Research reveals a lack of understanding amongst practitioners, professionals, housing providers, and developers of how neighbourhoods can be transformed to provide better places to live. Despite there being no shortage of research or guidance from the built environment sector on what makes a better place to live, there is little evidence that this guidance is actually being put into practice.
As we have limited land supply, inevitably the majority of new housing will have to be built either as infill in areas surrounded by existing built environment, or as extensions to urban or suburban development. It is key that any such development should maximise opportunities of connectivity with existing infrastructure, whether green space, power, transport or service provision.
Any new housing developer must look beyond the red line of the development plot to establish links to the surrounding built environment. But how is one to embed this in a culture that for generations has kept to within the red line boundary, creating islands of housing that is often inward looking, bereft of easy access to necessary services, and limiting the number of daily errands that residents can complete by foot or cycle.
This we believe is the heart of the challenge and our solution for it, is in two parts:
1. a mapping resource that provides would be housing developers a means to establish how well connected and the level of service provision within a walk or short cycle ride is a development plot
2. an e-learning platform to signpost advice, effective interventions, good practice and case studies (drawn from developments within a 50 mile radius of the plot) that reveal how a housing development can be a better place to live.