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A Sewing Lesson

Pretty well everyone in the UK who is not either a volume house builder or one of their consultants now accepts that our natural environment is badly fragmented. So the DEFRA 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, published last February, is particularly interesting, containing as it does ideas fo...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 02 January 2019

 

The Century The Earth Caught Fire

One bit of television you may have missed over the festive season was a rerun of the 1961 movie The Day The Earth Caught Fire. Basically the film is about a bunch of national newspaper journalists trying to find out why the weather is rapidly getting weirder. Weather events all around the world are ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 27 December 2018

 

A Mighty Boondoggle

Our American cousins call a project that is a waste of both time and money but which is pursued for commercial or political gain a Boondoggle. This could be a word worth learning. The scale of commercial ambition now buzzing round the so-called Oxford-Cambridge Arc proposals like a cloud of hungry f...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 22 December 2018

 

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ABOUT SMART GROWTH?

Smart Growth UK is an informal coalition of organisations and individuals who seek to promote the Smart Growth approach in the United Kingdom.

The Smart Growth philosophy is an internationally recognised approach whose elements are designed to support one another to produce better environmental, social and economic outcomes. First developed in North America in response to hypersprawl and over-dependency on cars, it incorporates the best approaches to planning from all over the planet.

In the UK, however, entrenched attitudes are destroying our countryside unnecessarily, gridlocking our roads and causing massive and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Car-dependent urban sprawl has been our default development mode for far too long.

There is a better way.

In 2013 the organisations supporting SGUK agreed a set of principles to guide its work:-

Urban areas work best when they are compact, with densities appropriate to local circumstances but generally significantly higher than low-density suburbia and avoiding high-rise. In addition to higher density, layouts are needed that prioritise walking, cycling and public transport so that they become the norm.

  • We need to reduce our dependence on private motor vehicles by improving public transport, rail-based where possible, and concentrating development in urban areas.
  • We should protect the countryside, farmland, natural beauty, open space, soil and biodiversity, avoiding urban sprawl and out-of-town development.
  • We should protect and promote local distinctiveness and character and our heritage, respecting and making best use of historic buildings, street forms and settlement patterns.
  • We should prioritize regeneration in urban areas and regions where it is needed, emphasising brownfield-first and promoting town centres with a healthy mix of facilities.
  • Civic involvement and local economic activity improve the health of communities.
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