Look! St Albans-University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit Seminar
June 15th 18.00-19.30 BST via Zoom
Please join Look! St Albans and the University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit for a discussion with Mr Nicholas Boys Smith, Director of Create Streets, on ‘bringing democracy forward’ through co-creation of locally distinctive design codes in the United Kingdom.

A focus on urban design has been a central theme running through recent government policy developments in planning, from the National Planning Policy Framework, the work of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, to the 2020 Planning White Paper’s call for local ‘chief placemakers,’ and the recently released National Model Design Code.  In the light of this increasing focus on urban design and placemaking we pose the questions: can co-design with local communities produce locally distinctive design codes? Can these help us to make beautiful, liveable, sustainable new places and successfully renew existing ones? Please join us to hear Mr Nicholas Boys Smith’s views followed by a virtual conversation and Q and A with Mr Boys Smith, Ms Vanessa Gregory of Look! St Albans and Associate Prof Susan Parham of the University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit to explore this very timely topic.

About our speakers

Nicholas Boys Smith is the founding Director of Create Streets an independent research institute that encourages and supports the creation of more and better homes in gentle density mixed use “gentle density” places rather than complex multi-storey buildings or drive to culs-de-sac. Many of Create Streets’ ideas are now being embedded in national and local planning policy.

Nicholas was co-chair of the Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission  whose influential report,  Living With Beauty Report  recommended a series of steps to empower communities. He is now Chair of the Transition Board for the Government’s Office for Place. He is also a Commissioner of Historic England, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham and was a judge of the 2016 and 2018 Sunday Times British Home Awards. Nicholas has written extensively on development, planning and the links between design, wellbeing, value, sustainability and public support as well as leading or supporting many urban design and community co-design projects.

Create Streets -Helping you make better places….

Attendees might find viewing these two videos available on Creating Places Academy You Tube useful in advance of the evening:

What makes for happy places?

What is a Design Code?

Ms Vanessa Gregory, Look! St Albans Our Community Voice on Design’ is a unique inclusive community group that actively promotes community engagement on significant developments in the first instance in central St Albans. Now our remit has widened to working with local community groups and the Local Planning Authority within the district of St Albans on the same principle. We aim to take a collaborative approach to leave a legacy for the future that residents and developers can all be proud of. Look! St Albans remains impartial, expressing no design opinions of its own, but facilitates a design charrette process to incorporate all opinions.

In January 2013 Look! St Albans published draft design codes for central St Albans, co-authored by the community and The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. These design codes inform landowners, developers and the planning authority what is acceptable and unacceptable to the community. They inform our design charrettes and provide a community-led framework for placemaking and design decisions. Look St Albans workshop report 2013

Associate Prof Susan Parham, Director of the University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit is Academic Director of the International Garden Cities Institute and a Research Associate at the Laboratory for Building Cultures at the École Nationale Supérieure Architecture Grenoble. Susan has written widely on urban design research areas including garden cities and new towns, food and spatial design, ‘sprawl’ retrofitting and community engagement on planning and urbanism. Susan has an academic background as a political economist, town planner, urban designer, and urban sociologist, and is currently researching sustainability decision making in building and construction. She is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a Royal Society for the Arts Fellow.

Time: Jun 15, 2021 06:00 -7:30 PM London

We look forward to warmly welcoming you to this highly topical and free event. Please email lookstalbans@gmail.com for the Zoom login details.  


Please see the video from the seminar below.    

Posted in News, Worshop.