What is Good Growth?

Opinion piece
Tibbalds’ Director, Hilary Satchwell, was recently appointed as one of the Mayor’s new design advocates. Here, she reflects on what ‘good growth’ means for the city in the week prior to the launch of the new London Plan.

The next London Plan needs to address the growth of the city without recourse to expand the city outwards, and will need to ensure that this growth benefits people and neighbourhoods whilst delivering the quality of life people need to ensure the city remains productive. The Mayor wants to explore how this might be done through his ‘Good Growth by Design’ programme. But what is good growth?

Good growth has people at its heart. It is growth that focusses on making homes, workplaces, culture, transport and social infrastructure that prioritises having a positive impact on how people live. It is growth that celebrates diversity, community, inclusion and making places that actually work beyond the red line of individual development projects.

What we do know is that good growth doesn’t come about by chance. It isn’t an automatic by product of development. So it is something that we have to work at, to shape and to define clearly from a strong vision, and from clear and appropriate standards and regulations.

One of the real challenges around good growth is that it is about more than the physical form and design of our buildings and spaces. It is about design in its very broadest sense and is affected by how we arrange our homes, places, towns, high streets and cities at all levels. It is about who lives there and how safe they feel. It is about how we provide space for jobs, leisure and culture. It is about how the public realm feels to walk around. It is about providing places for play. It is about properly integrated transport. It is about good housing that creates high quality living environments and places of social interaction. It is about understanding that not everyone is the same. It is about how well places are cared for and managed.