Guide to Localism Opportunities for architects; Part one: Neighbourhood planning
Localism is the driving principle underpinning the Government’s
changes to the policy framework for planning, housing, regeneration and economic growth. The proposals involve a radical devolution of responsibilities to the local level, giving new powers and opportunities to councils and communities to plan and design their places. The aim is to drive change at a local level and empower communities with new rights to have more say in the development process.
This new approach to planning – to managing change in local
communities – has profound implications for the working practices
of all built environment professionals. Localism requires a shift to
partnership approaches with local people, requiring new skills in
building effective dialogue and developing a shared understanding of places, their challenges and their potential.
Architects have exceptional opportunities to use their skills within
this new context. They can emerge as integral design enablers and
facilitators of localised plan-making, helping communities and local authorities to maximise the potential of their places.
Many practitioners are already doing substantial work in this area;
others are actively seeking to develop new skills and capacities in
response to the emerging policy proposals. Some of their experiences are showcased as examples in this guide. The purpose is to provide a kickstart resource to the sector, explaining the policy changes, exploring the ways architects can get involved in their delivery, and inspiring good practice in neighbourhood working.
Localism needs design professionals to succeed, but the quality of the places created by this new process will be dependent on their ability to appropriately engage with local people and local issues, right from the beginning, designing ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ communities.
The format of this document is intended to guide design professionals in this process.