Designing for people or designing for density – Can we continue to create urban live-ability at ever increasing densities?
Mæ Architects & Vastint UK
During Green Sky Thinking, Mæ Architects teamed up with Vastint UK to consider how we might be able to determine what a suitable density for housing designed within London might look like. Prompted by the inclusion of the density matrix within the New London Plan, the evening brought together a number of speakers across the industry to debate whether we are designing for the people or designing for the density. It questioned: can we continue to create urban liveability at ever increasing densities?
Michial van Soest, Development Manager at Vastint UK argued that we need a holistic approach for the increasing density. He highlighted the importance of including mixed-uses within a scheme, and referenced examples of Vastint’s projects in London, Leeds, and Cardiff. He stressed the importance of not over-designing and the need to allow the community to take ownership of spaces with unspecified uses.
Jennifer Currier, Head of Design at Red Door Ventures introduced the idea that density does not necessarily oppose design for people. She highlighted that some of the most desired places to live in London are among the densest. She argued that it is, in fact, these higher densities and the corresponding activity, that support the character and liveability of a space.
Peter Maxwell, Director of Design at LLDC considered that density should be evaluated in the context of liveability. He highlighted several factors, from health to the economy, that should be taken into account when determining appropriate density. He focused on the 5 new neighbourhoods of the Olympic Park which LLDC had delivered as part of long-term plans to improve the quality of life whilst providing additional housing.
Oliver Bulleid, Associate Director at Mæ proposed that scraping density limits would not necessarily improve the quality of places being designed. He suggested that compact nodes of urban settlements could allow further protection of green space, referencing the Mæ proposal for the Oxford to Cambridge corridor.
Find further information on this event here –
Mæ Architects article written by James Halsall - Designing for people or Designing for density
Designing Buildings Wiki - Green Sky Thinking