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Design Matters: Promoting Good Design Through the Planning System

This second in the Design Matters series highlights the tools available through the planning system that can enable local authorities to demand higher standards of design for new housing in their area.

Good design can help us do much more to tackle the housing crisis.

Many of the tools to facilitate this are already in place; what we lack is an agenda for improving the design quality of new residential developments. Design standards are too often seen as an impediment, where in fact, when applied correctly, they provide greater certainty for developers and support sustainable development.

This document follows our recently published report Design Matters: RIBA Award Winning Homes, which highlighted examples of large scale, high quality housing developments from recent years. Using the tools detailed in this document, such as Design Review Panels and Housing Design Guides, local authorities can demand higher standards of design for new housing being brought forward in their area.

We encourage everybody with an interest in protecting the quality of the built environment to engage with their own local politicians to drive up design quality where they live.

Published January 2019. 

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