Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

How we can make a date with density

  • Comment
letters

Paul Finch's comments on density (aj 11.2.99) were dead right. Density, as any developer knows, is the engine that drives value and profit. The prospect of profit is the only thing that gets anything built, in the absence of subsidy - which can produce distortions in form that are often actively harmful to long-lasting regeneration - just as too much restriction on what can be developed produces poor architecture because simply getting consent becomes the main object, rather than winning occupiers.

Perniciously, density has been used as a blanket device by planners to control development in the absence of creative thinking. To be fair, it is the toughest and simplest weapon available to hold back the tide of development that can overwhelm local authorities. But it is a blunt instrument.

Higher density is indeed the key to encouraging more activity, but the key to unlock attitudes that keep density where it is lies in public perceptions about architecture and development, and the pressure these views bring to bear on local politicians who rule the planners' roost.

The only way to convince planners, politicians and public that a more relaxed approach to density is the route to better suburbs and city centres (I suppose we could all go and live in the countryside if we don't do this) is to sell them policies and ideas that they like the look of.

Every local authority should be continually developing and encouraging tangible visions of what might happen on appropriate sites to whet the public's appetite - not sitting there saying 'no', or fighting a rearguard action against mediocrity or powerful private developers. This is what planning might be about - the construction of realistic, exciting achievable plans for the future that people and developers can buy into. Somehow the vision behind the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act seems to have atrophied into the straitjacket of density.

Density is destiny, for good or bad.

LEE MALLETT

London W1

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.