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The Economic Value of Good Design

Achieving a good design and a smooth process from the very beginning can save time and money.

Clare Wright is an advocate of environmental improvements, in every aspect of the development spectrum and is pleased to champion and make the case for clients proposing development within this ethos. A development must be fit for purpose and its design reflect its use without costing the earth. Good design is indivisible from good planning, as reflected in research by CABE, English Heritage and other organisations on the value of design in saving resource use, costs to the consumer, in money terms and the environment, as well as of course creating more attractive and usable places to live.

C.B.Wright & Associates brings an efficient design and sustainability led service, based on these values, to you through briefing, project development and promoting well-designed schemes through the planning system. 

Clare Wright
What are the Effects of Good Design?

A report published by Places Matter! on the Economic Value of Good Design in a Recession, May 2009, makes some key findings, summarised as: A good design has a positive impact on rental and capital values and, in particular, occupancy and take up rates, as well as the overall marker attractiveness of an area. Some see design as even more important during a recession due to the competitive advantage good design can provide. There may be additional costs attached to achieving a higher specification and standards of design. Recognising that there are elements of good design that are cost neutral will be an important part of maintaining high standards, particularly in an environment where there are significant cost constraints. The public sector has a key role in ensuring that poor design is avoided wherever possible. Case study analysis suggests that good design can still add value and help schemes weather the effects of the recession. It does not necessarily cost more to get design right, just more thought and perhaps a team approach for the right project. It is also important to look at the whole life costs of a development and to ensure resources are targeted to add value. The public sector has a key role in educating decision makers about the long term costs of getting design wrong. Most property agents – 68% – said they believed good design was very important, especially in the residential market for 78% of respondents. Appearance, space and layout were identified as aspects of good design that are particularly vital during the downturn.

How can Good Design be Cost Neutral?

“There is a ‘narrow view of design as being about aesthetics and finishes. The wider definition of design which embraces fitness for purpose and form and function, as well as visual delight is important to recognise. In this wider definition, there are many aspects of design which can offer functional and urban design benefit, at no added cost or at a neutral cost to the development, meaning these costs would be incurred in any case.

In the current climate it is vital to focus every effort on areas of design which are cost neutral so that quality can be achieved without necessarily incurring added costs.

It might sound obvious, but simple messages about recognising the most prominent frontages and targeting quality there, adding emphasis and quality to and around entrances, and adding richness and detail at locations where people come into closest contact with the building are well worth restating at a strategic scale. However, many essential elements of the design which cannot and should not be compromised will probably be invisible in terms of the external appearance. Environmental performance is often just such a feature.”

RTPI - mediation of space - making of place

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