MASTERPLANNING & URBAN DESIGN
Urban design is the architectural realisation of a masterplan for a living and working environment such as a new town or village, or the significant expansion of an existing settlement. Government policies for new developments and urban regeneration call for the best use of land, both brownfield and greenfield sites, for reasons of sustainability. Large new developments therefore tend to be of a much higher density than was previously the norm in the UK. Low density suburban sprawl is no longer an acceptable way to provide new homes and their associated facilities and infrastructure. Local and regional planning authorities must follow these guidelines and policy statements in relation to their strategic and local development frameworks.
Recent Clague designed urban plans and developments form exemplar projects in the new Kent Design Guide; demonstrating these policies successful implementation on the ground. CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) also cite 3 Clague designed schemes as best practice urban designs; these being Lacuna at Kings Hill, the Horsebridge town centre regeneration scheme at Whitstable and Queen Elizabeth Park at Guildford, all of which have received Gold Awards from Building for Life; a national standard for well designed homes and neighbourhoods, led by a partnership between CABE and the House Builders Federation in association with the Civic Trust, Design for Homes, English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation. Clague is one of only two practices in the country to have received three of these highly prestigious awards for our urban design work.
Both Lacuna and the Horsebridge have also received Kent Design Awards. Clague are currently involved in the urban design of new settlements in Bedfordshire, east Kent and the Thames Gateway in both north Kent and south Essex. Two of these projects are entirely new developments on land previously used for commercial or industrial purposes. These are very large and complex projects, involving specialists and practitioners from many various disciplines. Emerging from these collaborations is a new way of thinking about urban design and ways of living and working for the 21st century, with sustainability, ecology and the global environment at the forefront of our goals.