Defining The Value Of Design

Fri 16 Nov 2018
Issue nine cover 1

This week we take a moment to reflect and look at three sources of research and evidence around some of the underlying problems we face in housing design.

While we are united in realising the importance and value of housing design, we don’t quite agree why. How do we go about defining what ‘value’ for design means? One of the first studies from CACHE (the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence) sets out to look at this conundrum. CACHE is a new consortium to tackle UK housing problems and pulls together 14 partners from academia and housing policy and practice to build a systematic evidence base. Their October workshop on the subject presented a working definition of design value, featuring its three dimensions; environmental, social and economic. The next steps will be to establish how the design value agenda is addressed during housing delivery.

There are other experts in the field addressing this issue. Flora Samuel, Professor of Architecture at Reading reviews how design value in the housing sector is defined and identifies existing methods to measure its value.

New kids on the block, Public Practice, set out to expand public sector planning capacity through its placement programme, matching built environment experts with authorities in need of additional planning and placemaking expertise. They also undergo research which is available to the public. Articles include the very practical ‘What are the best ways to structure the pre-app process to achieve design quality?’ by Rachel Hearn’s and the more discursive article, How can suburban intensification be popular? by Tom Fox.

Public Practice

Image credit: AJ

Industry focused NHBC Foundation publishes a range of research overseen by an expert panel. Its most recent research demonstrates how developers are embracing Modern Methods of Construction, Modern methods of construction: who’s doing what.

We might still be in two minds about what design value means, but there is no ignoring its importance in planning housing.

Until next week. Please make sure to send in your ideas to
Author: Jane Briginshaw

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