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Backing Beauty: What should our towns and cities look like in the future?

2nd October 2018
  • ResPublica

Discussion Summary:

In ResPublica’s 2015 report ‘A Community Right to Beauty’ we made policy recommendations with the aim of provoking fresh thinking about the planning and design of the built environment. We proposed a range of new powers and incentives to support the democratic discernment of what makes a neighbourhood beautiful, and communities’ ability to independently create, shape, and improve their locale.

This panel will look at this debate from a different angle to explore the challenges faced by towns and cities now and in the coming decades – including in urban areas where people feel they have been ‘left behind’ – and how addressing these challenges from a productivity perspective will impact how we plan and design the built environment of urban areas in the future.

Studies have established a positive relationship between good office design (in terms of both ergonomics but also external appearance) and business performance in terms of factors which affect productivity such as staff absenteeism and concentration. By contrast, poor design has been found to incur additional costs: it has disincentivised vital infrastructure investment in the wider urban area and reduced the speed at which urban regeneration and the benefits it brings can take place.

Following the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy the development of Local Industrial Strategies provides a window of opportunity to leverage the potential of the way we design, maintain and deliver the places in which we live, work and play to contribute to local productivity gains.

We’ll consider how a focus on the quality and ‘beauty’ of the built environment and collaboration between policymakers, city leaders, the private sector and communities can deliver local industrial strategies and unlock local productivity, drive local prosperity while delivering healthier, more resilient, sustainable, and accessible places to local communities up and down the country.

We are delighted to be joined by a fantastic panel of speakers, including:

  • Mark Hansford, Editor, New Civil Engineer (Chair)
  • Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
  • Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UK Green Building Council
  • Ian Liddell, Managing Director for Planning and Advisory, WSP
  • Nicholas Boys Smith, Founding Director, Create Streets
  • Hew Edgar, Interim Head of UK Policy, RICS

Join us at the Library of Birmingham (Room 102) from 5:45pm until 7pm on Tuesday 2nd October.

Register your interest here


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