New settlements & urban extensions

The physical and spatial form of a settlement structures the potentials for two key outcomes: social interaction and economic trade. These outcomes are cornerstones of sustainability.

Movement, on foot and in vehicles, is the fundamental process that underpins these outcomes. Patterns of movement are shaped by the geometry of the street network. Patterns of land use are shaped by patterns of movement. Patterns of crime and of land value are similarly affected. These processes are not mysterious but, instead, are well researched and understood. Continue reading

Spatial modelling for complex masterplans

One of the most significant challenges in modern planning is to deliver new urban development in a resource-effective and energy-efficient way. Considerable efforts have been made to develop energy-saving building materials and technologies, and rightly so. But is this enough?

I believe we can do more by controlling and reducing energy demand not only inside buildings but also between them. This means creating urban environments, as well as urban architecture, that reduce energy consumption. We can see this already happening, for example in forward-thinking governments placing greater emphasis on public transport over private.

There is though a further step that can be taken towards urban sustainability, which is to reduce large-scale, long-distance movement in cities and, in its place, promote local activity and shorter journeys. There are two parts to this. Continue reading