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Build Better Together - Who are we planning for?
We are delighted to bring you this week a guest blog on the need for better planning by Simon Payne, Director of Consulting of Cambridge and former Director of Environment at Cambridge City Council
We are now in the age of slogans. ‘Build Back Better’. ‘Hands Face Space’. ‘Check Change Go’. Our complex changing, sometimes threatening world compressed into a short simple instruction. But what is ‘Better’ and where should we go? These questions surely need to be answered by those we are building for.
I started my town planning career in the city of Birmingham in the mid 1970s at the tail end of a comprehensive redevelopment that provided for the rehousing of hundreds of thousands of people over three decades. There was no doubt that demolishing unfit housing for modern housing apartments amounted to ‘building back better’. The information films of the time featured men in white coats proudly pointing at great plans describing the wonderful new places. But in time it became clear that these wonderful visions broke up established communities and imposed a way of life that many found isolating and unwelcoming.
The lesson from the post war era was the need for public participation and the ability for the ‘consumers’ of our planned places to shape the new plans. In our time co-design is the imperative. And our age also gives us new opportunities to consult and involve the future occupiers of our new places. Digital tools allow abstract plans to be turned into three dimensional models that viewers can walk through or even fly through. Digital communication tools provide the means for many more people to engage in the conversation and to ensure the true diversity of our society is reflected in our thinking.
In a global world there is plenty of inspiration to be had from other places. I believe we can learn a great deal from cities such as Heidelberg in Germany. The City Government has worked closely with citizens, the University and business in developing redundant areas of the city – and Patrick Henry Village (a former US Army base) are good examples where zero and positive carbon solutions are creating attractive places where people want to live and work.
But I also think there is another important lesson to be found in the planning of post war redevelopment in Britain. Culture, climate and technology need to work in harmony to create successful places. These three elements are different throughout the world and in my view post war British planning failed to properly this. Different cultures have varying approaches to everyday matters such as need for privacy, tolerance of noise, use and responsibility for shared spaces, personal safety … the list is long. Solutions used successfully in one place sometimes fail in a different context. For manicured municipal parks were not sufficient compensation for a private yard or a quiet residential street where children could play overlooked by their parents and .
Successful planning is not making a choice from a pattern book (even if it is a digital three dimensional one) but engaging in meaningful conversation with those who will use and occupy the new places. I believe it is their view about what is ‘better’ or even ‘beautiful’ that will determine if the choices are successful.
in the spirit of the time my slogan is ‘Build Better Together’.
IBA Concept creating Science Cities in Germany
Interior of Arm HQ at Peterhouse Technology Park, Cambridge (Scott Brownrigg - image by Clements Photography)
Simon Payne was invited to attend a recent Future Cities panel discussion and contributed
to the debate about how the UK can compete for connectivity and environment with the progress of
German technology cities. Simon made comparisons with the German approach to innovation campuses:
'We are competing on a world stage so how we compete on the quality of life, whether it's social, cultural, academic infrastructure-led, or scientific, is important. Germany and Heidelberg in particular have been very strong on this. One example is how Heidelberg has taken the ' Bau-' model (International Building Exhibitions experimenting with urban and regional development) and applied it as a 'living lab'. A good example is the Patrick Henry village, a former US army base six miles out from the old town, which is a place developed as a 'city for knowledge' with homes for 10,000 people and 5,000 jobs.'
'Taking the IBA concept, the Heidelberg authorities have been able to experiment with autonomous vehicles on the campus alongside walking and cycling, and a energy network. This makes it a strong model for sustainability and knowledge innovation. This IBA project has been done within the context of an international advisory symposium, and Carlo Ratti the Italian architect has been involved. The question is how do we raise the debate in the UK on quality and innovation? Covid-19 has propelled forward us on this debate to 2030 in terms of how we live, so now is a good time to have this discussion on how we develop our knowledge and tech cities.'
Science Cities II- Discussion Findings
An extract of Simon Payne's contribution to the Forum on 7th October can be found by clicking the link below:
Future Cities Forum; Science Cities II
On 7 October took part in a discussion forum that included Stephen Dance (Director – Commercial Adviser Team: Infrastructure & Projects Authority) and Sue Kershaw (Managing Director, Costain Group – Transportation Division) along with other influential participants in the delivery of environmentally sustainable growth.
The Forum reviewed progress on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc initiative and connections to Birmingham’s important Edgbaston Medical Quarter via HS2. The discussion focussed on the opportunities for delivering high quality growth and infrastructure in a post pandemic world. The report has been published separately.
Garden Towns in Halle, Germany
Simon Payne met Rene Rebenstorf, Deputy Mayor for Urban Development and Environment at the City of Halle, Saxon-Anhalt, Germany.
The discussion focussed on plans in Halle to create two new garden towns on the edge of the city. There is a good opportunity to share best practice between British and German town planners.
Sue Manns, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute
Payne was honoured to attend the inauguration of Sue Manns as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute on 22 January 2020. The ceremony took place in London at the Royal Society of Arts. Sue gave an inspirational speech highlighting the vital importance of community engagement in planning, the duty of planners to address climate change in place making and the need to have greater diversity in the town planning profession. More about her speech is available at: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2020/january/planning-profession-must-become-more-diverse,-says-new-rtpi-president/
Transport Strategies for Congested Science Cities
Future Cities Forum: Cambridge Workshop 20 November 2019
Heather Fearfield writes:
Future Cities Forum
Visit to Poundbury, Dorset
Simon Payne recently attended, along with Hayley Richardson from Uttlesford District Council, a site tour of the highly acclaimed model town at Poundbury, Dorset being developed by the Duchy of Cornwall. Simon had the privilege of discussing Garden Towns with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Passivhaus Scheme in Uttlesford District
On 20th September Simon Payne accompanied a delegation of senior councillors and officers to view the Passivhaus scheme at Wimbish, Essex. The 14 dwelling scheme by Hastoe Housing Association is an excellent example of highly energy efficient homes which also meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Tenants enjoy significantly reduced costs, for instance annual electricity bills of around £150, and the approach demonstrates the real potential for carbon neutral housing.
Future Cities Forum 26 June 2019
Reproduced from the Future Cities Forum Blog at www.futurecitiesforum.london
Planning infrastructure and place for garden communities
Our Future Cities Forum on 26th June at London City Hall will conclude with round table discussions looking at joined-up infrastructure for cities and planning for new towns and garden communities.
Simon Payne of Lambsquay Consulting, who is leading one of the round table discussions on 26 June, writes here about planning lessons from the past for the future of housing development for new communities:
Are there lessons for urban regeneration emerging from the new garden communities being planned in the UK? The Town and Country Planning Association is providing strong leadership through nine principles that have their roots in the 20th Century Garden City Movement. Each principle has been formulated in the context of 21st century challenges.
How is it that we currently have a development process that directs resourcing away from much needed infrastructure and quality of life objectives? Grant of planning permission often gifts a huge financial windfall to the landowner (for example on the allocation of land for housing in a local plan the value of one acre can increase 20 times - with further premiums when planning permission is obtained). £100 million in a new settlement which could otherwise fund excellent schools, high quality design and much needed genuinely affordable housing. Land value capture is at the heart of success in this case.
Stewardship is a second key priority. The creation of an entity, with an assured income in perpetuity, that belongs and is managed by the new community to look after and maintain public spaces and buildings in the new place. This approach also links into the need to build in adaptability to design so the community can meet their needs as technology and behaviours change. A new settlement can take a generation to be built and in that time there will be great technological change. We can no longer think in terms of creating the perfect end state plan for a place. For example a future world made up exclusively of autonomous vehicles will result in differing demands for our public spaces.
Finally we need to think more holistically. Putting the quality of life of people at the heart of creating new places. Recognising that catchment areas of excellent schools are a better incentive
than slick marketing. That schools linked to local business (for instance STEM schools), and the provision of genuinely affordable housing, start to give people more choices about where they live.
Great design of buildings and spaces with real community involvement underpinned the Garden City Movement. We surely need to apply these principles to the new communities of the 21st century whether
or not they exist on greenfield sites.
Simon Payne DipTP MSc MRTPI FCMI
Director: Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited
Below: Original plan for Hampstead Garden Suburb
Healthy Homes Bill
On 18th June 2019 Simon Payne attended a Parliamentary Reception hosted by Lord Best to celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act which allowed the building of state owned housing. The Town and Country Planning Association has published ten principles, set out in a draft ‘Healthy Homes Bill’, that all new homes must:
1. be safe in relation to the risk of fire;
2. have adequate living space;
3. have access to natural light;
4. be accessible and the environment that the homes are in should be accessible and safe places;
5. be within walkable neighbourhoods;
6. secure radical reductions in carbon emissions in line with the provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008;
7. have walkable access to green and play space that is open to everyone;
8. be resilient to a changing climate;
9. be secure and meet designing out crime standards; and
10. meet enhanced standards to prevent unacceptable noise pollution.
The intention is that a ‘Healthy Homes Act’ will enable Councils to have stronger powers to secure decent and genuinely affordable new homes.
Essex Design Guide Wins National Planning Award for Design Excellence
The new Essex Design Guide has won a major new Planning Award.
Simon, together with other colleagues from Uttlesford District Council, helped shape the digital and smart technology components of the Essex Design Guide to turn this into an award winning excellent piece of collaborative work (pictured). The document forms part of a range of initiatives by Essex Chief Planning Officers to promote excellence in design.
Successful Garden Communities Bid
Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing, has announced a successful bid for three Garden Communities in Uttlesford to join the Government’s national programme.
An initial grant of £750,000 has been awarded to support preparatory work on the delivery of the new Communities.
Simon Payne assisted the District Council and Essex County Council in preparing the bid and details are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/37-million-to-fund-5-new-garden-towns-across-the-country
All Party Parliamentary Group on New Towns
On 12 March 2019 Simon Payne attended a Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons. Lucy Allan MP, Chair of the APPG on New Towns, spoke about the vital role New Towns in addressing housing and economic needs.
The Reception followed an excellent conference organised by the Town and Country Planning Association on a New Future for New Towns.
The need for clear strategic vision and long term investment in infrastructure provision is a clear message from these events.
Uttlesford Local Plan Submitted
On 18 January 2019 Uttlesford District Council submitted the draft Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination. The Local Plan includes proposals for three new garden towns that will be built in accordance with the Town & Country Planning Association garden city principles.
Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited has assisted in providing consultancy support for the Local Plan.
Information about the Local Plan can be viewed at https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan
More details about the garden city principles may be viewed by clicking the link below:
Blueprint for a Better Planning System
Simon Payne attended the Town and Country Planning Association Annual Conference on 22 November 2018.
Kit Malthouse (Minister of State for Housing) was the keynote speaker. He emphasised that his critical mission is to deliver 300k new homes per annum which will require 1m new homes in the pipeline at any one time. Stating support of the planning profession is key to addressing this objective and he wanted to see more planners in top management teams in local authorities and more routes into joining the profession.
The conference reflected on the fundamental importance of placemaking and quality design in bringing forward significant increases in housing delivery.
Parliamentary Launch of TCPA Report on Planning for Affordable Housing
On 11 October 2018 Simon Payne attended the launch of the Town and Country Planning Association Report on Affordable Housing.
The event was chaired by Helen Hayes MP Member of the Select Committee on Housing. The publication of the Report followed extensive research by the TCPA which included a workshop discussion that Simon contributed to on behalf of Uttlesford District Council.
The Report can be viewed at https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-for-affordable-housing-report
UK Study Tour: University of Washington, Seattle, USA
On 2 July 2018 Simon Payne gave a presentation on New Garden Towns to Urban Design & Planning students from Seattle. The presentation was part of a study visit to Milton Keynes which also comprised contributions by Troy Hayes (Managing Director of Troy Planning), John Acres (President of the Royal Town Planning Institute), Michael Edwards (Teaching Fellow – University College London), Tim Skelton (Milton Keynes Forum) and James Povey (Milton Keynes Council)
Simon Payne (left) John Acres (centre) and Troy Hayes (right)
Uttlesford Local Plan Reaches Regulation 19 Stage
On 19 June 2018 Uttlesford District Council approved the publication of the Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan. Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited has assisted in providing consultancy support for the Plan which comprises a strong environmentally led strategy including the provision of three new garden communities in the district that comply with the Town and Country Planning Association Principles for Garden Cities.
The Plan may be viewed via the link below
Launch of Cambridge Innovation Park China Centre
Simon Payne joined the celebrations for a new partnership between Incubyte, Cambridge Accelerate and the Cambridge Innovation Park. Jenny Wong, founder and CEO of Cambridge Accelerate and Councillor George Pippas, Mayor of Cambridge, took part in the formal opening of the new Centre which will encourage and facilitate two-way investment and international expansion of Cambridge, UK and Chinese companies.
Planning England's Garden Cities
In April Simon made a Garden Cities joint presentation in New Orleans at the National Conference of the American Planning Association. The presentation can be found below:
British Academy Seminar: Big Cities - Small Changes
In February 2018 Simon Payne took part in the British Academy Seminar in London entitled ‘Big Cities – Small Changes: Thinking Creatively Through Urban Infrastructure’. The seminar explored the challenges of how cities need to be able to adapt to change. Topics included considering the issue of accessing local knowledge in China, coping with the aftermath of an earthquake in Kathmandu and understanding the causes of violence associated with poverty in Sao Paulo.
Planning the new Garden Cities of England
Simon Payne is speaking in New Orleans, USA at the Annual Conference of the American Planning Association . The session, on Sunday 22 April 2018, will comprise a joint presentation with Troy Hayes, Jon Goodall and John Fregonese. The focus will be on contrasting the UK approach to planning garden cities with a new development in Louisville, Kentucky.
Lecture Series for Senior Officials from Hebei Province, People's Republic of China
On 29th of November 2017 Simon Payne gave a series of lectures to a delegation of senior officials from Hebei Province China. The delegation was led by Mr Jiang Wending, Vice Mayor of Shijazhuang. The presentation included an overview of the Planning System in England and case studies of development in Cambridge and garden towns in Essex. The sessions were able to focus on a 'Quality Charter for Growth' and the Garden City principles promoted by the British Town and Country Planning Association.
Why is the Garden Town Movement Relevant Today?
In September Simon attended a Town and Country Planning Association study tour of Garden Villages in the UK. The tour comprised six villages including Bournville, Port Sunlight and Saltaire. The visits included recent development at Lightmoor, New Earswick and Derwenthorpe and there was a good opportunity to see the garden town principles of land value capture and long term community stewardship in operation.
The visits illustrated the opportunities to successfully apply garden town concepts to contemporary development to achieve places where people want to live out of choice.
Shaping and Applying the Technology of the Future
This article was written by Simon Payne and was first published in The Planner magazine www.theplanner.co.uk in August 2017.
If you wish to reproduce the artice, please contact The Planner's editor on email@example.com
Uttlesford Economic Development Strategy & Action Plan 2018-21
Simon has been commissioned to help prepare a new Economic Development Strategy to support Sustainable Business Growth in Uttlesford.
Working with Simon Jackson, Uttlesford Economic Development Officer, he is to prepare a report for consideration by the elected members in October 2017.
The Strategy is action orientated and will help promote significant levels of business growth.
Digital Capital of Germany
Earlier this year Heidelberg was shortlisted, along with four other cities, as Digital Capital of Germany. The Award of Digital Capital was run by the Bitkom organisation and it was aimed at cities of around 150,000 people. The other four cities were Wolfsberg, Kaiserslautern and Paderborn with Darmstadt (home of the European Space Operations Centre) being the winner.
Heideberg put in a very strong bid for the Digital Capital Award. The decision to go for the Award followed work on a Smart City Vision for Heidelberg by Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited.
Heidelberg continues to be a leading city for smart technology and an exemplar of partnership working.
#smartforfuture Cities London Conference
In May 2017 Simon chaired two sessions of the #SmarttoFuture Cities Conference in central London. The Conference was attended by over 200 delegates from all over Europe.
A lively discussion took place about how to describe Future Cities and the term ‘Agile Cities’ was favoured. Eldar Tuzmukhamedov presented the approach in Moscow to public- private partnerships. Petrat Dirk described Hamburg’s initiative to E-Culture including augmented reality that allows visitors to view archive photographs in current settings. Renata Dameri from Genoa gave an excellent talk about measuring the real benefits of technological change for citizens.
All in all a really interesting and inspiring conference.
Thinking across boundaries through the lens of smart solutions
In March 2017 Simon was interviewed about the role of his consultancy company.
The interview can be watched below;
Smart City Vision for Heidelberg
Simon recently completed his report for the Mayor of Heidelberg on a proposed Smart City Vision.
Simon presented the Vision to a Citizens’ Forum in Heidelberg on 22 February.
The slides of the presentation are set out below: (Not available via mobile the mobile website)
Future Cities Forum Discusses Simon's Vision
Future Cities Forum’s Heather Fearfield recently published an article on Simon’s work on the Future Cities Forum website.
The article entitled "Can smart technology benefit everyone?" can be found here: http://www.futurecitiesforum.london/single-post/2017/01/08/Can-smart-technology-benefit-everyone
or embedded into this website below: