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National design regulation

Legislation and guidance in the UK requires good urban design, and uses some standard terms to explain design requirements. The aim of the legislation and guidance is to create places that exhibit enough of the qualities of good design to make them work for people, and in the context in which they have been created.

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Social policy objectives

Design policy can have a positive impact on social issues such as crime, education, health and inclusion:
  • design policy is influenced by a belief that well-designed places can help to reduce crime
  • the design of schools and other educational institutions impacts significantly on the experiences of pupils and students
  • design policy is influenced significantly by concerns about public health
  • design policy embodies principles of inclusion and accessibility

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Over the years there has been much thought and research given to the way design influences crime and the fear of crime. The police's Secured by Design programme provided both guidance and an award system to support environments that help to reduce crime.

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The Government wants parents to have a choice over where their children go to school. In many parts of the country such a choice is non-existent due to demand issues, but despite this, the concept of choice is there.

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Today public policy talks a lot about preventing illnesses associated with obesity, sedentary lifestyles and poor diets. There is also a large focus on dealing with mental health problems. Organisations such as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recognise that our built environment can play an important part in improving our overall health and wellbeing.

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Public policies call for inclusive access. This means everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, social background and so on, should be able to get to and use places and the services within them, conveniently and with dignity. It relates to the requirements of The Disability Discrimination Act but inclusion should go a lot further than this.

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Plans drawings and images

In planning and urban design, plans, drawings and images are used to help in a number of ways:
  • design process
  • communication
  • promoting, marketing or selling
  • injecting confidence into groups, organisations and individuals
  • assessing and validating
  • building

Click here to access our lesson on What are plans, drawings and images used for

Technical Drawings

Technical drawings are usually presented in two-dimensional form (like maps and plans).

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Design standards for housing

Over the last few years we've seen a huge public policy push to build more homes, and better quality homes and neighbourhoods. Success has been sketchy, with CABE’s housing audits finding that far too many new homes are not well enough designed or constructed.

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The main national legislation relating to traffic, streets and transport is:
  • The Highways Act 1980
  • The Road Traffic Act 1991
  • The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
  • The Transport Act 2000 (Section 144)
  • The Traffic Management Act 2004

Click here to access our lesson on Policy and law for traffic and streets

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