Smart Growth Approach Urged in the UK

An alliance of organizations in the United Kingdom has agreed on a policy statement promoting smart growth alternatives to current policies.
February 24, 2013, 5am PST | Jon Reeds
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The groups' statement sets out a range of challenges which they believe policy around the UK is failing to rise to. They propose a set of six smart growth principles adapted to UK conditions.

Parts of the UK, especially England, are facing huge pressures for urban sprawl and England's planning minister Nick Boles recently said he hopes to see another 3% of the English land mass covered with low-density suburban development.

The statement proposes six principles:

  1. "Urban areas work best when they are compact, with densities appropriate to local circumstances but generally significantly higher than low-density suburbia and avoiding high-rise. In addition to higher density, layouts are needed that prioritise walking, cycling and public transport so that they become the norm.
  2. We need to reduce our dependence on private motor vehicles by improving public transport, rail-based where possible, and concentrating development in urban areas.
  3. We should protect the countryside, farmland, natural beauty, open space, soil and biodiversity, avoiding urban sprawl and out-of-town development.
  4. We should protect and promote local distinctiveness and character and our heritage, respecting and making best use of historic buildings, street forms and settlement patterns.
  5. We should prioritize regeneration in urban areas and regions where it is needed, emphasising brownfield-first and promoting town centres with a healthy mix of facilities.
  6. Civic involvement and local economic activity improve the health of communities."
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Published on Thursday, February 21, 2013 in Brownfield Briefing
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