Good design

The Value Handbook


Good design is necessary in order to plan spaces and places where people want to live and work, and where they can enjoy spending leisure time. Though new development only adds to a fraction to the existing built fabric, they play an important role as a catalyst to enabling positive physical change across our towns and cities. Qualitative and some quantitative evidence have shown the positive impact good design can have on business investor confidence in places and on improving aspects of public health. However if designed badly, new developments can become isolated housing estates or segregated commercial fortresses, which can lead to a decline in the local social and environmental quality. 

Achieving good design a statutory duty on local planning authorities in the plan-making and policy development process, and is only one of three outcome-oriented duties in planning after sustainable development and climate change. Good design of the built environment is key to delivering sustainable development and national guidance is set out in Section 7 of the NPPF. 

Sources of further information

Design Council CABE is a charity that aims at creating value through design by stimulating innovation, improving the built environment and tackling complex social issues, and produces guidance, organises workshops in order to ensure sustainable, adaptable and resilient places and communities. It runs a Design Review Service which provides expert advice on the design quality of schemes and can add value to schemes.

Places Matter! is an organisation devoted to generating a strong sense of place in living, working and leisure environments in the North West.

Key references

Design Review: principles and practice, Design Council Cabe, 2013.

Building for Life 12, Home Builders Federation, Design for Homes and Design Council Cabe.

The Design Wayfinder, Design Council CABE, 2012.

Urban Design Compendium, Homes and Communities Agency, 2007.