Local leadership, Neil Deely - Design Network Conference
Local Leadership – how can we help?
Each local authority could nominate a built environment professional
from the private sector and an elected member to champion local
design quality. “Civic Champions” actively engaging with neighbourhood
forums could help shape neighbourhood plans and improve design quality.
(Professionals volunteering time for public outreach and skilling up
of decision makers should take advantage of formal accreditation offered
by their professional institutions.)
Civic Champion? Who should they be?
• Critical Friend
• Help Illuminate the issues and help prioritise
• Enable sound decision making
• Encourage corporate memory and consistency.
Advisor to elected members to support and assist decision making through the
Eg. Newham – great exemplar of Council Leader believing in the power and
importance of good design.
1. Design (PLACE) advice at pre-application Members forum
2. Design advice through DRP reports
3. Attendance on the night at Dev. Control Committee – incredibly powerful
Officers won’t recommend approval unless DRP have been satisfied.
LTGDC & LLDC have independent architect member of dev. control committee
LDA Design Advisors, MDAG etc
All individuals involved in making decisions about the built environment
should receive basic training in placemaking and design literacy and it
should be given the same status as legal and financial training for elected
Councillors. Local planning authorities throughout the country should
formalise the role of architecture and built environment centres and PLACE
Review Panels in skilling up decision makers, including planning
committee members and traffic engineers. This would follow the successful
model of Urban Design London in skilling up planning committee members
from London Councils. Local schools of architecture could act as co-
ordinating agencies, working with local authorities, and regional events
supported by PLACE institutions would spread the training more widely.
Training councilors is difficult! – choosing the right people in the first place is key.
Some elected members enjoy experience of many years of involvement in
planning and built environment issues. For others providing
instruction in the fundamentals is the goal. I know what I like!
More architects/planners as elected members?
Planning officers should have advisory role in selection process of planning
Dev. Corp. model of architectural advisors embedded as independent members
Architecture schools and LA’s working together very much depends on the school
and the LA! Eg.
Government should review public building procurement policy to
clarify the regulations of the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)
as well as giving sufficient prominence to design criteria.
Industry should produce best-practice guidance to reduce the reliance
on frameworks and to ensure that design expertise is embedded in the
process and that competitions are held for significant projects.
NPPF promotes local planning – LA planning departments to generate
local policy and have the flexibility to decide how to go about it.
Use DRP/Place Review Panel members for informal advice
(@ circa £250-300/day is good value!)
Use Norwegian model of Parrallelloppdrag:
Public sector visioning of private sector held lands – force the issue!
PLACE institutions and think tanks should undertake research on the value
of independent, place-based leadership, such as mayors, to the public. In
the UK where we have them, and in other countries, city leaders are
proven to be the most successful drivers of sustainable and strategic
Sweden Vs France
•Understanding the need for legacy and doing the small things well.
•‘Strategic' long term leadership on design and quality as opposed to merely
promoting 'grande projects'
Cambridge Futures Sian Reid Ldr in the 2000s gave
strong political leadership on design and promoted the Quality Charter.
‘The planned growth for Cambridgeshire provides an exciting
opportunity to create sustainable and vibrant new communities. It is
crucial that we build high quality housing with a unique identity that
will provide visually pleasing environments where people will want to
Ports in Northern Europe
Industrial city famed for shipbuilding, log driving, trade and paper and pulp industries