Report urges ‘Bimby’ developments

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Policy-makers, developers and architects need to take more notice of what the public wants from its neighbourhoods to help tackle the country’s housing shortage, one of the Prince of Wales’s charities has warned.

A report by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community stressed that residents were against rapid, exclusive and overbearing urban development, favouring street-based housing, walkability, green spaces and a sense of local identity.

The research, entitled Housing Communities: What People Want, argued that “beauty in my backyard” – or Bimby – developments were needed to overcome opposition to new house building – the “not in my backyard” or Nimby attitude – and pave the way for more homes to meet demand.

“Communities around the UK are concerned about out-of-context, inappropriately scaled buildings, poor architectural design and have experienced the dire end results of design processes that do not consult local people properly,” it said.

Charles marked the launch of the report with a visit to the Packington Estate in Islington, north London – championed as a successful regeneration of 1960s housing blocks which has created a mix of high quality private and social housing.

The 47-page publication said existing residents should be allowed to remain in their neighbourhoods following the redevelopment of estates.

“Too many estate regeneration schemes have seen residents alienated in the process of redevelopment. Strategies of change must ensure, first and foremost, that existing residents can remain in their neighbourhoods,” it said.

It added: “Our research has identified the qualities that people cherish in the places they want to live: walkability, street-based housing, well-defined public and private green spaces and a sense of local identity.

“These factors produce neighbourhoods that are desirable, supported and sustainable and cultivate a sense of place.

“People do not want rapid urban development that is exclusive, overbearing and which compromises the character of their local areas.

“Policy-makers, developers, local representatives, designers and architects need to give these public preferences the consideration they are due if we are to support a successful, thriving built environment in the UK.”

Consultation with communities often attracted cynicism and needed to be truly collaborative, the report said.

“At present too much consultation is spurious and too much of what we are building is repeating the errors of the past,” it added.

The report said: “Bimby (beauty in my backyard) developments are needed to overcome Nimby (not in my backyard) attitudes if we are to convince communities that new housing can successfully improve our built environment and to unlock the level of house building that is needed to meet the country’s urgent housing demand.”

Charles has a long-standing interest in the built environment and has often expressed his concern for how environments affect the way people feel and live.

His village development Poundbury in Dorset began in 1993 as an example of sustainable urban development and is now home to 2,000 people.

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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