DOENI recently concluded consultation on “Living Places” the new Urban Design and Stewardship Guide for Northern Ireland.

C60 comment on Living Places Design Guide”

The guide attempts to bring together the principles of design and management of Urban spaces and the importance that both quality stewardship and design have in planning and the contribution they make to the quality of our villages, towns and cities.

I encourage everyone with an interest in making successful places to use this guide to strive to create attractive, well maintained, well-managed and well-connected places that can have a positive impact on our lifestyles. Successful places will improve our health and well-being as well as reduce traffic, energy use and pollution. This is an iconic step for planning in Northern Ireland which will help provide for a better environment, healthier society and a stronger economy where we live and work.
Mark H Durkan, Environment Minister

At yesterday’s publication of ‘Living Places,’ Environment Minister Mark H Durkan heralded it as the UK’s first urban stewardship and design guide.

This is not quite true…

In March 2000, English Heritage published “Streets for All – A Guide to the Management of London’s Streets.” This was then revised and republished in 2004 nd has since spawned a plethora of regional variants for :

As well as the Streets for All series, the excellent “Urban Design Compendium” originally published by English Partnerships in 2005 remains the bible for Urban Design in the UK. Now overseen by the Homes and Communities Agency It is now in it 3rd Edition, republished in 2013.

Where Living Places is more a series of case studies, both “Streets of All” and the “Urban Design Compendium” provide more detailed design guidance on the principles of place making. Architects, Town Planners and Highway Engineers would still be better off referring to these more comprehensive design guides when considering the design of urban areas and regional towns.

Living Places may not be the first design guide, but it is a tentative first step towards a better way of managing our urban environment and regional towns and villages. Hopefully future revisions can draw more from the UK’s earlier urban guides and seek to tackle the poor place making, signage and obstructions to accessibility which litter the streets of our towns and cities.

Streets for AllUrban Design Compendium