Smarter Growth

New Mills Yard Norwich

Is your growth smart?  That’s a question we are likely to be asking you soon.

Following the Smarter Growth Conference on 30 April 2009 (see June Newsletter), the HTF has set up a Managing Growth area on its web site http://historictownsforum.org/managing_growth).  You can find there presentations from the Conference; and work is in hand to present more information from this event.  The site also provides links to other HTF publications dealing with growth issues.

A small Working Group has now been set up to take this forward and it met in London in August, courtesy of Nicholas Falk at URBED. ASHTAV, Bury St Edmunds, Fareham, Oxford, the Space Group and York are represented on the Group.

One of the first tasks is to get more examples of smarter growth on the web site so this can become an interactive resource for people facing the challenge of growth in historic towns. The Group is writing a series of questions that can be put to local authorities to draw out useful information.  Questions like: How was the development progressed through the Local Development Framework?; What are the key design features and how is design quality expressed?; and How are the community facilities and the public realm managed?

Answers to the questions will allow each development to be summarised, possibly under some broad headings including: planning and process; finance and economics; design; climate change; community benefits; lessons learned; and conclusions.  It will be important to include plenty of illustrations.

The aim is to have the questions agreed by the beginning of October, when we will do a pilot trawl for examples and information among a limited number of local authorities.  If you would like to be included in this, please let us know.  We aim to expand the coverage later in 2009 and early 2010.

Beyond this initial stage we will consider setting up a formal research project into smarter growth, for which we would seek external funding.

Be smart and keep an eye on the web site for the first postings.

Brian Human
Vice Chair, HTF