Optimis attends RTPI South East Urban Design Event

Optimis Consulting’s Graduates, Leila Cramphorn and Natasha Abbott, attended the RTPI South East Urban Design Event that was held on the 25th April in Brighton. A range of guest speakers hosted the event and provided excellent insights into the important symbiotic relationship between the disciplines of Planning and Urban Design.

Victor Callister, the Deputy Director of Architecture & Built Environment at the Design Council, discussed the importance of creating healthy places. This recognised the link between design and life expectancy and encouraged Planners to consider specific factors, such as physical activity, the provision of healthy food establishments, contact with nature and positive social contact, throughout the planning process.

Following this, Rob Lloyd-Sweet from Historic England gave an interesting talk on the important aspects Urban Designers and Planners need to consider throughout the planning process regarding heritage. These include Conservation Areas, the setting of heritage assets, the character of the historic landscape and the consideration of heritage-led regeneration.

Andrew Raven, Director of Urban Design at Savills, encouraged the discussion of the social, economic and environmental considerations involved when developing the ‘heart’ of a development. He highlighted the specific aspects that are important to consider throughout the planning and design processes in order for the resultant development to be acceptable and successful in all 3 realms.

Lastly, Richard Hawkes, the Director of Hawkes Architecture, discussed Paragraph 55 dwellings. He gave both a planning and design perspective to the process involved in achieving consent on developments of this nature. In addition, he provided interesting descriptions of what innovative methods had been used by his practice to ensure these dwellings meet the requirements of Paragraph 55 of the NPPF in the eyes of Local Planning Authorities.

In summary, the event provided us graduates with the opportunity to better understand the important link between planning and other disciplines. Furthermore, it outlined important aspects that would need to be considered in future projects at Optimis to ensure developments and places work in the most appropriate way for all stakeholders involved.

Author: Leila Cramphorn

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