“We need healthy, happy, vibrant and inclusive places – not as nice to haves, but as the fundamental expectations for development.”
[Abridged session video]
As part of the Homes England Summer Learning session on “Delivering Public Health through Design”, Natasha Reid presented her Place Quality Framework, which sets out new purpose-led approach across design and planning to embed health and human-centred considerations. It is part of a newly adopted requirements for Brent Council in London.
Natasha co-presented alongside Michael Chang, who set out guidance from the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities at national level. Her presentation shows how to implement healthy, human-centred design at local level - shaped for specific places, needs and contexts. She shows what this looks like and explains how the new Place Quality model works in practice.
The session was chaired by Deborah Vogwell, Homes England with Amy Burbidge, Head of Master Development and Design at Homes England, joining as part of the panel for the Q&A session which explored topics such as:
Do we need national requirements for healthy planning and placemaking?
Designing for disability, different perspectives and with empathy
Excerpts from the session:
What is the Place Quality Framework?
The Place Quality framework sets out a different approach to embed health, social wellbeing and inclusivity into places.
It does thing by putting how places impact people front and centre of the design and assessment process in planning, making this a really explicit priority and then also providing the tools to break this down and achieve this through human-centred design.
Importantly it creates new requirements in the planning process for the benefit to people and communities to be demonstrated – with the introduction of a new “Quality Statement” to be submitted, based on the Place Quality Framework criteria.
Why do we need a step-change?
The design of the built and natural environment is absolutely critical for our physical, mental and social wellbeing. There is growing evidence of the significant effects of our surroundings on people’s lives.
But the practice of designing for this or assessing this is still not commonplace and not the business-as-usual focus of development: The question of how places will impact people is still never really addressed.
What is the long-term goal?
The goal for this new model is to be able to help make the shift towards meaningful change more widely, and start addressing the urgent issues found in so many places.
It’s not about doing additional things, but doing things in a slightly different way - by starting from the impact on people. And putting how places affects us as humans and communities at the heart of the way they are made.