Place & Wellbeing is where the 5 other Framework Principles combine to make something greater than the sum of the parts – an integrated system of often quite complex creation underscored by simple and legible patterns of streets and blocks. It’s where the assembly of streets, open and green spaces, urban blocks and building plots – each with their typology, massing and height – and the strategic and precise local urban and green connections form into a whole.
When this assembly is conducted effectively – often governed by time-honoured principles and patterns of parts of historic towns and cities that have quite literally stood the test of time – places become a joy to live in.
Successful places cultivate social interaction of all kinds, generate creativity and economic efficiency, house more people, cut environmental footprints and increase circularity – dramatically reducing waste. As a consequence they also enable more connected, more active and healthier lifestyles. Their close-grained quality and rich blend of scales – with intimate streets connecting to larger public spaces and main streets, gilded with moments of surprise and delight – encourage a neighbourliness and shared experience which in turn lead to pride in place and a collective commitment to upkeep.
We look for close-grained diversity within a coherent overall pattern and aesthetic. In more rural conditions the aesthetic should arise from the land itself and the bio-climate: the buildings graphically express their geography. In intense urban conditions a more industrial process prevails. But in both cases we work to a philosophy of raw+craft, which is to say the buildings are strong, elemental structures – well-founded and with a resilient frame – with a loose-fit, broken-plan layout, leavened by delightful, crafted finishes. The building user – owner or renter – has far more say over fit-out and finishes which can of course adapt to budgets and personal preferences and later respond to changing household circumstances as families ebb and flow in size and disposable income changes.