Danish Embassy – The Liveable City

Danish Embassy – The Liveable City

This week Khaa and Featherstone Young jointly spoke at the Danish Embassy liveable City conference. A chance to compare city development in the UK, particularly London, and Denmark.

We all know that the Danish are way ahead in creating and delivering great places to live and work, but why is this? Top of my list was that the essential lateral thinking design led layer between “political and local wants” and implementation has been retained in Denmark. What I mean by this is that the city planners masterplan and DRAW what they intend to deliver. This is the vehicle that transitions the gap between the hopes, wants and desires of the locality and the beautiful well functioning places we all need in dense cities.

This clarity of thought and deed is supported by the role of people like the City Architect of Aarhus, Stephen Willacy, who set the integrating vision and “breaks down the inefficient Silo’s that can exist by working across departments”. From what I saw he brought the necessary design intelligence and insight to support well thought through places and buildings.

With home building so firmly on the agenda Regions and Local Authorities should develop design led integrated proposals through drawn masterplans rather than written policy objectives. This is clearly something that Croydon have invested in. An approach that is now paying dividends with strong delivery from an in house urban design team. Other Local Authorities should take note and consider how they will also meet their objectives and give their constituents a say in the process.


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