedby added value. Equally, the complexity ofobtaining permission for higher densitiescan have financial consequences fordevelopers.

There is also public distrust of higherdensity housing schemes, often centredon the belief that too many residents will create overcrowding and associatedproblems. Pressure on parking space is a major concern, but the generalperception is that more people living in the same amount of space willinevitably reduce the quality of life for existing residents.

Despite these misgivings, housing will be built across London and the South

East at the densities demanded by PPG3. Higher-density developments can help to create more viableneighbourhoods capable of supportinglocal services. However, opposition will only be won over by high qualitydesigns that can demonstrate that the benefits of higher-density housing will offset the real and perceiveddisadvantages. Our common goal is to create better neighbourhoods, and higher densities should be seen as the means rather than the end.Furthermore, though each developmentsite will be different, there are sometechniques that can be used to streamline the process and secure a range of benefits.

Although most people agree on the need to provide more and better housing, in practice almost every major planning application will generatedebate and public interest. Higher-density housing causes particularconcern because it is associated by many people with unpopular types ofhousing, but we often forget that it alsoincludes examples such as urban villagesand historic market towns. The failureof some types of housing often has very little to do with their density and more to do with underlying social ormanagement issues.

Definition of density used in PPG3Net site density includes only those areasthat will be developed for housing anddirectly associated uses, this includes:1/access roads within the site2/private garden space3/car parking areas4/ incidental open space and landscaping5/children’s play areasIt excludes:1/major distributor roads2/primary schools3/open spaces serving a wider area4/significant landscape buffer strips

Measurements of density1/Dwellings or units per hectare or per

acre (the number of homes on a site)2/Habitable rooms (meaning rooms that

people actually live in) per hectare orper acre (for example a two bedroomhouse with one double and one singlebedroom, living room, kitchen andbathroom counts as having threehabitable rooms, as kitchens andbathrooms are not included in themeasurement)

3/People or bed spaces per hectare orper acre (using the above example thetwo bedroom house sleeps up to threepeople)

4/Plot ratios (the total area of the building– the floor area multiplied by thenumber of storeys/the area of the site)

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Despite all the stress on improved design, exemplary higher-density housingschemes are still disappointingly rare, as found by CABE’s 2004 Housing Audit,based on an assessment of 100 recentschemes.

To better understand the barriers, CABE and the Corporation of London commissioned this report and background research which isfeatured on CABE’s Building for Lifewebsite In addition, the report draws on CABE’s Design Reviewed: urban housing, lessons learnt from projectsreviewed by CABE’s expert design panel, and a report for CABEsummarising the results of marketresearch into what house buyers want from their homes.

Changing policy priorities Both house building rates and investmentlevels lag far behind what is needed to make up the current shortfall. For local authorities the main impetus forchange comes from the reform of theplanning system through the Planningand Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.Other policies, like PPG3 and itscompanion guide Better Places to Live,seek to encourage more sustainabledevelopment. The Office of the DeputyPrime Minister’s Sustainable CommunitiesPlan focuses on increasing house buildingin the Growth Areas and its objectives are taken up in regional plans which set density guidelines according to thecharacter of areas and their accessibilityby public transport. These could beevaluated against a density gradient as illustrated by the table opposite.


‘Many local authorities wouldwelcome a stalemate on thedensity issue which blocksdevelopment altogether.’ 1

The meaning of density

Older housing types Recent developments Alternative approaches

Victorian Terraces60–80 dwellings/ha.280 (average) habitable rooms/ha.

Executive Homes 5–10 dwellings/ha.40 (average) habitable rooms/ha.

Suburban Semis15–30 dwellings/ha.90 (average) habitable rooms/ha.

Urban Villages75–125 dwellings/ha.500 (average) habitable rooms/ha.

Infill in Historic Towns80–140 dwellings/ha.500 (average) habitable rooms/ha.

Garden Cities30–40 dwellings/ha.165 habitable rooms/ha.

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Density gradient Units/Ha Persons/Ha

Low density detached – Hertfordshire 5 20

Average net density – Los Angeles 15 60

Milton Keynes average 1990 17 68

Average density of new development in UK 1981–91 22 88

Minimum density for a bus service 25 100

Private sector 1060s/70s – Hertfordshire 25 100

Inner-war estate – Hertfordshire 30 120

Private sector 1980s/90s – Hertfordshire 30 120

Hulme – Manchester 1970s 37 148

Average net density London 42 168

Ebenezer Howard – Garden city 1898 45 180

Minimum density for a tram service 60 240

Abercrombie – low density 62 247

New town higher density low-rise – Hertfordshire 64 256

Sustainable urban density 69 275

Victorian/Edwardian terraces – Hertfordshire 80 320

Abercrombie – Medium density 84 336

Central accessible urban density 93 370

Holly Street – London 1990s 94 376

Holly Street – London 1970s 104 416

Abercrombie – High density 124 494

Hulme – Manchester 1930s 150 600

Average net density Islington – 1965 185 740

Singapore planned densities 1970s 250 1,000

Kowloon actual 1,250 5,000

An average dwelling size of 4 bedspaces has been assumed throughout this table although it should be noted that this is higher that the average household size in the UK

What is higher density development?The following table shows that densityitself should not be viewed as a reliableguide to the form or quality of residentialdevelopment.

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The new planning system also puts extra emphasis on involving communitiesearly on, and preparing design andaccess statements showing how newdevelopments will fit into existing areasand meet policy objectives.

These initiatives combine to transform the planning process and provide apotential basis for a charter with specificpartners to resolve conflicts over complex schemes.

The new system is intended to be moreflexible, while also providing a strongerlead, and will affect house building in a number of ways.

Pressures for innovation A number of studies have called forradical changes to the way we plan anddesign housing. Economist Kate Barker’s2004 Review of Housing Supply for theTreasury said that Britain had the highesthouse price inflation but the lowestbuilding rates in Europe because of itsadversarial system. It recommendedpaying more attention to ‘market signals’– in other words, councils shouldunderstand more about the economics of development.

The ODPM’s 2003 Egan Review of Skillsclearly put responsibility on councils to be more proactive in managing urban

change, said officers should have moreauthority, and reinforced the importanceof improving design through skillsdevelopment at national level. There arealso pressures to modernise constructionmethods, and new policies to enableprivate house builders to provide socialhousing.

Imbalance between supply and demand The Town and Country PlanningAssociation claims the root cause of the housing problem lies in supply anddemand: ‘Mainly as a result of too fewhomes for sale being built, prices havebeen forced up to unaffordable levels. It is not possible for many people on average incomes to buy even cheaper homes.’

Rising housing demand looksunavoidable as people live longer, as family structures change and asindividuals demand more living space.

Projections for south east England show supply lagging far behind demand,while London’s position is aggravated by people from elsewhere moving in. And although private house builders have maintained output, social housebuilding has dropped sharply, leading to the lowest levels of public sectorcompletions since the 1920s.

The new planning system and housing• Housing development has to comply

with a plan-led system that is not onlyintended to secure the best use of land,but also to achieve a range of otherobjectives. Spatial planning links landuse issues to other service provisionsand public interventions.

• There is a spatial hierarchy, withRegional Spatial Strategies and sub-regional Spatial Frameworks providingthe context for Local DevelopmentFrameworks and CommunityStrategies, and Local DevelopmentDocuments including Area Action Plansfor specific areas that are at risk or thatoffer major development opportunities.

• The Local Development Frameworkswill consist of a suite of documents,including a Statement of CommunityInvolvement that will set out how toengage the community and howconsultations are to be handled. Thiscould include how the impact of newhousing schemes is to be assessed.

• Design and Access Statements arerequired to accompany planningapplications to justify and explain theapproach

• Section 106 on Planning Obligations is being amended to allow for tariffs to be charged, and planning fees on major applications are also likely to be changed.

‘…other groups… are oftendismissed as niche marketsbut in reality they outnumberthe young families generallyregarded as the mass-market.Three in every fourhouseholds are childless andmore than half of these arebelow retirement age.’2


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New homes in the South EastPercentage of house starts

1998 2000 2002 2003

detached houses 44 37 26 19

detached bungalows 2 2 1 1

semi-detached houses 15 13 15 13

terraced houses 21 20 22 20

attached bungalows 1 1 1 1

flats & maisonettes 17 28 34 46

Need for fresh approaches Future demands cannot be met bybuilding detached houses. It may havesuited house builders to build detachedhomes in the past, because they wererelatively easy and profitable to developon greenfield sites. But in the South Eastthere has been a dramatic shift towardsbuilding flats and maisonettes.

Matthew Carmona in Housing DesignQuality (Spon Press 2005) points out that, ‘The product is the house and onlyto a lesser extent the context it defines.The simplest way to judge what sells is to repeat what sold before’.

But as with most products, housing is going through a revolution.

New types of layout, fittings, and buildingmethods have joined new concepts like loft apartments and urban villages.There is also a return to the kinds ofneighbourhoods that have stood the testof time, such as streets of town houses.Research shows buyers increasingly want something other than a standardhousing estate.

CABE’s What House Buyers Wantreport analyses the tensions betweensupply and demand in the housingmarket, and looks at what people wantfrom their homes. The findings appear to suggest that the majority of housebuyers are unlikely to initially choose to live in higher density developments. Most people say they would like to live in a detached house in a village, rather

than a flat in an inner city area. Olderpeople say they would prefer a bungalow.However, probing behind the initialresponses, it is possible to see how many people’s requirements can be met through building at higher densities.

Modern apartments can offer bettersecurity than many detached houses.They can also provide affordable, usableoutside space, often in the form of sharedgardens or a balcony. Most people wantto live in somewhere distinctive and with character, which can be provided if housing is well-designed. Everyonewants privacy, which is why soundinsulation is important, and layout that is designed to avoid problems ofoverlooking. Elderly or disabled peoplecan have the advantage of easy access, if lifts are well-maintained.

As house buyers worry about theirinvestment, they are very concerned withhow the area is managed. Consequently,it is particularly important to ensure long-term maintenance of the public realmthrough management agreements.Higher-density neighbourhoods have thepotential to capture the appeal of olderplaces, by contributing to lively, well-usedneighbourhoods and by creating a senseof community.

Streamlining the process Above all a critical barrier to smoothdevelopment is poor communication.Barker found today’s process tooadversarial with conflicting objectives,priorities and timescales.

‘Factors which were notnecessarily related to densityappeared to be the mostimportant in their priorities,size of home, its designdetails, the quality ofconstruction’ … ‘whenchoosing an area to live in,people were attracted by low crime rates, good healthfacilities, low cost of living,good shopping and good racerelations’ 3


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Home owners want to protect houseprices and fear change; builders want towork to a budget, build what will sell, andrecoup land costs. Other public bodiessuch as the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency have their ownagendas, budgets and timetables too.

Therefore if we want a significant changein housing quality, these stakeholdersmust adopt a different approach. This is clearly not a simple task.

Research into the barriers that arise ateach of the stages in the developmentprocess has shown there is no simple

solution. However, checklists such as the South East of England DevelopmentAgency (SEEDA’s) Sustainability Checklist,can be used to assess the scope forintensification before too much time iswasted on detailed design, and battlepositions have been assumed. Mutuallyagreed terms in the form of a charter,expanded on later in this report, willestablish a common basis for buildingunderstanding.

The rest of this report shows how to build consensus, step by step, startingwith understanding the benefits that can come from higher densities.


‘…the findings suggest that to promote opportunities forprivacy within householdsand to reduce conflict over use of space within andoutside households thereshould be more space withinthe home, more facilitiesoutside and plans for howpublic space can be used to supplement them, for example by young people.’4

‘Experience in existingdevelopments has clearlyshown that, in the UK, thesocio-economic status ofresidents is a critical densityissue because the number of people actually resident in similar-sized houses varies across different socio-economic groups bymore than 100%. Similarly the amount of time peoplespend within the home alsovaries widely accordingto age and socio-economicstatus.’5

‘There is a danger of alteringthe well understood models of public street and privatecourtyard and providing the worst of all worlds,courtyards crowded withparked cars – and emptystreets.’6

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The success and sustainability of ourtowns and cities demonstrates the long-term viability of high density living.

Research by the London School ofEconomics in 2004 shows that higherdensity can bring benefits. Successfuldevelopments espouse Building for Lifestandards in terms of character; roads,parking and pedestrianisation; designand construction; and environment andcommunity. Developers are achievinghigher densities without sacrificing qualityby building three storeys instead of two,choosing terraced instead of detachedhomes, or through building apartmentsfor growing numbers of childlesshouseholds.

To help the South East England RegionalAssembly develop policies, and toproduce The Councillors’ Toolbox onmaking the best use of land, URBED and MORI asked councillors in the regionfor their views. They identified benefitsfrom higher densities in avoiding sprawland protecting rural England, and inimproving services.

‘The compact city andintensive development doesnot necessarily imply high rise buildings. London hasachieved some of its highestresidential densities inrelatively low rise areas,while isolated, poorlydesigned tower blocks havenot necessarily delivered high density or usable public space.’ 7

Higher density housing can deliver social benefits‘There is a real misunderstanding about what higher density housing is,particularly in the context of London and the South East. Many of theproblems blamed on density are in fact a combination of problems with location,design, tenure mix, allocation policies,lack of management and maintenance.

In the area we work in, higher densityhousing is not only necessary becauseland is scarce, but also desirable as it candeliver real social benefits. For example:• much of the more desirable housing

in urban areas is of a higher densitydesign

• higher density housing in existing urban areas creates vibrant, successfulneighbourhoods, and the number andvariety of people who live there supportlocal shops, transport and communityfacilities

• higher density neighbourhoods do notmean all higher density housing is thesame (a combination of housing typesallows for different designs at differenttimes in a person’s or a family’s life), and

• higher density housing allows forprivate outdoor spaces and for sharedspaces (such as parks) and sharedfacilities’

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In the right circumstances, higherdensities can produce a range of benefits such as:

Increasing value Many of the areas we like to visit onholiday, such as historic towns and areasin city centres with the highest houseprices, are in fact built at higher densities.Georgian residential areas are becomingpopular again. Where land values arehigh, increased densities can help fundenvironmental improvements and theprovision of affordable housing throughSection 106 agreements.

Convenient shops and services With more people living in an area, better local shops and schools becomeeconomically viable, as do regular busservices. Thus while 25 homes perhectare may be needed to support fairlyfrequent bus services, double the numbercould support an express bus servicewithin a quarter of a mile. Places that arenot over-dependent on car use enjoylivelier streets and in turn create betterneighbourhoods.

Safer streets Streets that are overlooked by homes not only feel safer but are safer, with much lower rates of burglary. Slower carspeeds, more walkers and cyclists meanit is safer for children to walk to school orplay outside. Higher density developmentcan increase site values, which in turn can provide higher-quality public spaceslike Home Zones being introduced insome areas to provide safe outdoorplaying space.

Design for living If well-designed higher-density housingcan respond to many demands of 21st century living, flexible layouts andlifetime homes standards can be readilyachieved. Most people want more space under their control.

Energy conservation New houses cost less to heat than older houses thanks to better insulationand more efficient heating systems.Higher density homes further reduceenergy losses and can include schemes to save natural resources such as Combined Heat and Power.

Mixed communities In an effort to increase affordable housing, the ODPM wants far moremixed-tenure developments and nowrecommends more affordable housing in new schemes. The larger the scheme, the easier it is to provide a balance oftenures and house types. In town and city centres families may end up living in flats, and careful design is required to make schemes work.

‘Somewhere not anywhere’ Higher density development makes it easier to create a sense of identity and place. When combined with greenery and attention to detail, it can turn locations into desirable places. Far from reducing the quality of neighbourhoods, higher densityhousing can make them more distinctive and introduce a much-needed element of diversity.

‘In many urban situations,medium rise, higher densitybuildings (of about 3-4storeys) in general provide theoptimum form that maximisesdensity whilst minimisingperceived intensity orovercrowding. They can alsobe designed to be attractive,energy efficient and mixed use whilst:

• Reducing costs of landacquisition and siteinfrastructure

• Avoiding costs of lifts andother services

• Providing a robust form thatallows for changes in useover time

• Forming terraces or low riseflats, the most cost effectivebuilding form in housing

• Increasing energy efficiencyand the ability to be orientedfor passive solar gain

• Providing lifetime homesthat can be readily adaptedfor the elderly or disabled.’8


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Case study: Ingress ParkIngress Park, Greenhithe, is a seven-year masterplanned development byCrest Nicholson Residential Limited.When complete, it will provide up to950 homes, live-work units, a localshopping centre, community facilitiesand a site for a new school. It is being constructed on a 29 hectarebrownfield site on the south side ofthe River Thames, about one mile east of the Dartford Crossing, and isset in grounds previously landscapedby Capability Brown surrounding theGrade II listed Ingress Abbey. Thedensity of the development rangesfrom 40–150 dph.

Case study: Hammarby SjöstadHammarby Sjöstad was initiallyplanned as the Olympic Village inStockholm’s unsuccessful bid for the 2004 Olympic Games. Sufficientimpetus built up within the city’splanning department and throughinvestment in infrastructure for the scheme to proceed despite thefailure of the Olympic bid. Theresulting scheme reflects the desire of the city of Stockholm to providehigh quality and higher densityhomes which benefit from excellentlevels of sustainability together with new transportation andinfrastructure. Once the phaseddevelopment is completed, HammarbySjöstad will provide 9,000 mixedtenure homes at an average densityof 145 dph. In addition there is a new school, church, shops, offices and a park all located on a 7.6hectare brownfield site within easyreach of Stockholm’s inner city.

Case study: OakridgeThe new community centre sits at the heart of Oakridge, a regenerationof an overspill estate of four/five-storey walk-up maisonettes and flatsnear to Basingstoke. A pub is alsounder construction and five shops are already operating successfully in prominent locations adjacent to the main square, having beenrelocated from less well connectedlocations on the demolished estate.The new housing development alsohas a health visitor and nurseryschool on site and a regular busservice stops on the High Street and connects Oakridge to facilities in Basingstoke.

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Case study: Beaufort CourtBeaufort Court is located on LillieRoad in north Fulham and comprises65 homes at an average density of116 dph. The homes are a mix ofterraced houses with gardens,maisonettes and flats with acommunity facility and a semi-underground car park covered by a fenced kickabout pitch. Built anddeveloped by the Peabody Trust onland bought from the local authority,the London Borough of Hammersmithand Fulham, the scheme provides amixture of affordable tenures in anarea of high housing costs and highdemand.

Homes and Work for ChangeHomes for Change in Hulme,Manchester, provides housing above workspace, with large decks.

ReiselfeldInnovative housing in Reiselfeld,Freiburg, attracts families becausechildren can play together safely.

Case study: Fulham IslandFulham Island is an innovative mixed-use scheme located in the heartof Fulham Broadway, west London, on a busy island site. Developed byManhattan Loft Corporation Ltd with CZWG Architects as designers, it provides retail, residential andcommercial premises with 38 privatehomes (22 new, 16 refurbished) at anaverage density of 132 dph. A majordesign objective was to deal with theentirety of the site (a ‘doughnut’shape) and to clear out the messycentral service area behind theexisting buildings, which attractedanti-social behaviour, whilst retainingexisting listed buildings. The resultingscheme is modern in design andcreates interest and a sense ofidentity in a previously neglectedarea. Particularly notable are thevertical and horizontal mix of uses,and the provision of underground car parking. The central area hasbeen covered with a deck, whichcreates maximum retail space whilealso unifying the different elements of the scheme. It also provides anattractive garden for residents at first floor level.

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Earl’s CourtThe air space above a superstoreprovides stylish housing in Earl’sCourt.

Case study: Ingress Park At Ingress Park, Greenhithe, theoverall development is phased,moving generally west to east acrossthe site. The density of the phasesand the architectural approach ineach is varied, creating differentsenses of character across the site.Place and context are at the heart ofthis approach, with high-levelinvestment in the public realm toenhance the setting.

Case study: Fulham IslandAs Fulham Island incorporates a mixof uses, and both refurbishment andnew build, affordable housing in thiscase would not have been viable.

VaubanContinental blocks of flats, like thesein Vauban in Freiburg, use solarpanels to reduce heating costs.

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The term ‘high density’ is in itself a barrierin terms of public perception. This is partlybecause of the association betweenhigher density housing, and high-risesystem-built housing estates sufferingfrom physical and social problems. Thereis also a belief that higher density additionsto a neighbourhood are unlikely to make it a better place to live. Understandably,people can see disadvantages if moreresidents compete for the same schools,the same public transport, and the same parking spaces. The significantadvantages of higher density can be much harder to see at first, and onlybecome apparent when there aresuccessful models that show how good high density can be.

There are also a number of other commonissues which need to be addressed if weare to build better neighbourhoods:

Distrust and conflict Plenty of schemes appear to comply withgovernment policy but are turned down atplanning stage. If the relationship betweenlocal authorities and developers is notbased on mutual understanding and

cooperation, it may be easier forauthorities to reject schemes rather thanto seek improvements. However fightingpublic inquiries ties up resources thatcould be better used in improving thequality of the design in the first place, and can also inhibit later flexibility.

Institutional inertia We have only recently changed how we look at towns and cities. The 2000Urban White Paper, Our Towns andCities: the Future, was a turning point in its view of towns as assets not justliabilities, but it takes time for new ideas to take hold.

The White Paper supported the earlierUrban Task Force vision of urbanrenaissance as places where people want to live out of choice, not necessity.This led to other guidance at regional level aimed at changing how we build.Many councils are now changing howthey assess schemes, but this demandsan adjustment in staff attitudes, not just rewriting planning policies. Newpolicies can be daunting but morepositive planning could make working

in the built environment a much moreattractive career.

Lack of capacity A more fundamental barrier to higherdensity housing is the overloadedtransport, service and social infrastructurethat exists in many places. Add to thisarticulate local opposition to trafficproblems, school and teacher shortagesand a lack of health staff and facilities.One solution is to ensure developers and schemes contribute to increasingcapacity, through planning obligations as well as providing affordable housing or the likes of teachers and healthworkers. In London, density guidelines are highest around town centres, andwhere there is most public transport, and it makes general sense to promote a ‘density gradient’.

Design challenges Complaints by councillors and residentsabout poor quality homes are borne out by CABE’s Housing Audit. Gooddesign may cost more but there isevidence it can add much more in terms of value.

Concerns about the impact on traffic and parking


Local residents are not in favour51%

‘Out of character’ with the local area44%

Concerns about the impact on local services (eg schools, hospitals)


Concerns about the lack of poor public spaces and play areas within the developments


Associated with ‘problem’ families16%

Local Councillors not in favour12%

Perceived to be ugly11%

Perceived to reduce house prices for current residents9%


One quarter (26%) say this is the biggest barrier

The top 10 biggest barriers to buildinghigher density development in the South East

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Too often, issues over design get boggeddown in pointless arguments over style ordetailing, when there are more importantdesign issues to resolve:• Parking New housing in locations that

are badly served by public transportrequire more parking, but this should be carefully integrated to avoid carsdominating the public realm.Underground or multi-storey parkingbecomes viable at densities over 100dph. Intelligent design needs to beemployed in developments of mediumdensities of 30 to 100 dph, whereunderground parking is not viable.

• Privacy Acoustic and visual privacy are a major worry about higher densityliving. Careful planning to design outproblems of overlooking and bettermethods of insulation are needed.

• Mixed uses Planners often want multi-functional neighbourhoods but this doesnot have to involve different uses in onebuilding. Higher density building

alongside existing town and localcentres, or even redevelopingredundant space in retail and businessparks, allows a balance of uses withoutconflict.

• Mixed communities Even moreimportant is maintaining and improvingthe balance between household typesand tenures. While locations will differ in their basic appeal, a carefully plannedmix of tenures can entice renters tobecome owners and vice versa. It canenable people at different life stages to find appropriate accommodationwithout moving far.

• Management Higher density housingrequires ongoing management at blockand neighbourhood level if standardsare to be maintained and rubbish, graffitiand deterioration are to be avoided. As in any well-managed estate, anagreement on standards and servicecharges can reduce risks and maintainthe value of the investment.

Charter QuayCharter Quay, Kingston, hasunderground parking to keep cars out of the way, and provide publicgardens above.

The StaithsThe Staiths, South Bank. Distinctivenew housing in Gateshead with highquality, landscaped public space.

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The benefits of higher densities need tobe clearly communicated to overcomenegative attitudes and misunderstandingsthat can block development. Consensusand collaborative working is neededbetween different parts of the publicsector, between local authorities anddevelopers, and also to win over localcommunities. One size does not fit all,and density standards have to suit the site.

Below we draw out five major lessons thatform the basis for agreements betweenlocal authorities and house builders.These have been drawn from casestudies of a selection of recent successful

higher density schemes that illustratedifferent approaches in different contexts,plus influential schemes in other parts of the country which are providing freshideas on higher density design and layout.

Understand the economics of the scheme Housing intensification is financiallycomplex. Schemes vary enormously,even in the same area. Financial realism is essential when it comes to negotiatingcommunity benefits, as not onlydevelopment costs differ (for example, in their requirements for decontaminationor new infrastructure) but so too do likelyvalues and development risks.


4/Key factors for success

ChronosChronos in Whitechapel exploits alocation near the underground station.

Brewery SquareBrewery Square in Clerkenwellreinforces the idea of it being an‘urban village’.

‘Successful higher densityhousing has four key factors – location and sense of place, a successful allocation policyand occupancy, successfulmanagement approach andgood design.’9

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Local authorities can help to understandthe economics and bring forward viablesites by:• Undertaking housing potential/capacity

studies to assess all main sources ofnew housing in an area, including sitessuch as properties above shops orunder-used car parks

• Reviewing policies covering land useand providing use and densityguidelines for different kinds of area (as the Greater London Authority’sLondon Plan has done, for example)

• Working with landowners and/or house builders to prepare masterplansor development frameworks for areas ripe for regeneration orneighbourhood revival

Once there is agreement on where new housing is to go, house builders may want to share information on theeconomics of schemes on a confidentialbasis, as they already do, for example,when they are working in partnership withpublic agencies or are applying for grants.

Build consensus through collaborative workingDensity is contentious. Sustainablecommunities cannot be built in the most efficient and effective way if localauthorities and developers are locked in conflict and local grievances gounresolved.

Existing communities may be averse to additional housing. Collaborativeworking is needed not only on large sitesthat may take years to develop, but alsoon complex sites where the risks inherentin assembling land and buildinginfrastructure are high.

Local authorities can improve the process by:• Showing leadership by advocating

well designed higher densities• Engaging local communities early

on, particularly in creating LocalDevelopment Frameworks

• Holding pre-application meetings on major developments (more than 10 homes)

• Meeting house builders andprofessionals on a regular basis, forexample through a housing forum

• Organising study tours to learn fromrelevant projects

• Using the new planning system todevelop the vision and masterplan forthe intensified development, setting out the community’s needs ahead ofnegotiations with specific developers

House builders can help in the way theyconsult the local community, and throughthe information they make available, for example by:• Finding out local concerns before

designs are finalised• Making available the results of viability

studies on a confidential basis.

Case study: Fulham IslandDespite potential opposition from local amenity groups, the FulhamIsland scheme owes much of itssuccess to the vision and experience of Manhattan Loft Corporation and to the support of the local authority.Due to their inherent complexity thedelivery and funding of high qualitymixed-use schemes requires aninnovative approach by developers.Manhattan Loft Corporation’sexperience and commitment wasinstrumental in the successfuldelivery of Fulham Island. A ‘hands-on’ approach to resolving such issuesas existing occupiers, conflicting uses,access, amenity provision and localobjectors, will help the successfuldelivery of mixed use schemes.Manhattan Loft arranged short-termleases and ensured that the scheme as a minimum ‘stood still’ financiallywhile they dealt proactively withdesign, planning and consultationissues.

Close relationships betweendevelopers, planners and architectscan allow innovation and aid delivery.The planners at the London Boroughof Hammersmith and Fulhamsupported the innovative mixed use scheme once Manhattan Loft and their architect had demonstratedthe quality of their initial vision anddesign ideas.

4/Key factors for success

‘Modern masterplanning for higher density housingshould be a robust but flexibleprocess that allows design to evolve in response tochanging circumstances,while at the same timeachieving a relatively unified and consistentarchitectural approach.’10

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Case study: Old HaymarketThe redevelopment of this site has been described as a ‘textbookapproach to urban renewal’. The site is located in Liverpool city centre.The owners, Liverpool City Council,granted Urban Splash a 999-yearlease on the site after they won the project through a developmentcompetition in 1996. The relationshipbetween the council and Urban Splash has been good and positivethroughout. Liaison with the localauthority was sought at an earlystage, as the buildings are locatedwithin a designated conservation area.The development has excellent accessto all central shops, offices, hotels and leisure facilities. No affordablehousing was actually required underthe terms of the lease, but UrbanSplash thought it would be beneficialto creating diversity in the area. Anumber of the apartments, therefore,were sold by Maritime Housing on ashared ownership basis, the first jointventure for Urban Splash.

Case study: Hammarby SjöstadHammarby Sjöstad is an example of how collaborative working canachieve high standards of design,spacious apartments and superb open spaces. An integrated, multi-disciplinary project team workingtowards shared goals can beinstrumental in achieving successfuldelivery of intensification. The City of Stockholm established a dedicatedproject team for Hammarby Sjöstadresponsible for all aspects of theproject. Agreement on transportinfrastructure at Hammarby Sjöstadwas instrumental in moving theproject from vision to reality.

Case study: LimehouseLimehouse Cut in Tower Hamlets, east London is an example of howsuccessful community engagementand collaborative teamwork can resultin the delivery of new homes and canaid neighbourhood regeneration. Theregeneration programme implementedby Poplar HARCA (Poplar Housingand Regeneration CommunityAssociation) in the Limehouse Cut area identified refurbishment,redevelopment and infill opportunitieswith a view to realising the potentialof Bartlett Park, the nearest greenspace, and of the Limehouse Cutwaterway that passes through theneighbourhood. The project comprisesa series of small infill schemes rather than a single development. The objective has been to developsmall sites in the Limehouse area ofTower Hamlets to diversify housingtenure, generate income for the client,Poplar HARCA, while at the same time removing areas of redundant,underused land that attract anti-social behaviour.

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Invest in design quality New housing is often criticised for its poor quality, including not fitting into thecontext – and higher density housing on a large scale can compound theproblem.

Until recently there has been no means of making an objective assessment.CABE’s Housing Audit used the Buildingfor Life criteria to judge schemes andfound that: ‘The dominance of highwaysinfrastructure was particularly alarming,with an evident tension between thepriorities of highway standards and urban design.’

Local authorities can facilitate gooddesign by:• Reviewing highway and other policies

to ensure they include new thinking on road layouts, such as that in BetterPlaces to Live

• Encouraging developers to explain hownew buildings will fit into their context

• Publishing, possibly at county level,design guides identifying features that contribute to local distinctiveness.

Case study: Beaufort CourtSecuring a higher density scheme can benefit the developer financiallyand can generate funds to deliver abetter quality design solution. PeabodyTrust eventually secured planningconsent at Beaufort Court in Fulhamwith a scheme which represented a significant improvement, in bothfinancial and design terms, over their earlier scheme. ArchitectsFeilden Clegg Bradley designed thescheme which was built using modernmethods of construction. The projecthad a chequered planning history,being delayed for two years, and early problems were experienced with financial viability. The finalscheme is higher density and includesa broader mix of tenures thanpreviously envisaged by Peabody.These factors together made theproject viable as well as providing an attractive and innovative scheme.

Features of successful higher densityhousing schemes• Good sound insulation between

dwellings• Relationship with the surrounding

area in terms of connectivity, scale and integration

• Proximity to good (reliable, clean and safe) public transport

• Priority for pedestrians and cyclists• High-quality open space to provide

visual relief and recreation• Some usable private outside space,

such as patios or balconies• Clear demarcation between public

and private spaces• Adequate level of car parking that

does not dominate the street scene.

‘Good masterplans makeconnections and revealopportunities which mightotherwise not be apparent.’11

4/Key factors for success

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Case study: Hammarby SjöstadSustainability should be a mainstreamelement of a new development, not an add-on, and needs to be plannedfor from the outset. The commitmentdoes not end with construction but should include the education of residents in maximizingsustainability. At Hammarby Sjöstadpart of the development includes anEnvironment Information Centrededicated to informing residents and to educating interested groups.

‘…some of the most attractiveand enduring residentialenvironments have thesimplest of structures…housesface the street, gardens runend to end and cars are parkedmainly on the street. The senseof quality comes from detaileddesign of the buildings, thecorners and boundarytreatments, and from maturelandscape.’12

Adopt high standards appropriate for the siteGood design is fundamental to successfulintensification but because sites differ it would be wrong to set the samestandards everywhere. However theliterature and interviews show that:‘Density itself does not appear to be adetermining issue with regard to people’sperceptions of a good place to live.Rather it is coloured by feelings aboutsafety and security, low crime rates, [and] access to good facilities.’

There are a wide range of standards todraw on including CABE’s and the HouseBuilders Federation (HBF)’s Building forLife Standard, English Partnership’sMillennium Communities Standard, theBuilding Research Establishment (BRE)’sEco Homes Standard and SEEDA’sSustainability checklist.

Local authorities can encourage higherstandards by:• Appointing design champions• Praising and publicising successful

schemes, for example through awards• Using design guides to allow flexibility

in how masterplans are implemented.

House builders can support this bynegotiating community benefits thatreflect the nature of the location and site.A good example is in Camden wherehouse builders have to provide 50% of the space (rather than 50% of thehomes) as affordable housing. Thisenables them to provide the extra space that families need.

Achieve sustainable urbanneighbourhoodsBecause new building rates are relativelylow, it is particularly important that webuild to last. This is why attention isplaced on the natural resources usedduring the lifetime of a new building.

But rather than building isolated examplesof ‘eco houses’ it is more important to raise standards generally and set anexample. Equally important as densityrises is to maintain and manage the public realm.

There are numerous ways to address environmental impact, such as reducing the need to travel and the demands on utilities. Methods such as these can produce a betterneighbourhood and make new housingcheaper to run and hence more valuable.Yet it is unrealistic to expect developers to invest more in environmental measures if they make the schemefinancially unviable. The brief must be tailored to the situation.

Local authorities can lead in promotingsustainable urban neighbourhoods by:• Identifying areas where higher densities

are appropriate• Supporting better neighbourhoods

through improved local services• Introducing initiatives, and encouraging

attitude change, to makeneighbourhoods more sustainable,such as pro-walking and cyclingmeasures

• Using a charge on value createdthrough development to create and top up a fund for maintaining the quality of a neighbourhood

• Ensuring that noise, rubbish and themaintenance of open space do not turn into problems, through goodmanagement and service chargeagreements.

House builders can help by piloting new forms of construction, includingallowing occupiers to specify higherenvironmental standards in customisedpackages as is possible when you buy a new car.

4/Key factors for success

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The new planning system promotesbetter design, more sustainabledevelopment and greater communityinvolvement. It is an ideal opportunity toovercome potential barriers to higherdensity building without sacrificing quality.

Case study: Planning for growth in Milton KeynesOne of the main growth areas in theSouth East, Milton Keynes, is expectedto account for 5% of the new houses in the country. As a Local DeliveryVehicle (LDV) to cope with continuedexpansion, Milton Keynes Partnershiphas been set up by Government as asub committee of English Partnershipsto promote further development.Following the preparation of abusiness plan, which sets out the costs of expansion including facilitiesand infrastructure, masterplans forthe areas are being developed anddesign codes are being drafted whichwill guide the detailed design, whilestill allowing a degree of flexibility.

Current developments are being builtat twice the traditional densities, andShenley Park at Kingsmead, marketedas ‘the village in the city’ is a goodexample of the new approach. 200units have been built by Westbury at densities of around 60 to thehectare, and these have sold at prices of between £130,000 and£550,000. The scheme incorporatessome attractive public spaces, withfeatures derived from traditionalvillages. In the east of Milton Keynesat Oakgrove, a Millennium Village

is to be developed by Crest Nicholson,which will set new environmentalstandards, and which will be used to pilot new standards in relation to broadband, with every property being “wired up” from day one.

The most interesting development of all is the move towards agreeing a section 106 framework, which will support application for planningpermission, and also ensure thenecessary infrastructure is provided.The framework will be agreed with the ODPM, based on estimates of thecost of infrastructure in the BusinessPlan, it will aim to lever in additionalgovernment funding in return for ahigher contribution from developers.

Using the idea of a planning tariff, the Milton Keynes Partnership is asking developers to sign up tomaking phased payments on a costper dwelling in stages as developmentproceeds. In return this will be used to secure commitments from otherbodies, such as the Highways Agency,to provide the extra physical andsocial infrastructure. Greatercertainty should help in maintainingdemand, and developers are also going to be joining together to market the expanded New Town.

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Case study: Planning forsmart growth in Kent Kent faces pressures for major new housing developments and theCounty Council is adamant that thenecessary physical and communityinfrastructure must be provided. It is therefore pioneering a number of new approaches to help buildpartnerships with developers. TheKent Design Guide was one of the first to set out guidelines based on good practice, and the KentArchitecture Centre is helping to raise design literacy, and has a panel of approved designers. TheCounty Council is encouraging theadoption of innovative ways ofcollecting and distributing developercontributions.

Work is also underway on drawing up charters for major schemes, suchas the growth of Ashford. These areseeking to incorporate the aspirationsof existing communities from theoutset; and to work with developers on deliverability. This entails ensuring

that the public sector can respond in a joined up way. Hence it is crucialto bring all the stakeholders together,including bodies like the Highways and Environment Agencies, or EnglishPartnerships and SEEDA whereappropriate. It is also important tounderstand the common ground withdevelopers, as well as the differences.

The approach of Kent Design and local initiatives in Kent recognisesthat through working upfront withdevelopers and communities onmasterplanning, the planning process,site briefs, Enquiry By Design andsimilar initiatives, agreement can be reached more easily rather thanlater in the development process. If there is general agreement on the approach then concordats on theprocessing of planning applicationscould be agreed, entailing more speedand certainty than at present. Butequally important, it should lead toschemes that stand the test of timeand to quality places in Kent wherepeople want to live.

Higher densities are sometimescontroversial, and are not alwaysappropriate. However, when well-designed and built in the right situationthis report shows they can be a means of creating better neighbourhoods. Butlocal authorities and house builders haveto work together if better neighbourhoodsand sustainable communities are to beachieved. Because higher densities cancreate special challenges, they require ahigher degree of bespoke design. Newapproaches are being applied in areassuch as the Millennium Villages and the growth areas of Milton Keynes and Ashford, as well as in pioneeringregeneration schemes in the North such as Hulme in Manchester and theRenaissance Towns in Yorkshire. Thereport makes four recommendations:

1/Charters and developmentagreements In areas where a substantial increase innew house building is required (such aswhere house prices have outstrippedincomes) the public and private sectorscan use the idea of ‘charters’ to ‘fasttrack’ development that complies withbasic agreed principles. A charter goesbeyond a vision in enabling stakeholdersto sign up to a set of rules of engagement.

The charter would be signed by publicagencies, and linked to local housingallocations. It could form the basis foragreements with developers or housebuilders as part of the planning process. It could stipulate what each party canexpect from the other over a suitable timeperiod (for example, ten years in the caseof major sites) to provide the necessaryconfidence. It may be incorporated intodevelopment agreements and Section106 planning obligations. It may be linkedto the application of design guides orcodes, or use of design panels, as well as design statements for major schemes.Although it may focus on situations wherehigher densities are sought, a charter maybe relevant for other situations as well.


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2/Capacity building and shared learningGreater use should be made of tools liketeam training and study tours to changefixed mindsets. Design champions canensure a multi-disciplinary group existswithin the authority to handle majorapplications outside normal developmentcontrol. Developers and house builderscan ensure they have special teams tohandle complex projects. Full use can be made of the growing range of tools to reach agreement between the mainstakeholders, as well as drawing on themany published sources of information,such as the Building for Life

3/Planning and development chargesTo ensure existing communities do notlose out from new development, thecharter may be the basis for a tariff tomitigate the impact on communities, localservices and infrastructure. The chargecould be related to the numbers of unitsor the value of the development, andcould be used for neighbourhood revival.It could be linked to the statements forcommunity involvement, but the fundswould need to be clearly accounted for inways that communities could understand.Further work is needed to take properaccount of risks.

4/Monitoring and evaluationFaster progress will be made by sharinglessons from earlier successes and,indeed, failures. Success should not be measured by density levels on specific sites but by whether betterneighbourhoods are created. Keyindicators may include increasing supply and choice of homes, raisingsatisfaction levels with new and existingneighbourhoods, ensuring those onaverage or lower incomes can get on the housing ladder, and changes inproperty values and turnover rates.Further work is also needed to provideways of monitoring success so resultscan be fed into planning and design.

The use of chartersThe idea of a charter is a document that sets out rights and privileges. In theUSA the Charter of the New Urbanism,which is available on the Congress forNew Urbanism website,,promotes the restoration of existing urban centres and towns within coherentmetropolitan regions. It aims to countersprawling suburbs through three sets ofnine succinct principles for the region,neighbourhood, and block or street level,and the principles are being adopted bothby individual designers and developers,and also by public agencies, for examplein the region around San Francisco, andin Portland Oregon.

In Britain, Yorkshire Forward has led the way through its Renaissance Townsprogramme to draw up charters for 18 towns and cities.

These set out a 20-year vision, along with key themes and projects. The Town Team uses an extensive process of community engagement backed up by expert teams of consultants to raiseaspirations. Once signed, the charterforms the basis for commissioningmasterplans and strategic developmentframeworks. Major successes are beingscored in Barnsley, Doncaster andScarborough, and over £80 million of investment has been lined up in the former mining town of Castleford,including a significant amount of higher quality housing than would haveotherwise been developed. WakefieldCouncil wants to keep the 5 townsdistinctive and to secure somethingdifferent from the suburbs that have been built in the past. They are usingDesign Coding on two large sites close to the town centre, and the developersare being supportive.

A different application of the idea is being taken forward by the OxfordshireDesign Partnership, which brings together the County Council and the

five district authorities, supported byCABE. Some authorities are already using charters to ensure that clientsreceive higher standards of customercare. An initial discussion led to the idea of using a charter for housing as a Supplementary Planning Document to secure higher standards of design, and to commit all parties to workingtogether to achieve the highest possibledesign results. Ambitions includeencouraging the wider use of project or development teams with design skills. The charter will emphasise the skills needed to plan and design betterneighbourhoods, and exemplaryschemes will be celebrated throughawards, and used in trainingprogrammes.


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Appendix/Tools for better neighbourhoods

With a limited but growing number of success stories, it is more and moreimportant to share experience on whatworks, and this is happening in a numberof ways. While practice varies from place to place, there is a selection of tools which will improve the quality of new housing development and also help to speed up the process:

Building for Life To promote higher standards in newhousing a number of organisations have joined forces to form the Building for Life Partnership. A practical outcome is the Building for Life website,, and its e-newsletter. The partners are CABE,the House Builders Federation,and the Civic Trust, in association withDesign for Homes, and it is endorsed by the Housing Corporation. The Building for Life website has examples of new housing schemes that meet the Building for Life standards, and will include examples of charters and development agreements.

Design champions Progress depends on people, and manylocal authorities are appointing councillorswho can take the lead on design matters,supported by an officer with relevantexperience or training. They aresupported regionally by a number

of Architecture Centres, some of which have their own panels of designers whoare recognised for being able to createbetter neighbourhoods. Some of theRegional Development Agencies, like theSouth East and Yorkshire Forward, haveput a particular stress on design in thesupport they are giving to local initiatives,and Yorkshire Forward is supporting aseries of Town Teams with consultantswho know how to produce masterplansand development frameworks.

Capacity building and training Courses are on offer often run by localuniversities working with groups ofcouncils to improve their understandingof good design and how to create it. Forexample, CABE has been working with a group of councils in the OxfordshireDesign Partnership, with support from theUniversity of the West of England, and arange of short courses are also being runincluding an annual Summer School.(

Guides for clientsCabe has published a series of guidesdesigned to help all those involved in commissioning buildings anddevelopments. These include CreatingExcellent Buildings, Creating SuccessfulMasterplans, and Creating SuccessfulNeighbourhoods, all of which areavailable from

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This report has been prepared for

CABE and the Corporation of

London by URBED with research

by PRP, Savills, Buro Happold and

the LSE Cities Programme.

CABE wishes to thank the

members of project steering

group: June Barnes, Malcolm

Cooper, Peter Derrick, David

Edmonds, John Pounder, John

Slaughter, Martin Willey, Liz Willis.


1 & 5 Land for Housing: Current

Practice and Future Option

Barlow, J., Bartlett, K., Hooper, A.,

and Whitehead, C., YPS in

association with the Joseph

Rowntree Foundation, 2002

2 But would you live there?

Shaping attitudes to urban living

URBED, MORI and the School for

Policy Studies, University of Bristol

For the Urban Task Force, ODPM,


3 & 4 Housing Density: What

do residents think? Tunstall,

Rebecca, Department of Social

Policy, London School of

Economics. For East Thames

Housing Group, 2002

6, 10, & 11 Design Reviewed

Urban Housing – Lessons learnt

from projects reviewed by CABE’s

expert design panel CABE, 2004

7 The Draft London Plan: A draft

Spatial Development Strategy for

London Greater London Authority,

2002 (Para 4B.23)

8 Urban Design Compendium

Llewelyn-Davies, English

Partnerships and the Housing

Corporation, 2000

9 Capital Gains: Making High

Density Housing Work in London

Cope, Helen with Avebury

International, for the London

Housing Federation, 2002

12 Better Places to Live: By

Design DTLR/CABE, 2002


p5 Measurements of density,

Definition of density used in PPG3

Councillors’ Toolbox: Making the

best use of land, SEERA, 2004

p6 The Meaning of density: Living

Places, URBED for DETR, 2000

The insert maps are reproduced

with the permission of Ordnance

Survey on behalf of The Controller

of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Crown Copyright. All rights

reserved. Unauthorised

reproduction infringes Crown

Copyright and may lead to

prosecution or civil proceedings.

Licence Number 100041331

p7 The density gradient: Building

the 21st Century Home, Rudlin,

David and Falk, Nicholas,

Architectural Press, 1999

p9 New homes in the South East:

House Builders Federation

p11 Higher density housing can

deliver real social benefits: In

principle…, The Hyde

Commission, 2003

p16 The top 10 biggest barriers to

building higher-density

development in your district:

Attitudes to higher density

developments in the South East,

URBED with MORI, 2004

p21 Features of higher-density

housing schemes – based on

research conducted by PRP


Picture credits

Front Cover Tenants outside

their home on the south coast:


Two boys: Mark Ellis and Ashley

Bingham ©ICD Ltd

p4 Methleys, Leeds ©Lizzie

Coombes – Heads Together


p10 Gainsborough Studios,

Hackney, London ©

p12 Beaufort Court, Lillie Road,

London ©PRP Architects

p13 Ingress Park, Greenhithe,

London ©Crest Nicholson.

Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm

©PRP Architects. Oakridge,

Basingstoke ©Alex Ely

p14 Fulham Island, London ©PRP

Architects. Vauban, Freiburg,

Germany ©Alex Ely.

Homes for Change, Manchester

©Sabine Engelhardt. Reiselfeld,

Freiburg, Germany ©Nick Falk

p15 Fulham Island, London

©URBED. Tesco’s, Kensington,

London ©Wagstaff’s Design

p16 Ingress Park, Greenhithe,

London ©PRP Architects. Staiths,

South Bank, Gateshead

©Wayne Hemingway

p18 Brewery Square, Clerkenwell,

London ©Richard Learoyd,

Phil Sayer, Harry Ker. Chronos,

Whitechapel, London ©Mark Ellis

p19 Fulham Island, London

©Alexi Marmot Associates

p20 Old Haymarket, Liverpool

©Richard Cooper. Hammarby

Sjöstad, Stockholm ©PRP

Architects. Charter Quay,


©St George Plc. Limehouse Cut,

London ©Telford Homes.

Beaufort Court, Lillie Road,

London ©Amos Goldreich/FCBA

p22 Hammarby Sjöstad,

Stockholm ©PRP Architects

p23 Milton Keynes and Campbell

Park ©EDAW

p24 Chatham Maritime,

St. Mary’s Island, Chatham

©PCKO ArchitectsDes


d : D



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Commission for Architecture & the Built EnvironmentThe Tower Building, 11 York RoadLondon SE1 7NX

T 020 7960 2400F 020 7960 2444E [email protected]

The Corporation of LondonGuildhallLondon EC2P 2EJ

T 020 7606 3030F 020 7332 1991E [email protected]

Published 2005