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Wednesday 16th January, 2019

Topic Papers

To ensure that the Suffolk Design project embeds as much best practice as possible, a series of research areas were devised. From these, four topic papers have been written which summarise the findings from each research area and make suggestions and recommendations as to how Suffolk Design should evolve going forward.


These Topic papers therefore form the background of what Suffolk Design needs to address.

Topic Paper 1 - Suffolk's current approach to design

The purpose of this paper is to examine current practice throughout Suffolk regarding local authority policies, practices, resources and decisions that impact on the design of the built environment (including the relationship to the ‘natural’ environment). Inevitably this will concentrate on the spatial planning system but will not ignore other areas where local authorities have impact such as highways, the public realm and public buildings.

Topic Paper 2 - Current approaches to design guidance

The aim of the Suffolk Design project is ultimately to deliver better-quality design for the built environment. There are many components to achieving this outcome, and understanding where to focus resources is critical if the project is to be successful.

Topic Paper 3 - Character, Identity and Design

Topic Paper 3 focuses on the extent to which character has been, and could be, identified in different areas of Suffolk and the county as a whole through local government publications. First, we must ascertain the purpose of doing this and the relevance of character to the Suffolk Design project. A general definition of character is ‘a set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things’. But this begs the question as to what these qualities are and what are relevant to creating good design.

Topic Paper 4 - The future; Challenges ahead

We are living through times of significant change where accepted norms are being challenged and technology is impacting on society and everyday life in a way perhaps not seen since the industrial revolution. There can be little doubt that technology is nudging change in communities and that this change will continue to impact significantly on the places we live work and play. From the enormous growth in veganism and vegetarianism to the Age of No Retirement, this is an age of opportunity and those that grasp it are thriving. But it is all fast one-way travel into the future. For instance, while younger travellers use apps to forego hotels, their parents and grandparents are still drawn to traditional hospitality. Suffolk has to be aware that while most have access to the internet most do not use all that is on offer. The dichotomy in use of technology results in a much wider breadth of thinking that must go into urban design. This paper looks briefly at how some of these changes and the direction of travel in technology pose questions about planning for the future of places and spaces in Suffolk.

Discussing the economic, social, cultural and demographic changes which will influence the design of the built environment in the future, including the age profile and household composition, working patterns such as home working, care services and the profusion of deliveries, electric and autonomous vehicles. How can developments be future-proofed to deal with these actual or potential changes?

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