Thursday, 15 August 2013

DoE Minister launches the draft Living Places Urban Design Guide at the PLACE Urban Design Academy

Department of the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan launched the consultation on an urban stewardship and design guide for Northern Ireland at the PLACE Urban Design Academy.

On Thursday 8 August the Minister visited the Academy to see how PLACE encourages young people to think creatively and explore ways to shape their local areas. Through PLACE's somewhereto_ project the Academy was able to take place in a former retail unit on Bangor’s main street. Using empty retail units in this way proves that thinking laterally can enhance the offering and environment of the high street and demonstrate alternative use of urban space.

Left - Right: Luke McMahon (Academy participant), DoE Minister Mark H Durkan,
James Hennessey (The Paul Hogarth Company) and Beth Wilson (Academy participant).

Excellence in stewardship and design both have a contribution to make to the quality of our towns and cities and this consultation seeks to bring these two elements together for the first time and make them a consideration in planning decisions. It is also anticipated that it will be used by other Departments involved in urban design and management as well as other professionals, community groups and the general public.

Mark H Durkan said: “This design guide is a common sense approach to planning which Northern Ireland is leading the way on. A combined stewardship and design guide does not exist anywhere else in the UK. This brings together planning and design but looks beyond to see how this will work on the ground in the management and maintenance of our towns and cities. 

“I am encouraging everyone to have a say in this consultation as it has a real impact on all of us. The design of our towns and cities can have a positive impact on our lifestyles. Attractive, well maintained, well managed and well connected streets encourage more people to walk and cycle to local destinations which will improve health and reduce traffic, energy use and pollution. Better for the environment; better for all of us. Have your say and help create places where you want to live and work.”

Living Places: An Urban Stewardship and
Design Guide for Northern Ireland (Draft)

Michael Corr, Creative Director of PLACE said: “The PLACE team are really excited to be involved with the Living Places Urban Design Manual and are looking forward to working with the Department of the Environment and the wider community on this ground breaking initiative.”

PLACE will shortly be announcing a series of workshops at which everyone is invited to contribute to the consultation for Living Places. In the meantime you can find out more information at:

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