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PLANNING MINISTER SPEARHEADS DRIVE TO IMPROVE URBAN DESIGN SKILLS

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Key professional institutions have agreed to set up a working party to consider how to train a new generation of ur...
Key professional institutions have agreed to set up a working party to consider how to train a new generation of urban designers. This follows a top level skills seminar hosted by planning minister, Nick Raynsford.

Sir Stuart Lipton, chair of the Commission for Architecture in the Built Environment, will chair the working party, which will promote a new multi-disciplinary approach to training in design. It will also consider how local authorities might be encouraged to promote better urban design in their areas.

Commenting on the outcome of the seminar, Mr Raynsford said that improving the quality of urban design was a major priority in making our towns and cities places where people want to live and work.

'With the publication of our design guide 'By Design' we set out our expectations of higher standards of urban design and acted upon a key recommendation of the urban task force. However, achieving good design depends on the practical skills of the designer and the commitment to good design of all those concerned with new

development.

'Raising the skills base of planners, architects and engineers in the area of urban design was the concern of everyone at the seminar and I was delighted with the exchange of ideas.

The response from everyone has been tremendous. We have taken the first step to ensure far reaching improvements are delivered in the quality of the built environment.'

The outcome of the seminar was endorsed by the main design professions attending the seminar, as well as minister for the arts, Alan Howarth. Discussion focused on how best to tackle the skills shortage highlighted by the urban task force's report 'Towards an urban renaissance' and underlined by research carried out for DETR on the provision of training for urban design and availability of design skills in local planning authorities.

NOTES

1. The seminar was attended by Alan Howarth, minister for the arts, Sir Stuart Lipton, chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and included invited participants from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Landscape Institute, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Institution of Civil Engineers andthe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Local Government

Association, the Housing Forum, the Greater London Authority and the Urban Design Alliance.

2. The issue of a skills deficit in urban design was pointed to in the urban task force's report 'Towards an urban renaissance' and underlined by research carried out earlier this year for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions by Reading University on the provision of training for urban design and by Arups

on the availability of design skills in local planning authorities. The reports will be made available via the DETR website.

3. By Design: urban design in the planning system: towards better practice was prepared by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in partnership with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Priced£19.95, it is published by Thomas Telford Ltd and is available from:

Thomas Telford Publishing

Book Sales Department

1 Heron Quay

London E14 4JD

4. The guide aims to promote higher standards in urban design. It does not set out new policy. The government's policy for design in the planning system is contained in planning policy guidance note 1 general policy and principles (PPG1) and expounded further in other PPGs, most recently in PPG3 Housing.

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