Place-making crucial to sustainable communities, RICS report says


Placemaking has never been more important in creating thriving sustainable communities and can substantially enhance the value of homes, according to new research.

But the study, which looked at five large residential-led urban extension schemes within an hour’s commute of London, found that in many cases ‘a lack of on-site infrastructure forces car dependency among residents’.

Placemaking and value, published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) looked at the relationship between placemaking and commercial value, on the assumption that ‘if creating better places translates into better profits; this could encourage more and better developments to come forward’.

Parks and play spaces are an important factor in placemaking

The research found that creating better places where more people want to live enhances financial value and can secure substantial commercial premiums. Case studies showed an uplift of between 5%, and 56%.

Community provision such as good schools, large public parks and play spaces, and community space that allowed or encouraged local community engagement were found to be significant influences.

But the study also found that ‘public transport services in large urban extensions typically do not provide an adequate substitute for private transport sufficient to eliminate the need for private cars’.

Tony Mulhall, RICS associate director, said: ‘There has been regular criticism of the quality and quantity of new housing and in the light of the enormous need for sustained housing delivery, placemaking has never been more important in creating thriving communities where people want to live, work and play.

‘Strong leadership is needed in development teams with a clear vision and ambition from the earliest point. Masterplanners, landowners and developers need to work together with the support of the local planning authority to deliver through the political and economic cycles.’

The research defined placemaking as capturing ‘all of the factors which combine to create a good place in which to live or work’.

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