Design policies in English local plans: the search for substantive principles and appropriate procedures
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This is the first of a pair of papers that seek to find a clear and up-to-date conception of urban design that can provide a practical framework for the development of design policies. The new generation of English development plans require district-wide design policies, and most local planning authorities have no experience in writing these, so there is a need to develop general principles to guide policy writing. Conceptualizations of different modes of perception and approaches to environmental aesthetics are briefly reviewed, and the development of design writing in England is considered through four principal areas of concern: townscape, public realm, public perception and ecology/sustainability. These yield some key recommendations on substantive principles for design policy, and the paper goes on to consider design as a process and to develop a set of procedural principles that can also be usefully included in policy. The paper concludes with eight recommendations for policy writing derived from this conceptualization of urban/ environmental design. A subsequent paper will explore the application of these ideas in current English local plans.
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