When formulating regeneration strategies, plans for the growth of existing places, and the creation of new places, I am a great believer that many aspects and issues have to be integrated and the planning and delivery has to be holistic.
As part of this – which is essentially making places which work for people – I believe that we need to move away from designing things which only have one function. For example, transport has to be more than about designing a road: the transport route has to work for walkers, cyclists, public transport, private cars, as well as providing part of the area’s drainage and water management system. It also ought to incorporate ‘green infrastructure’ which supplies aesthetic improvement as well as addresses the drainage and water management issues whilst providing other ecological benefits. The green infrastructure should also supply space and place for recreation.
I am so used to thinking this way that sometimes I forget that this whole place approach, with multi-functioning places and spaces, is not actually standard practice, although the best practitioners are thinking this way.
This article, although from the USA, reminded me that my thinking and approach is still pretty much at the cutting edge rather than standard practice. Which is a shame really because it reminds me how much we still have to do to ensure that making places which work for people is the default approach.
This article only considers the ecological aspects of integration, and other issues also have to be added to the mix, but it still makes interesting reading.