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Architects urged to 'co-design' council estates with residents

Flickr/ Scott Wylie
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Plans for controversial council estate regenerations should be ’co-designed’ with residents and locked into legal frameworks to prevent developers from breaking promises by changing them.

This is one of a raft of recommendations in a new report by the influential think tank Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), whose director, Christian Guy, joined the prime minister’s team of advisers last year.

The CSJ carves out a key role for architects in redevelopment in its new report, Home Improvements: a social justice approach to housing policy, while repeating well-rehearsed criticisms of past projects.

’All estate redevelopment should be preceded by an intensive period of co-design involving residents, architects, developers and other stakeholders,’ the report states.

The report admits that ’despite their enormous potential for social good’ regeneration has for decades ’often ignored residents’ wants, needs and concerns’.

’This should result in a framework with real legal status so that developers and planners can be held to account if they renege on their promises to residents.’

Many mono-tenure estate built in the 20th century were ’dysfunctional’ partly because of ’misguided ideas about architecture and neighbourhood design’.

The report comes after the prime minister’s pledge this year to oversee the demolition and rebuilding of 100 so-called ‘sink estates’.

David Cameron has put up £140million to get projects going.

The CSJ report says the government should encourage ‘social’ as well as those ’investing purely for financial gain’.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I've spent 25 years designing places with the people that live in them and know that to do this kind of design when there is no money to realise the visions created can squander precious energy and hope.
    Let's make sure there's some funding to enable those people that live in those places now to live in them later.
    Maybe a credible housing policy might help

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