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We Need Safeguards From Politicians

I suppose one should be grateful for any scrap of good news, though announcements by politicians during general election campaigns should rate pretty low as optimism generators. So two cheers then for the announcement by transport secretary Grant Shapps that there might be a 500 million pound fund t...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 17 November 2019

 

A Really Radical Regeneration Manifesto

I think it was Voltaire who said the odd thing about the Holy Roman Empire was that it was none of those three things. Much the same could be said about the property industry Radical Regeneration Manifesto for the so-called Oxford-Cambridge Arc. My dictionary defines a manifesto as a public written ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 25 October 2019

 

Lies, Damned Lies And Belters

Green belts are one of the most powerful implements in the toolbox of British planning but, like all powerful devices, they can become dangerous if mishandled. One of their big dangers is turning politicians into liars. I was reminded of this yesterday by the response of the Ministry of Housing, Com...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 15 October 2019

 

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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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