Why are there are so many badly designed edge-of-town housing schemes?

jerry tate

Planners and architects must engage more with developers to ensure plans are of good design and provide connectivity with other developments, argues Jerry Tate

Our practice has built up specialist knowledge working in landscape settings, often creating low-energy housing, and this makes us a natural fit for ‘edge of settlement’ developments. Typically, these projects start with a field on the periphery of a town which appears to be capable of taking some urban expansion. It is our responsibility as architects to ensure that any masterplan will create a genuine addition to the community, whilst also compensating for the loss of the natural habitat.

We are by no means the only architects striving to design great places to live in such circumstances but there is a lot less engagement from the architecture profession when compared to residential work in dense urban environments. Part of the reason for this might be the limited resources for certain values of development, and there is also the simple geographical fact that many architects are based in cities (primarily London). I also believe that there is a reticence to work on such sites due to concerns about building on greenfield sites and the consequential increased urbanization of the countryside.

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