Has there has been a shift in thinking about infrastructure planning and provision in the UK – one that recognises that ‘ad hoc’ approaches allow regions and communities to get left behind? The Government states it is committed to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) launched this spring and has published a charter (12.10.16). the NIC’s role is to advise government to support growth, improve competitiveness and improve people’s quality of life. The Commission will carry out a National Infrastructure Assessment once every parliament, commission studies on pressing challenges and monitor progress. It’s encouraging to see that earlier in September Commissioner Sadie Morgan (co-founding director of dRMM Architects) visited design studio Publica to identify four principles for integrating infrastructure planning with high quality design. They identified that good design is essential, and cities can use infrastructure effectively to become ‘more liveable, sustainable, productive and resilient places’ by:
- Increasing capacity for future generations.
- Creating liveable neighbourhoods (and cities).
- Supporting and promoting density and diversity.
- Animating the ground plane and creating a sense of civic identity.
At the event professor Sadie Morgan said: “As the National Infrastructure Commission seeks to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects in this country, harnessing high quality design will be absolutely crucial.” It could be that the choice of Commissioners that includes expertise in; culture, transport, design, technology, regeneration and economics also sets the scene for infrastructure to be considered more holistically in future.
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Image: Stadsbalkon, Cycle Park and Station Forecourt, Groningen – KCAP, NL
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