National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG)

National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) published online

I came across an interesting piece of news online. A final version of National Planning Practice Guidance has been launched by DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) with an aim to make the planning system easier to use.

The Planning Minister Nick Boles in his written ministerial statement said, “Planning should not be the preserve of lawyers, developers or town hall officials” and that local communities should be able to shape the new development. They should possess the knowledge as to where the development should and should not go.

Boles highlighted a number of points of how the government was going to tackle the issues in planning which include,

Issuing robust flood risk guidance;

Green belt protection to be taken seriously;

Testing the soundness of the local plan where the authorities have failed to identify land for growth;

Counting of windfalls over the whole local plan period;

Considering student housing, housing for the aged and reusing vacant properties in order to assess the housing needs;


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Analysis of New Road Design in Brighton

I visited New Road in Brighton (it is a town on the south coast of Great Britain) close to the town centre with Paula Goncalves, a councillor at Brighton and Hove City Council. It is a newly redeveloped street by Gehl Architects.

After having seen the street, I analysed the changes that took place. I was sure that the street went through a radical transformation. I realised the important of using apprpriate paving materials on a pedestrian street. It is important to maintain consistency in terms of type of pavers, its shape, colour and quality of installation are all responsible for the effect that is produced. The use of paving material all over the street emphasises that it is a pedestrian friendly street. Although it has speed restrictions for the cars, it successfully articulates, divides and links different areas in urban fabric.

New Road in Brighton

New Road in Brighton. This street gives an illusion of wider street. Interesting colours have been used in the paving. People walk on the street relaxed and totally unworried regarding the moving traffic.

New Road map

New Road map. As you can see in the map, the new road connects Church Street and North Street, the major roads in Brighton.


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Public Speaking Skills in the life of an Architect

Importance of Public Speaking in Architecture

The life of an Architect is centered around giving presentations…loads and loads of presentations. It starts as an architecture student presenting design concepts in the university to the real life design concepts to the individual clients to massive organisations. All of this takes effective communication. If you all the design skill in the world but are a poor communicator of your ideas, it will still not work. Having excellent ideas is great but not being able to communicate them to your audience effectively is bad. I have realized that ideas need not have to be great or super awesome but your delivery has to be. Even a simple idea maybe not even an original one if delivered effectively with confidence can seem like a great idea to the audience. Speech has power and magic in it!

When I was in architecture school, I had batch mates that were really excellent with design but terrible at presentations. They literally shivered when they went on to present to the class or to the jurors. Their designs were amazing but they lack proper delivery. Shivering on stage is the worst thing that could happen to you when you are presenting on stage. This is only because of lack of confidence and practice.

Look at Steve Jobs speak. This is the kind of confidence you need in order to succeed. He is an extraordinarily amazing speaker!

For all of you wanting to become an Architect, it should be borne in mind that Architects have to be essentially very good speakers. Being able to communicate to the audiences of different types and sizes is always a challenge. Everytime I have discussions with my clients, it feels like I am presenting. It is a one to one presentation. Presentations are an important and indispensable part of an Architect’s life.


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Relationship of planning theory and planning practice

Role of Planning Theorists from a Planning Practitioner’s viewpoint

Planning theory has always been criticised by a number of practitioners. They are of the opinion that planning theory does not make sense. It does not link planning practice. Sandercock and Forsysth, 1992 argue that there is a huge gap between planning theory and planning practice. However, there are some other planners who believe that planning theory plays a significant role in planning practice and cannot be ignored. Friedmann, 2003 argued that planning practice cannot exist without planning theory. Planning theory acts as a base for the planning practitioners to present solutions to the practical problems in planning.

The planning system would not work without theories. Theories act as a base for the planning practioners.

planning theory

A lot of confusion revolves around the relationship between planning theory and planning practice. I decided to interview one of the planning practitioner. I had an opportunity to interview one of the councillors named Paula Goncalves at Brighton & Hove City Council. Her point of view was in favour of planning theorists.

Here is what she explained:

Theorists try to make sense of what happens in planning (how policies are devised, how decisions are made, how particular interests influence policy making and implementation, the role planners, politicians, developers, communities and others involved in the planning process interact and so) .

There are various ways in which theorists do this.

Some seek to identify patterns and to describe/explain in a structured manner how planning works to produce in order to improve how things are done.

Others use seek theory to communicate a more radical vision of places should be like, their utopia, let’s say.

What is clear is that planning theory changes over time and even at any particular time it is likely that there will be a number of different, at times, competing visions of what planning should do.


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