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Section 3: Raising Awareness Tools

Increasing Understanding

This section contains tools for raising awareness and promoting quality urban design processes and projects. Knowledge of design possibilities and an understanding of processes will help people participate in the future of their town or city in constructive ways. As people become aware of what is possible, their expectations will encourage investors, developers and local and central government to provide high-quality urban environments. Knowledge encourages people to take responsibility for local issues and, ultimately, gain ownership over ‘their’ place. At the same time, an informed community is more likely to support and insist on high-quality design initiatives.

Raising awareness tools support collaboration, information sharing and leadership in urban design within either a selected or wider audience. These tools can increase the understanding of quality urban design for everyone, including the community and signatories of the Urban Design Protocol.

This section describes:

Case Studies

Case Studies

What it is:

A selection of written up ‘exemplar urban design projects’, either posted on the web or published, that demonstrate the practical application of urban design principals, or a particular research technique in creating quality urban design.

What it’s useful for:

A valuable way of sharing project information and research methods on complex urban design issues. Case studies are also useful for encouraging discussion about urban design best practice and strategies to solve complex urban design problems.

How it’s done:

Collecting and writing up a set of exemplar urban design projects or research techniques. It is helpful to have these written in a standard format so a comparison of similar projects can be made.

Examples

  • Building for Life: http://www.buildingforlife.org/buildingforlife.aspx?home=true&refid=. Building for Life is the UK national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods. Includes case studies evaluated against the 20 Building for Life criteria.

  • Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE): http://www.cabe.org.uk/ casestudies.aspx. Showcases a range of completed projects from across the United Kingdom, including transport infrastructure, civic buildings and public space redevelopments. Describes and evaluates design processes and outcomes for each project. Includes a photo gallery.

  • Congress for the New Urbanism Project Database: http://www.cnu.org/search/projects. This database features nearly 200 examples of new urbanist developments from the United States and other countries.

  • Ministry for the Environment 2005. Urban Design Case Studies: New Zealand Urban Design Protocol. Showcases 16 great examples of urban design and development from across New Zealand. The Urban Design Case Studies demonstrate what can be achieved by good urban design.

  • Ministry for the Environment 2008. Urban Design Case Studies Local Government. This second volume of nine case studies provides examples of ways local government can incorporate urban design into strategies, plans and guidelines. It also includes best practice development projects.

  • Resource for Urban Design Information (RUDI): http://www.rudi.net/information_zone/case_studies_good_practice. Compilation of case studies from around the world, illustrating ‘points of interest’ in urban design. Non-member access restricted to summaries of selected case studies. Free, two-week membership available, enabling access to a comprehensive list of case studies. Project overviews, including plans, images and data also available for some developments.

  • Smart Growth, United States: http://www.smartgrowth.org/. Provides several resources, including case studies of Smart Growth projects in the United States.

  • Urban Land Institute: http://casestudies.uli.org. Provides a searchable database of case studies from around the world. Non-member access restricted to summaries and features of case studies. Membership allows access to plans, in-depth information about design, building and post-construction process, as well as a list of participants.

  • Your Development, Australia: http://yourdevelopment.org/casestudy/all/. Includes a growing number of Australian case studies focusing on creating sustainable neighbourhoods.

Demonstration Project

What it is:

A prototype of part of a development site used to show how the development will look, or the first stage of a much larger project that is constructed in its entirety to demonstrate how the rest of the development will proceed.

What it’s useful for:

Demonstrating the benefits of a particular design to give confidence that an innovative approach will be successful before starting construction, or to act as a catalyst for the development or rejuvenation of a particular area. A demonstration project can help persuade others to follow the precedent by providing tangible evidence of a proposal and demonstrating the success of its design innovation.

How it’s done:

Creating community or private projects to a high quality or exemplar standard that can be transferred to similar projects.

May also be known as a ‘pilot project’ or ‘flagship project’.

References

Examples

Design Centre

What it is:

A physical place or building that houses design services and associated events, including public lectures, exhibitions, community education and information aimed at promoting quality design within the community.

What it’s useful for:

Advocating and raising the profile of quality urban design outcomes within a town, city or region through discussion, exhibitions and education. Design centres may also provide the community with access to free or low-cost design expertise that they would otherwise be unable to afford or unlikely to use.

How it’s done:

By establishing a design centre in a highly visible location in the city or neighbourhood centre, staffed with committed design professionals. Close association of a design centre with a design or planning school can benefit both the community, professionals and students.

It may be known as a ‘community design centre’ or an ‘architecture and built environment centre’. Where the focus of activity is planning oriented, it may be known as a ‘neighbourhood planning office’, where ‘planning aid’ is offered.

Examples

  • Architectural Centre Inc, Wellington: http://architecture.org.nz/. This is a multi-disciplinary, independent, voluntary organisation of people with an interest in architecture, the arts, the built environment and Wellington City.

  • Architecture Centre Network, United Kingdom: http://www.architecturecentre.net/. Is an independent organisation representing centres of architecture and the built environment in the United Kingdom.

  • Association for Community Design, United States: http://www.communitydesign.org/. Is a network of individuals, organisations and institutions committed to increasing the capacity of planning and design professions to better serve communities.

  • The Architecture Foundation, United Kingdom: http://www.architecturefoundation.org.uk/. Is an independent architecture centre acting as a catalyst for projects, competitions, workshops debates and much more.

  • Urban Design Centre of Western Australia: http://www.udcwa.org/. A non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the quality of urban places in Western Australia.

Display Model

What it is:

A three-dimensional model (real or digital) of a site development or city district that shows the proposed configuration of buildings and spaces.

What it’s useful for:

Whenever it is important that the community and other observers (who may not be familiar with interpreting design drawings such as plans) are able to understand a project. Display models can be valuable in circumstances where a project is contentious, or involves significant expenditure of funds. However, if comparisons are being made between different models in a competition situation, the same model maker should be used to allow for a true evaluation of projects.

How it’s done:

For maximum effectiveness, the model should extend to show the area around a development site and show existing buildings and spaces so viewers have a known point of reference for comparison. A display model makes a project real, lets people examine the proposal from a range of viewpoints, and permits investigation of options. Representative models with a high degree of realism are generally most effective in informing and engaging with the community. Simpler, cheaper models can represent scale and form of a proposed development.

Reference/example

  • Creative Spaces, United Kingdom. A toolkit for participatory urban design: http://www.creativespaces.org.uk/. Provides information on creative community involvement in urban design.

Interpretive Trail

What it is:

A programmed, self-guided walk with interpretative material supplied in the form of plaques, signs, and written and audio guides.

What it’s useful for:

Raising community awareness of local history and culture, and the connection between people and place.

How it’s done:

Examples include ‘heritage trails’ and ‘town trails’, which usually extend over an area that can be comfortably walked in an hour or two. May also be known as a ‘walking tour’.

Reference/example

  • New Zealand Heritage Trails Foundation: http://www.heritagetrails.org.nz/index.asp. Provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you develop a heritage trail, signage manual, brochure specifications and links to New Zealand’s heritage trails.

Media Techniques

What it is:

A selection of techniques used in communicating urban design information to a wide audience.

What it’s useful for:

Useful in all projects where communication of a message to a wide audience is required.

How it’s done:

There are various techniques including a:

  • ‘Blog’ – a contraction of the term ‘web log’. Refers to a website with many regular entries, such as commentary, descriptions of events, graphics, video, includes links to related sites. Readers can normally leave comments.

  • ‘Media column’ – a regular feature in national or local media that informs people of upcoming proposals or keeps them informed of changes to current or ongoing urban design issues.

  • ‘Newsletter’ – a regular publication, either in hard copy or electronic form, that provides updates on a project’s progress.

  • ‘Press release’ – a written announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications for the purpose of informing the public of company developments.

Reference

Examples – Blogs

  • City Comforts – the Blog: http://citycomfortsblog.typepad.com/. By the author of City Comforts: How to build an urban village. Discusses the ‘small details of urban life’.

  • StreetsBlog Los Angeles: http://la.streetsblog.org/. Discussions and videos by Damien Newtown, an LA-based transportation advocate.

  • Urban Planning Blog: http://urbanplanningblog.com/. Discussions on urban planning and design, and links between public policy and the built environment by a Texas-based doctoral student.

Examples – Newsletters

  • Ministry for the Environment, Urban Leader. The newsletter for urban design champions and others supporting the Urban Design Protocol.

  • New Urban News, United States: http://www.newurbannews.com/. Is a US professional newsletter for planners, developers, architects, builders, public officials and others who are interested in the creation of human-scale communities.

Public Display

Public Display

What it is:

A display of a design proposal in a high-profile location, or in association with a community event.

What it’s useful for:

Providing information, increasing awareness and knowledge about a project and obtaining public feedback. Useful for local neighbourhood community projects because it establishes a profile for the project in the local community. This can be a low-cost, high-profile way of informing and obtaining feedback from local people.

How it’s done:

Public displays require a high-profile space that is easily accessible. Project information that is easy to read is displayed and supplemented with hand-outs supplied to members of the public who visit the display. Ongoing supervision is also required to answer questions about the project and record community feedback.

A public display or ‘street stall’ may be based in a caravan or other vehicle that can be moved as a ‘roadshow’ to various parts of a neighbourhood or town.

Reference

  • The Community Planning Website, United Kingdom: http://www.communityplanning.net. Provides information, tips and inspirational messages on street stalls.

Research Reports

What it is:

Written and graphic material that communicates either a collection of information or the active and systematic process of inquiry in urban design. Research reports are used to discover, interpret or revise urban design facts, behaviours and theories.

What it’s useful for:

Providing concrete qualitative and quantitative evidence-based research on urban design in an easily read format that can stimulate policy debate and project implementation theories, practices and methods.

How it’s done:

A research question or hypothesis is put forward to be tested. The research proposal method uses ethical processes and primary and/or secondary research material, the collection of information, field work and other activities. It is advisable to have a peer review undertaken before publishing the research findings. The research report should be written and published in a format that will reach its widest possible audience.

References – New Zealand

  • Centre for Housing Research, Aotearoa New Zealand – Kainga Tipu (CHRANZ): www.hnzc.co.nz/chr/index.html. Is committed to investing in and promoting housing research that provides an evidence base for policies and practices that meet New Zealand’s housing needs.

  • Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST). Building Sustainable Cities and Settlements: http://myfrst.frst.govt.nz/Public/ResearchReports/. FRST invests in the Building Sustainable Cities and Settlements Programme, which supports integrated approaches to management of cities and settlements that are conducive to positive environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes. This site provides a link to a searchable database of research abstracts and reports.

  • Ministry for the Environment 2004. Urban Design Research in New Zealand. The Ministry for the Environment and BRANZ Ltd have undertaken a survey to identify the individuals and/or organisations in New Zealand that are conducting urban design research, or research that has urban design implications (either directly or indirectly).

References – Overseas

  • Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI): http://www.ahuri.edu.au/. Is a national Australian research organisation, specialising in housing and urban research and policy.

  • Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York. Urban Ecology: The Baltimore Ecosystem Study: http://www.ecostudies.org/IES_urban_ecology.html. The Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) has been researching the ecology of metropolitan Baltimore and the way urban dwellers interact with their environment.

Example

School Resource Kits

What it is:

A set of resources for either pre-school, primary, secondary or university level studies in urban design.

What it’s useful for:

Providing easily accessible urban design resources for teachers in everyday teaching activities.

How it’s done:

Collaboration between teaching and urban design professionals to provide an appropriate format, topics and material for the school resource kit.

Examples – New Zealand

  • Christchurch City Council Resource Catalogue for Schools: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/ publications/ResourceCatalogueForSchools/. This catalogue of resources is designed specifically for schools and includes transport-related issues.

  • eClassroom – Online Continuing Education: http://www.eclassroom.com.au/index.cfm. eClassroom is a New Zealand and Australian service that provides online learning and distance education to architects, landscape architects, designers and planners. Courses are available across the core areas of design, documentation, project management, practice management and planning.

  • Education for Sustainability: http://www.e4s.org.nz/efs/. A website where sustainability education practice and research is showcased, posted, shared and commented upon by teachers, researchers and sustainability educators.

  • Education Kit Resources: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcit/ei/urbanstudies.asp. A joint project between Waitakere City Council and Waitakere City secondary schools. This website includes sections on local area studies, urban studies, special places and the natural environment.

  • Enviroschools: http://www.enviroschools.org.nz/. The Enviroschools Foundation is a charitable trust that provides support and strategic direction for a nationwide environmental education programme.

  • Ministry of Education. Te Kete Ipurangi:http://www.tki.org.nz/e/community/. This is a bilingual online resource. For urban design related information look under Education for Sustainability, Social Sciences, and Science for relevant lesson plans and resources.

  • Ministry for the Environment Year of the Built Environment Youth Activity Pack. These activity sheets introduce students to the built environment and the contribution it makes to their quality of life.

  • New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Heritage as an education resource for teachers: http://www.historic.org.nz/Education/teacher-resources.html. The seven lessons appearing on this site are suitable for Years 5–8, and are set at levels 2–4.

Examples – Overseas

  • Academy for Sustainable Communities, United Kingdom: Making Places: Creating sustainable communities – A teacher’s guide to sustainable communities: http://www.ascskills.org.uk/pages/resources/article?news.resources.id=8A590242-852A-4D48-8522-E358FCCB9A7F. A practical resource for teachers supporting students aged from 11–14. It aims to enhance students’ understanding of sustainable communities. Additionally, it provides advice and information on how to help deliver sustainable community initiatives through real-life case studies.

  • Architecture Crew, United Kingdom: http://www.architecturecrew.org. This is a UK website for young people aged from 13–19 who have an interest in architecture and the built environment. Children can join the ‘crew’ and become involved in projects, influence decision-makers, enter competitions, play games and meet other children in the United Kingdom.

  • Canadian Institute of Planners. A Kid’s Guide to Building Great Communities – A Manual for Planners and Educators: http://www.ontarioplanners.on.ca/pdf/kids_guide.pdf. This guide is a useful resource for teaching youth about urban planning and community development. It contains ready-made exercises and materials which teach planning concepts.

  • Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) 2006. How Places Work: Teachers Guide: http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=1486. This UK guide is designed to inspire secondary school children to learn more about the built environment through a series of facilitated visits to buildings and spaces.

  • CABE. Which Places Work: http://www.whichplaceswork.org.uk/default.aspx. A UK teaching resource that introduces students to the principles of design quality indicators. Includes a student questionnaire, a teacher resource and the charter school explorer.

  • CABE. Where will I live: http://www.geography.org.uk/projects/wherewillIlive. Developed in association with the Geographical Association in the United Kingdom. This is a teachers’ guide for exploring the concept of place. Includes resources on issues such as children as citizens and what makes a well-designed, sustainable community.

  • UrbanPlan, Urban Land Institute, United States: http://www.urbanplan.org/UP_Home/ UP_Home_fst.html. A resource for high school students to learn about the roles, issues, trade-offs and economics involved in urban development. It provides hands-on experience in developing realistic land-use solutions to vexing urban growth challenges.

Urban Design Awards

What it is:

An awards programme recognising quality urban design.

What it’s useful for:

Promotion of quality urban design projects by professional, community and sector groups. Awards can lead to substantial promotion of projects with targeted media coverage and encourage greater emphasis on quality design.

How it’s done:

The organisation arranging the awards develops a set of design criteria for judging, asks for submissions of projects (built, unbuilt, reports and so on) by a set date, appoints judges to assess the submissions, and holds an awards ceremony to present the awards. Designers usually submit their own work for awards, but clients and community groups may also be encouraged to submit projects for recognition.

Examples – New Zealand

  • Auckland City Council. People’s Choice Mayoral Urban Design Awards: http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/services/urbanawards/default.asp. These awards give Aucklanders the chance to nominate buildings, spaces and places on the Auckland isthmus that they feel illustrate good urban design principles. Nominations are assessed by a panel of experts.

  • Environment Canterbury. Canterbury Resource Management Awards: http://www.ecan.govt.nz/About+Us/Awards/RMAward.htm. These awards promote the sustainable management of natural and man-made resources in the Canterbury region through recognising and rewarding activities that maintain resources for future generations.

  • Ministry for the Environment. Green Ribbon Awards. Run each year by the Ministry for the Environment, these awards recognise outstanding contributions by individuals, organisations and businesses to protecting and improving the quality of our environment.

  • New Zealand Institute of Architects annual awards: http://www.nzia.co.nz/.

  • New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects biennial awards: http://www.nzila.co.nz/.

  • Property Council of New Zealand: http://www.propertynz.co.nz/index.asp?pageID=2145860494. The Property Council awards include an urban design category.

Examples – Overseas

  • American Society of Landscape Architects. Professional and Student Awards Programme: http://www.asla.org/awards/2007/rules_entries/. The annual awards have eight categories, including two student categories, which recognise the best landscape architecture from around the globe. A professional awards jury is convened to review the submissions.

  • Environmental Protection Agency, United States. National Award for Smart Growth Achievement: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm. These awards recognise outstanding approaches to development that have successfully used the principles of smart growth to benefit the economy, the community, public health and the environment.

  • Green Flag Award: http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/. These awards recognise the best green spaces in England and Wales. They are helping create a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.

  • Gold Coast City Council, Queensland. Urban Design Awards: http://www.goldcoast.qld. gov.au/t_standard.aspx?pid=749. A biennial event celebrating high-quality built environments. Categories include built projects and design education. Projects are judged against 15 different urban design criteria.

  • Sustainable Transport Awards: http://www.tc.gc.ca/programs/environment/UTSP/ awards.htm. The Canadian Urban Transportation Showcase Program supports two award programmes – sustainable community awards and sustainable urban transportation. Nominees must demonstrate innovation and excellence in one of the award categories, which include buildings, energy/renewable energy, residential development, sustainable community planning and sustainable transportation. Projects that take a holistic, integrated approach to a sustainable community development issue are encouraged.

  • The Academy of Urbanism Awards, United Kingdom: http://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/awards.htm. The Urbanism Awards 2006 had five awards categories: The European City of the Year, The Great Town, The Great Neighbourhood, The Great Street and The Great Place.

Urban Design Champion

Urban Design Champion

What it is:

A senior, influential person who provides urban design leadership, promotes and ensures that quality urban design issues are considered in all relevant decisions throughout their organisation.

What it’s useful for:

Keeping urban design on an organisation’s agenda and ensuring urban design objectives are integrated into all relevant parts of the organisation through clear communication to relevant staff.

How it’s done:

An urban design champion is likely to be most successful if they are a visionary and inspirational person with leadership skills, and are either a key decision-maker or have easy access to decision-makers within their organisation.

Training for design champions is essential. In the United States, ‘The Mayors’ Institute on City Design’ provides urban design education for mayors, and brings together design professionals and mayors for an intensive three-day design workshop. The underlying rationale is that the mayor is often the chief urban design champion of a city.

References

Urban Design Event

Urban Design Event

What it is:

A defined event, day, week or year that focuses on urban design promotion and education.

What it’s useful for:

Promoting urban design, increasing community awareness and expectations, enhancing professional development, networking and generating debate. These events can also help support marketing of private sector projects.

How it’s done:

An urban design event can include a ‘public lecture’, urban design ‘exhibition’ or ‘open house’. An urban design day, week or year is generally coordinated across a region or nationally. It may include exhibitions, visits to designers’ offices, guided field tours, public lectures and other events that raise the profile of urban design.

Examples

  • Architecture Week, Auckland: http://architectureweek.co.nz/. Took place in Britomart in 2007 and included exhibitions, tours and guest speakers.

  • Architecture Week, United Kingdom: http://www.architectureweek.org.uk/. Provides information on urban design-related events throughout the United Kingdom.

  • Heritage Week Christchurch, New Zealand: http://www.heritageweek.co.nz/. This annual celebration takes pride in Christchurch’s rich past by celebrating the city’s built, social and environmental heritage.

  • New Zealand’s Year of the Built Environment 2005 (YBE 2005): YBE 2005 provided an opportunity to explore and celebrate our built environment – the buildings, spaces and structures in which we live, work and play. Throughout the year a collaborative series of events focused on, and challenged people to, recognise the role the built environment plays in our lives.

  • Urban Design Group, United Kingdom: http://www.urbanintell.com/udgevents.htm. This links to a website that has a series of video stream lectures from past Urban Design Group conferences.

Urban Design Network

What it is:

A coalition of leading urban design organisations, professionals or professional bodies promoting quality urban design.

What it’s useful for:

Outcomes of urban design are not the exclusive province of any one profession or group. Only through collaboration and joint activity can quality urban design be achieved. An urban design network can promote quality design, support continuing professional development events and bring together different urban design professions and professionals.

How it’s done:

Through a formal association or liaison of professionals or institutes with a clear commitment, mission or set of criteria that joins the members of the group together to support and promote quality urban design.

Examples

  • Urban Design Alliance, Queensland: http://www.udal.org.au/. Is an organisation representing the design professions and other related groups that are committed to improving the quality of urban life throughout Queensland, Australia.

  • Urban Design Alliance (UDAL), United Kingdom: http://www.udal.org.uk/. Is a network of key professional and campaigning organisations formed in 1997 to promote the value of good urban design in the United Kingdom. They organise the Urban Design Week and are partners in the development of Placecheck.

  • Urban design champions network:. A network for signatories to the Urban Design Protocol.

  • Urban Design Forum, Australia: http://www.udf.org.au/. Began in Melbourne in 1986 and publishes a quarterly Urban Design Forum magazine. They initiate seminars and conferences.

  • Urban Design Forum, New Zealand: http://www.urbandesignforum.org.nz/. The Urban Design Forum NZ (UDF) has worked to promote good urban design in New Zealand since 2000. Modelled loosely on similar groups in Australia and England, UDF is supported by the New Zealand Planning, Landscape, Architecture, Engineering and Surveying institutes. Membership is open to anyone interested in urban design.

  • Urban Design Group, United Kingdom: http://www.udg.org.uk/. Is a campaigning membership organisation that was founded in 1978. The Urban Design Group produces the Urban DesignJournal and the Urban Design Source Book, and organises events seminars, conferences and overseas study tours.

Urban Design Website

What it is:

A website that can be used to promote urban design issues, share information and encourage debate.

What it’s useful for:

Sharing information and promoting issues for projects where communication of a message to a wide audience is required.

How it’s done:

A website is developed and hosted by an organisation with a focus on urban design.

Examples – New Zealand

  • Living Streets Aotearoa. WalkIT – The Walking Resources Database: http://www.livingstreets.org.nz/walkIT. An online database that provides resources for the promotion of walking in New Zealand. Its objective is to promote walking for personal health and transport.

  • Ministry for the Environment: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/. Provides information on urban issues and up-to-date news on the Urban Design Protocol, other urban work programmes and copies of publications.

  • Quality Planning: http://www.qualityplanning.org.nz/. This website promotes and provides guidance on best practice in the development of regional and district plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and resource consent processing. It also contains a database of RMA publications and articles, discussion forums and contact details for councils and practitioners throughout New Zealand.

Examples – Overseas

  • Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS): http://www.ads-ludo.org/. Is Scotland’s national champion for good architecture, design and planning in the built environment. The website has a new resource – LUDO – the Library of Urban Design Online, which is a library of weblinks related to a broad scope of urban design issues divided by scale and theme.

  • Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), United Kingdom: http://www.cabe.org.uk/. This comprehensive website outlines CABE’s aims, activities and publications. The site aims at well-designed homes, streets, parks, work places, schools and hospitals as a fundamental right of everyone.

  • Community Tool Box, United States National Park Service (Northeast Region Philadelphia Office): http://www.nps.gov/phso/rtcatoolbox/. This toolbox describes new ways to help communities work together to improve their special places. The toolbox provides a checklist and description of community participation and collecting information tools. These tools are equally valid and useful in the urban environment.

  • Creative Spaces, United Kingdom: http://www.creativespaces.org.uk/. This is a toolkit of methods and stories from the Architecture Foundation Roadshow (1998 and 2000), which brought together residents and designers to think creatively about the future of local sites.

  • English Partnerships 2007. Urban Design Compendium: http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/urban-design-compendium?page_id=&page=1. Provides urban design principles, practical guidelines and case studies from the United Kingdom.

  • Higher Density Toolkit, East Thames, United Kingdom: http://www.east-thames.co.uk/highdensity. This toolkit draws together a range of resources to deliver best practice in higher density housing. Includes a checklist to obtain an overall feel of the quality of scheme proposals and provides links to UK publications, reports and useful websites.

  • Resource for Urban Design Education (RUDI), United Kingdom: http://www.rudi.net/. Based at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. Commissions, researches and creates materials, and also re-publishes significant documents contributed by professional and government bodies, practitioners, academics and community organisations.

  • Smart Growth, United States: http://www.smartgrowth.org/. This website is a subset of http://www.sustainable.org/, developed and maintained by the Sustainable Communities Network (SCN), and supported with funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

  • SmartGrowth Toolkit, British Columbia: http://smartgrowth.bc.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=159. This toolkit introduces Smart Growth and provides an overview of numerous Smart Growth and Citizen Involvement tools. Links to additional references and resources are also included.

  • The Community Planning Website, United Kingdom: http://www.communityplanning.net/. This website provides best practice information to residents, local government and professionals involved in community planning. The content of this site is taken largely from the ‘Community Planning Handbook’ published by Earthscan in 1990.

  • The Glass-House, United Kingdom: http://www.theglasshouse.org.uk/. The Glass-House is a UK design service offering design courses, advice and support to tenants, residents and professionals working in neighbourhoods undergoing change and renewal. The Glass-House is jointly managed by The Architecture Foundation: http://www.architecturefoundation.org.uk/ and Trafford Hall: http://traffordhall.com/, home of the National Tenants Resource Centre in the United Kingdom.

  • Urban Land Institute: http://www.uli.org/. The Urban Land Institute is a worldwide, non-profit research and education organisation that provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating sustainable communities. This website provides links to publications, case studies, research and worldwide networks.

  • Your Development, Australia: http://yourdevelopment.org/. An online resource providing practical information on how to create sustainable urban residential developments. Includes fact sheets and case studies.

Visual Simulation

What it is:

Physically generated images (elevation, photograph or video), normally by computer, that model the appearance of a proposed development or urban design initiative in its context. This technique is also used to illustrate pedestrian and vehicular flows, and sun/shade impacts associated with a given development or area.

What it’s useful for:

Used to assess the appearance of projects on sensitive sites, provide tangible evidence of expected visual effects, and to increase certainty of a visual assessment before implementing a project.

How it’s done:

Visual simulations include three-dimensional animated representations that can be ‘walked through’ or ‘flown-through’ on screen. Photo montage techniques are also common. These are still images of an existing site, with an accurate rendering of the proposed development digitally inserted into the image to show the proposed development in its context.

References

  • EcoSmart: http://www.ecosmart.gov/. Is a web-based visual simulation software programme designed to evaluate the economic trade-offs between different landscape practices on residential parcels in relationship to energy and water use and fire prevention. Users work in a computer-simulation environment to test various landscape and hydrologic alternatives to arrive at environmentally and economically sound solutions.

  • Local Government Commission, United States. Computer Simulation as a Community Participation Tool: http://www.lgc.org/freepub/community_design/participation_tools/computer_simulation.html. Provides information on computer simulation and use, with examples of this as a participation tool.