WEBINARS

National Design Guide: opportunities and obstacles

To help promote the new National Design Guide, we are running a series of free webinars. Our webinars provide an overview of the National Design Guide, including demonstrations of best practice and reflection on the post-covid19 world. We also cover the opportunities and obstacles that the National Design Guide presents.

The sessions will be interactive, with the Panel using questions and comments from the audience to help shape the discussion. We will also be asking you, the audience to provide us and others with insight into how your practice is being influenced by national and global events.

The webinars will be helpful to Councillors, and practitioners in the public and private sector, and anyone interested in delivering high-quality, well-designed places. Our panellists have extensive careers in both public and private practice and will be sharing their experience and perspectives.

The sessions will be delivered by Creating Excellence, and Design Midlands who manage the Design South West Review Panel and Midlands Design Review Panel and design enabling services. As Design Network partners, Creating Excellence and Design Midlands are providing this support as part of a programme being delivered across England by the Design Network, supported by MHCLG.

Feedback will be collated after the events.
National Design Guide Overview

Webinar 5: Art, Creativity & Place and The National Design Guide

The National Design Guide (NDG) uses terms such as ‘delight’ and ‘beauty’ signifying a renewed recognition in place and creativity.

The NDG embraces the anti ‘silo’ approach to placemaking. To incorporate art and creativity at an early stage in the design process is a good starting point in achieving this and for decision makers and stakeholders to be more ‘risk embracing’ to create more memorable places.

We need to embrace beauty and playfulness, art and creativity in how we design places. There is a false division between functionality and quality: COVID has highlighted this. We can now explore different relationships with the public realm and re-write the rules.

Is it too expensive to add art installations in new or renewed development? Don’t be afraid to invest in art, it’s embodied in our culture.
Design Review can advise how art can add value to a scheme without additional cost through creative approaches to pragmatic situations and Panel members can reference up to date data/evidence to support recommendations.

Inject dynamism in place through art, activity in space is just as important as built form - ‘Play’ is recognised as children’s expression of culture. Wales is the first country to legislate for play and regularly audits formal and informal space to assess: how welcoming it is; whether it encourages risk taking; and how playable the space is. Public space is not only about children playing -the unforgotten demographics are equally as important and human interaction is key.
PANEL:
Garry Hall, Urban Designer (Facilitator), Fiona Heron, Landscape Architect, Jo Fairfax, NESTA Fellow, Alison Davies, Architect
Jo trained in holography at the Royal College of Art, London and the Holocentre, New York.
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Alison is an award-winning architect, educator and creative practitioner with over 25 years’ post-qualification experience. A former CABE Enabler, her experience is in community and voluntary sector projects, with a particular specialism in arts and play.
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Garry Hall is an urban designer with extensive experience in master planning, design coding and developing design guidance.
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A landscape architect with over 25 years’ strategic and detailed design experience in public and private sectors, Fiona has won urban design awards and international garden design competitions.
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Webinar 4: Movement and the National Design Guide

PANEL:
Garry Hall, Urban Designer (Facilitator), Tim Stonor Managing Director of Space Syntax, Juliet Bidgood architect/urban designer, Phil Jones Chartered Engineer
Tim Stonor is an architect and urban planner who has devoted his career to the analysis and design of human behaviour patterns
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Phil is Chairman at PJA and is a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the planning and design of highway and other infrastructure, with particular expertise in transport planning for sustainable modes.
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Juliet Bidgood is an architect/urban designer who works at a range of scales from the tactical to the material to create or shape places.
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Garry Hall is an urban designer with extensive experience in master planning, design coding and developing design guidance.
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Webinar 3: Community and the National Design Guide

The National Design Guide (NDG) makes 45 references to ‘community' against five themes: resilience, facilities/services, cohesion, management and community-led development. The NDG focuses on ‘quality' but fails to fully address ‘process’. Conversations with the community need to start early to encourage involvement and participation.

To deliver high quality design a community needs support to facilitate conversations on design in planning, the role of architects and other design professionals is crucial.

To achieve social and environmental equity, we need an understanding of the 'social variables of place’; early site analysis helps to demonstrate how that can be measured.

COVID has made digital consultation more accessible. But, the fundamentals of good community engagement remain the same - manage expectations, identify hard to reach groups and be proactive in providing timely and consistent feedback.

Design Review Panels could be adapted to engage better with the community. Although confidentiality of schemes remains essential, there is scope to consider this process.

Design and Access Statements need to be strengthened, their use to explain how a scheme has evolved is useful, but generally they lack emphasis on wider issues of health, well-being and social inequality.

PANEL:
Annabel Keegan, Urban Designer (Facilitator), Chris Twomey, Architect (Design:Midlands Chair), Peter Neal, Landscape Architect, Laura Alvarez, Urban Design, Community Facilitator
Laura is the East Midlands Convenor for the Urban Design Group and was amongst the first recognised urban design practitioners in the UK.
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An urban designer and transport planner with a background in architecture with 18 years’ of practical experience specialising in the delivery of design-led projects both within the public and private sector.
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Peter is a landscape architect, environmental planner and ecologist with over 30 years’ experience.
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Chris is a chartered architect with 30 years’ experience, including a year in practice in Australia.
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Webinar 2: Character and the National Design Guide

The National Design Guide (NDG) explains the 10 characteristics of a well-designed place but falls short of really exploring streets, movement and connectivity, which are integral to character.

The NDG fails to address the processes needed to achieve high quality design and how it relates to delivery, including early community collaboration in planning stages. 

‘Context' plays an important role in defining character; emotional, physical and historical connections and activity within a place. Who are we building for? Is it well-connected? The NDG encourages the creation of, and not just the replication of context.

A vision is important in justifying a design approach. Using Design and Access Statements to explain that rationale is encouraged.

Design Codes offer a controlled approach to design, but do they have their limitations? Can they ensure character? 18th century Georgian town building depended on formal design codes; how does this compare to 21st century factory-made homes?
 
The post-COVID world is encouraging a rise in ‘critical consumers' of the public realm. Sticky streets (streets where people want to linger and enjoy their surroundings) are essential to this.
 
A landscape-led approach to character definition is not just about token tree planting – its more sophisticated, aligning with contextual analysis. Landscape needs to be considered at the outset, in conjunction with the street hierarchy.
PANEL:
Garry Hall, Urban Designer (Facilitator), Joe Holyoak, Architect (Design:Midlands Vice Chair), Fiona Heron, Landscape Architect 
Emily Walsh, Transport Engineer
Garry Hall is an urban designer with extensive experience in master planning, design coding and developing design guidance.
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A landscape architect with over 25 years’ strategic and detailed design experience in public and private sectors, Fiona has won urban design awards and international garden design competitions.
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Joe is an architect and urban designer, practising from the Custard Factory in Birmingham. He was previously Director of the MA(Urban Design) course at Birmingham City University. His practice is primarily concerned with masterplanning and regeneration.
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Emily is a Transport Planner and Urban Designer at SYSTRA where she leads a team who work at all scales to plan and design transport and streets to enhance places.
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Webinar 1: Climate and the National Design Guide

In this first session, the Panel discusses design issues around climate. Good design must take into consideration the challenges of both adapting to and mitigating against climate change. We will cover topics such as the need to reduce travel and make travel more sustainable, energy efficiency within the construction sector, and the role of landscape and water management in the future of our places.

OVERVIEW
  • Climate Emergency, has it been given the prominence it deserves? Still a reliance on government to deliver climate change. What does zero carbon really mean - at what level can this be genuinely be delivered? The benefits of tree planting in terms of carbon and biodiversity.
  • COVID is forcing changes in travel and people are experiencing health and wellbeing benefits, valuing quietness, the lack of pollution and being able to wander through streets.  How will society respond during the post COVID recession and global reduction in energy use? COVID has re-emphasised need for decision making on climate.
  • Planning, the National Design Guide focuses on plot levels; climate and biodiversity change needs to be embedded strategically and more holistically. Strategies needed for sites to achieve zero carbon; to make greater use of what we have: refurbish existing buildings to conserve carbon and in terms of landscape and brownfield sites, the existing value of green infrastructure and biodiversity.
  • Health and wellbeing interdependency, biodiversity and climate - positive, multi functional responses can be achieved through skilled design and planning;
PANEL:
Garry Hall, Urban Designer (Facilitator), Prof. Peter Clegg, Architect (Design:SW Chair), Sarah Jones Morris, Landscape Architect, Doug King, Energy & Sustainability Consultant
An internationally recognised pioneer in the field of sustainable construction, Doug King brings a scientific approach and environmental sensitivity to projects.
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Sarah is a multi-award winning landscape architect, urban designer, and director of Bristol-based Landsmith Associates.
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Peter Clegg is Chair of Creating Excellence’s South West Design Review Panel.
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Garry Hall is an urban designer with extensive experience in master planning, design coding and developing design guidance.
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...because everyone deserves better designed places
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