The Misalignment of Policy and Practice in Sustainable Urban Design
The urban renaissance that took place in major UK cities during the late 1990’s was seen as a response to counter-urbanisation and inner city decline. This chapter will argue that there has been an implementation gap between the intent of urban design policy and its impact on the ground. Drawing upon the experiences of the lead author as an urban designer in the North-East of England over this period, the text will present examples of the unforeseen consequences that have accompanied the policy trajectory of sustainability and quality within the built environment, specifically looking at a move towards community-led development away from centralisation, by passing local government in the process. The chapter will examine how this urban renaissance has emerged through policies focused on the renewal of the housing market and more sustainable communities (e.g. HMR Pathfinder) to the creation of the Big Society with devolved services and funding, initiatives aimed at individual households (e.g. the Green Deal) and stakeholder engagement. In analysing this policy journey the chapter will consider why demolition and new build invariably occurred instead of refurbishment and community development; why the accepted need for evidence largely ignored qualitative and anecdotal insight from local communities and why end state planning was pursued in preference to the need for a more adaptive and dynamic process.
Citation:Crilly, M., Lemon, M. (2018) The Misalignment of Policy and Practice in Sustainable Urban Design. In: Dastbaz, M., Naudé, W., Manoochehri, J. (Eds.) Smart Futures, Challenges of Urbanisation, and Social Sustainability. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing, pp.69-87.