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Soviet Style

It really is quite alarming how the chorus of self-interested voices advocating the smashing up of the English planning system keeps banging on about Soviet-style controls. It is, of course, a familiar technique in the populist press. Take some casual slander and endlessly repeat it around several n...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 02 July 2020

 

Making Communities Wilder

A long-standing tradition among national environmental groups is not to challenge one another publicly. That is not to say there are no occasional private disagreements, but generally the tradition has worked well. Right now, however, three national bodies have tossed a stick of dynamite on to the f...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 June 2020

 

Cummings Corporations

Normally, ministers and civil servants consigned to the naughty step like to keep their heads down for a while, but that seems not to be the case with Dominic Cummings and Robert Jenrick. Both got into trouble over lockdown rules and the public gripes with Mr Cummings would fill a book. Indeed, seve...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 09 June 2020

 

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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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