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English Partnerships launches new and improved urban-design manual

English Partnerships (EP) has launched its updated urban-design manual, outlining what it regards as the 'key strategies for creating quality places'.

Drawn up in tandem with the Housing Corporation, the new Urban Design Compendium Two replaces the original manual, published in 2000, and earmarks the 'five fundamental building blocks' of sustainable development.

These are: legacy, leadership, integration, collaboration and long-term involvement.

The document, which was unveiled as part of Urban Design Week, which began on 16 September, also identifies what EP and the corporation see as the main barriers to good urban design, and includes exemplar schemes which have overcome the difficulties.

Steven Douglas, acting chief executive of the Housing Corporation, said: 'Design quality is more important than ever now, with the rise in delivery targets for new homes supported by over £8 billion in Housing Corporation funding - to be carried forward by the new Homes and Communities Agency in 2008-11.

'[The manual] backs the clear set of Design and Quality standards which must be met on all projects, and will help create thriving communities supporting people as they live, work and bring up families.'

A spokesman for the RIBA said: 'We welcome the aspiration for the new manual to build on the established success of the previous version.

'There are no good excuses for building poor-quality environments, yet it still happens - we hope that the new guidance will strengthen the resolve of delivery agencies and planning authorities to ensure that high standards of design are achieved everywhere.'

by Richard Waite

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