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How To Ignore A Stampeding Elephant

Responding to the important Climate Change Committee report on reducing emissions from land use and preparing for climate change, I thought it best not to get too aeriated by the tweet from chief executive Chris Stark to the effect that now is the time to start thinking about how we use land. Just f...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 16 November 2018

 

Building Better, Building Controversially

I suppose inviting a controversialist to chair anything is a way of securing attention for it but, as a process, it is not without its pitfalls. It is, on the other hand, a good way of diverting attention from some other aspect of the process you wish people to ignore. Professor Sir Roger Scruton, n...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 12 November 2018

 

Connected Garden Suburbs

Population growth, housing challenges and climate change are all things we need to take very seriously, nowhere more so than in the location of new development. So it is really disappointing when a well-intentioned and carefully thought-out initiative intended to address these issues comes up with t...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 24 October 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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