Definitional Components of the UK Sustainable Communities Plan: The Net Effect of a Realignment and Cross-Sectional Representation of the Development and Design

By Mark Deakin.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The UK government proposes that sustainable community plans embody the principles of sustainable development in the sense which they are balanced and integrate the social, environmental and economic development of communities as places with diverse cultures. In this respect, sustainable communities are said to be communities of choice, not fate and places shaped to meet the way people want to live now and in the future. The government also suggests that as communities of choice they develop in a way which is inclusive and participatory, well governed, connected and serviced and for this reason environmentally sensitive. Not only environmentally sensitive, but also economically thriving, qualities that in turn mean their planning leads to the development of places which are well designed and built. Well designed in the sense which they are built in a way that is fair for everyone.

The paper shall argue that while this definition of sustainable communities is sufficient to deal with ends, the means available to meet them is very much the matter in hand. Drawing upon a review of previous attempts made to match means to ends, the paper shall go on to suggest the wheels, pulleys and levers which are needed to ‘bottom-out’ the definitional components of the UK’s sustainable community plan, reposition them, lever them into place and gear them up to meet the considerable challenge this poses, requires that we subject the configuration to one more twist. The paper shall also argue, this time around, the twist is very much about the net effect of the socially-inclusive visioning absent from practically all previous representations of sustainable community development. It shall also go on to argue the cross-sectional representation of sustainable community development outlined in the paper, offers the means to carry out such a substantive reworking of the previous configurations. This reworked cross-sectional representation of sustainable community development in turn allowing the previous configurations to be integrated into what shall be termed: the socially-inclusive visioning of a community-based approach to urban regeneration. In particular the socially-inclusive visioning of the planning that underlies the development of the community-based approach to urban regeneration outlined here and design which the step-wise and stage-managed logic of this realignment in turn supports as a way of matching means to ends.

Keywords: Sustainable Communities, Socially-Inclusive Visioning, Community-Based Approaches, Urban Regeneration, Planning, Property Development, Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.183-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.404MB).

Prof. Mark Deakin

Director of Centre for Learning Communities, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK


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