Throughout my career, I have always been interested in thinking about the wider context of a project. Be it regeneration or a new community, an urban extension or a building with a combination of uses and functions. I want to know that my work has made a difference to the places and people who live there.
The role of masterplanning can broadly be described as the process to encourage creative thinking when considering the overview of an area for development and establishes the principles to structure land-use and the design approach. But before this stage, there are three fundamental objectives that must inform how that process should commence. First, to grow the economy enabled by development, second, to reduce green-house gas emissions, and third, to encourage societal behavioural change.
As UK Head of Masterplanning, my focus is master thinking – which is everything that happens before the masterplanning. From strategic growth and thinking about how to bring developments forward on a large scale, to the clean growth strategy that delivers economic gain without the cost to the environment.
To address the issues in these key areas, we must ask the questions; How can we solve air quality and environmental issues by reducing the usage of cars? How do we connect people to jobs by creating more efficient transport links? How do we attract employers to create opportunities for young people? By applying this level of thinking, we can build strong foundations for which decisions can be made to enable communities to thrive.
But how do we define a thriving community? To me, a thriving community is one that can function efficiently and have everything it needs from housing, transport and jobs to inclusivity, health and wellbeing, where no part of that community is left behind. There is no one size fits all solution, which is why our approach must always consider individual needs and start with the objectives in mind.