Matthew Carmona, Amer Alwarea, Valentina Giordano, Anastassia Gusseinova, Fola Olaleye for the Place Alliance and CPRE
Housing design audits represent systematic approaches to assess the design quality
of the external residential environment. This new audit evaluates the design of 142 large-scale housing-led development projects across England against seventeen design considerations. It provides enough data for comparisons to be made regionally and against the results of previous housing design audits conducted over a decade ago. It establishes a new baseline from which to measure progress on housing design quality in the future, and correlates the findings against a range of key development, contextual and design governance factors. Overwhelmingly the message is that the design of new housing environments in England are ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’.
Matthew Carmona, Valentina Giordano and Anastassia Gusseinova, for the Place Alliance, supported by the Design Network
This report summarises views from a national survey of local councillors in England on their approach to the design of new residential development. In England, for too long we have been building too few homes and those that we build are often of a quality that unites local communities in opposition against them. Understanding the role of local politicians as regards the design of new housing development: their aspirations, motivations, mode of operating and frustrations, was the purpose of this national survey. This research asks, how are our local politicians playing their part in helping to deliver better design?
Matthew Carmona, for the Place Alliance
A large and growing body of empirical evidence now points in the same broad direction, that better place quality adds value economically, socially and as regards health and environmental outcomes. We can call this ‘place value’. This report uncovers the truth about the qualities of the built environment that deliver this place value. In other words those qualities that are good for us, and those which are not. It is possible to envisage these different qualities as sitting on a ladder. The ladder climbs from those place qualities that should be avoided to those that should be required in new development as a means to maximise place value through good design. A virtuous circle is established between place quality and place value. A more comprehensive report of the research was published in the Journal of Urban Design, see Selected articles: Place Value
Street Appeal, The Value of Street Improvements (2018)
Matthew Carmona, Tommaso Gabrieli, Robin Hickman, Terpsi Laopoulou & Nicola Livingstone, for Transport for London
The Streets Appeal research aimed to gain a proper understanding of the impact of street improvement projects on streets as physical space, locations of movement and social exchange, and as places for real estate investment. A mixed research methodology was adopted based on the comparison of five improved and five unimproved street environments. This was underpinned by a ‘holistic’ framework for analysis that avoided a fragmented or partial picture of street spaces and enabled a more rounded and nuanced understanding of value to emerge. A more comprehensive report of the research was published in Progress in Planning, see Selected articles: Street Appeal
Reviewing Design Review in London (2018)
Matthew Carmona, Wendy Clarke, Valentina Giordano, for Urban Design London, Mayor of London and Place Alliance
This research takes a comprehensive look at the design review landscape in England in the post-2011 (post-CABE) era. This is a period in which design review services are now offered by multiple providers in the market. The work focussed on London where the market has developed most comprehensively, but the findings are applicable across the country. The report explores both how design review is operating, but also provides clear recommendations for improving practice covering everything from setting up a design review service, through all stages of its operation.
Design Skills in English Local Authorities (2017)
Matthew Carmona, Valentina Giordano, for the Place Alliance and Urban Design Group
This report summarises the findings of a survey of urban design skills within local planning authorities nationally in England, and how they changed over the previous five years. It demonstrated that urban design skills and capacity at the time within local planning authorities was woefully low and declining and that these gaps were not being filled by the patchy, albeit increasing, use of design review.
House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment (Specialist Advisor, Matthew Carmona)
I had the great privilege of being Specialist Advisor to this Committee of Parliament, and this is the report that resulted. The report sets out the conclusions from a wide ranging review of national and local policy relating to the built environment and argues that policy should begin with a focus on place and that Government should be more ambitious and directive in its aspirations for a high quality built environment.
Matthew Carmona, Valentina Giordano, for the Urban Design Group
This focussed piece of analysis followed up, seven years later, on research relating to design coding in England, see: Design Coding in Practice and Preparing Design Codes (below). It aimed to explore how far the practices explored during the earlier study had diffused into practice in England and concluded that in many areas the production of design codes had become mainstreamed.
Matthew Carmona, Nick Gallent, Reetuparna Sarkar, for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
This was one of the final pieces of research commissioned by CABE prior to their funding being withdrawn. It looked at the question of internal space standards within new build dwellings and compared practice in the UK with international experience. From this the benefits of investing in higher internal space standards were extrapolated.
Matthew Carmona, Miles Davis, Fiona Scott, Jay Gort, Mellis Haward, for the London Development Agency (LDA)
This project, commissioned by Design for London, explored the structure and use of London’s local high street network. The project aimed to examine the potential of this network of mixed streets to accommodate future growth and intensification in London in a more sustainable fashion than had hitherto been achieved by focusing on large brownfield sites. The report was later published in Progress in Planning, see Selected articles: London’s Local High Streets
Matthew Carmona & Claudio de Magalhaes, for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
This project for the UK government examined, at a conceptual level, how policy-makers could measure local environmental quality and their contribution (through public services) to achieving it in a non-distortionary manner. It offered a new view that moved away from the over-simplistic application of key performance indicators that had come to dominate in the late 1990s and 2000s.
Matthew Carmona, for the Town & Country Planning Association
This thought-piece represented the culmination of a long-term interest in the measurement of outcome quality in British planning. It reflects on, and attempts to overcome, the dominant practice at the time whereby those issues that can be measured, e.g. speed of processing applications, are prioritised, and those which are more challenging to measure, e.g. quality of outcomes, are not. For a more comprehensive discussion see books: Measuring Quality in Planning
Matthew Carmona, Jane Dann, for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
This practice guide was commissioned by the Government as the culmination of research published in Design Coding in Practice (see below). As well as exploring best practice, the guide also provides a rationale for using design codes, and a detailed methodology for their production.
Matthew Carmona, Jane Dann, for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
This research report followed on from an 18 month Government funded design coding pilot programme in which action research was used to explore the potential and utility of design codes in England. The research reports on seven pilots, and twelve other design coding case studies that were more advanced in their delivery of new housing.
Matthew Carmona, Claudio de Magalhaes, Michael Edwards, Louie Sieh, for the British Council of Offices
This report focuses on developing a more robust method for measuring the value added by better design within the office market. It explores the literature and existing studies and conceptualises a new methodology that could be applied in the future. The discussion is largely conceptual and methodological in nature.
Making Design Policy Work, How to Deliver Good Design Through Your Local Development Framework (2005)
Matthew Carmona for Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
This practice guide took earlier work – see From Design Policy to Design Quality (see below) – and updated it in the light of evolving practice in the production of design policies for development plans. It presents a simple framework of key lessons concerning how to optimise such policies in order to maximise their potential as a tool to aid the delivery of better design through the planning process.
Matthew Carmona, Claudio de Magalhaes, Joanna Hammond, for the British Council of Shopping Centres
At a time when huge investments were being made in new retail developments in large cities, this research explored the potential of smaller towns, and how retail might be used as part of a regeneration strategy. It argued for a differentiated offer from place to place and that smaller towns needed to think carefully and strategically about how to attract shoppers by offering something different from their larger competitors.
Is the Grass Greener … ? Learning from International Innovations in Urban Green Space Management (2004)
Matthew Carmona, Claudio de Magalhaes, for CABE Space
This project brought together eleven detailed case studies from around the world that explored innovation in how green spaces were being managed. It then compared the practices to the experience in the UK to see what lessons could be learned. This work and other public spaces research was later published in book form, see Books: Public Space, The Management Dimension
The Value of Public Space, How High Quality Parks and Public Spaces Create Economic, Social and Environmental Value (2004)
Helen Woolley, Matthew Carmona, Jonathan Freeman, Sian Rose, for CABE Space
This report builds on the earlier study – The Value of Good Design (see below) – to provide a compendium of research with a focus on how investing in the quality of public spaces could in turn deliver long-term economic, social, health and environmental benefits for society. The intention was to provide the evidence policy makers needed to support their arguments for investing in public space.
Matthew Carmona, Claudio de Magalhaes, Ruth Blum, Leo Hammond, for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM)
Commissioned by Government, this practice guide focussed on the much neglected issue of how public spaces could be better managed. It explores the dominant management practices of the time and sets out a practical agenda for a more enlightened approach to management based around better coordination, better investment, better regulation and the better maintenance of public spaces.
From Design Policy to Design Quality, The Role of Design Policies in Community Strategies, Local Development Frameworks and Action Plans (2002)
Matthew Carmona, John Punter, David Chapman, for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
This practice guide took the lessons from research conducted in the 1990s – see Books: The Design Dimension of Planning – to explore the role and potential of design policies in development plans, suitably updated in the light of the legislative changes effecting plan making under the New Labour government. It presents key lessons for the writing of design policies through a step by step easy to follow methodology.
Matthew Carmona, Sarah Carmona, Wendy Clarke, for Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
This report brought together published evidence on how design adds value to different types of development: in healthcare, education, housing, and business settings; and to increasing civic pride and reducing crime. It selectively drew from A Bibliography of Design Value to provide a compendium of this evidence in a manner that, it was hoped, would allow policy makers and others to use the evidence in order to justify to politicians, developers and others, the need for a greater and more sustained investment in design.
A Bibliography of Design Value (2001)
This bibliography of design value represents a systematic attempt to collate research that examines the ‘value added by good design in five key areas: Health, Education, Crime (& safety), Housing, and Social inclusion (& regeneration). The bibliography was a first attempt to bring together knowledge in these key areas of public and private sector interest. It offered an evidential base to back arguments that better design adds social, economic and environmental value and is therefore a worthwhile investment.
Matthew Carmona, Sarah Carmona, Nick Gallent, for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
Commissioned by the RTPI, this practice guide focuses on the critical relationship between planners and the providers of new homes: both market and social housing providers. It argues for greater communication and for a consensus based approach, and advances a set of practical lessons in order to achieve this. The thinking was later greatly extended and developed in book form, see Books: Delivering New Homes
Matthew Carmona, Claudio de Magalhaes, Michael Edwards, for Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
This was the first research project commissioned by CABE and had a huge impact on their work programme thereafter. It empirically tested how design adds economic, social and environmental value through using a method of pairwise comparison of six office developments in three sub-markets around England. The research concluded, empirically for the first time in the UK, that better urban design adds significant value to new development.
Nick Falk, Matthew Carmona, Chris Cadell, Peter Hall, for the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)
This study, jointly with URBED, aimed to identify how the urban renaissance agenda of the Urban Task Force could apply to the sorts of smaller towns and cities that dominated the South East of England outside of London. It provided a practical guide to strategies for bringing a renaissance to these smaller places.