Masterplanning and design
Masterplanning is integral to creating well-planned and designed garden communities.
Masterplanning engages the local community and stakeholders in creating a place-making framework for the garden community.
Preparing your masterplan
Issues to consider at the outset include:
clarify what type of masterplan it is appropriate to develop at this stage in the project
be clear on the level of design detail the masterplan should provide to shape design quality in the garden community.
review the evidence base available to inform development of the masterplan
decide who will take the lead in preparing the masterplan
- agree the approach to joint working approach for development of the masterplan with key delivery partners where relevant
decide what other forms of design guidance will be developed to complement the masterplan
consider how deliverability of the masterplan be tested
- think about how local distinctiveness for the new community can be addressed
- decide what elements in the masterplan need to be fixed and where there can be flexibility in terms of implementation
Typical stages of planning and design process
strategic site selection and initial visioning
detailed masterplan (application)
detailed design tools
As your garden community evolves, the development of a masterplan should work in parallel with the statutory planning process.
Testing your masterplan
How to develop and test a masterplan for a garden community.
masterplan must be consistent with the vision, principles and objectives established for the garden community
engagement with local people and stakeholders must feed into the evolution of the masterplan
describe the new garden community’s distinctive qualities
mix of uses must be supported by robust evidence base relating to needs and requirements
provision for local employment opportunities needs to be included
understand the target modal shift for the garden community
overarching landscape framework needs to respond to the landscape character assessments and provide a legible, connected and cohesive context for and in your garden community
masterplan must address the overall place-making structure to ensure it has a heart and connected neighbourhoods
integrate the green infrastructure and build environment elements
masterplan should set out clearly what the main fixes are and areas of flexibility
sustainability objectives are integrated into the masterplan to create a resilient place.
your masterplan must identify the infrastructure needed to support your garden community
- address the phasing and implementation of development of the garden community.
- plan stewardship and management arrangements for community assets
- test the viability and deliverability of the emerging masterplan
- set out measures for design review, and any further detailed design guidance needed such as design codes
Plan active and accessible travel options
Meet residents’ day-to-day needs by planning a range of uses that are easily accessible by walking, cycling and public transport.
Incorporation of sustainable design and construction
Include energy use and supply, water use and supply, ecology and biodiversity, lifespan and durability of materials, and the use of technology
Interdependence of urban systems and communities and the effects of global issues.
Plan in resilience for future change. This includes climate change, technological advances and economic uncertainty, and the ability of a place to adapt to changing circumstances
Design inclusive and intergenerational green spaces and public realm.
These need to be flexible enough to adapt to the community’s changing needs over time. Find out more in on the Natural England’s Green infrastructure guide website
Encourage healthy and active lifestyles.
Design space to enable good access to local facilities, green space, safe places for active play, food growing and social interaction.
Creating healthy and safe communities
Your masterplan provides an opportunity to design new places that offer people improved choices and chances for a healthier life.
It also can promote community interaction for people of all ages and needs
How to plan for healthier lifestyles into your masterplan
You can find information and online tools to help you create healthier places.
- NHS Health urban development tool on the NHS website
- healthy urban planning checklist on GOV.UK website
- guidance on health and wellbeing on GOV.UK website
- 10 health new town principles on the NHS England website
- designing for child friendly cities on the Arup website
- download the University of Birmingham’s work on planning for children and young people in garden villages and towns (PDF)
- information about on dementia and town planning on the Royal Town planning Institute website
Tools & processes for achieving good design
Here are a number of tools and processes that can help to ensure that the design quality ambitions are embedded and translated to development on the ground.
- Building for Life 12 is a government-endorsed industry standard for designing high quality new neighbourhoods and homes.
- Building with Nature is an emerging benchmark for the design of high quality green infrastructure in new developments.
- Design Guides developed locally and draw on the local character and identity of an area to provide guidance on addressing local context, topography, local heritage, built form, appearance and materials.
- Design Codes are illustrated design rules and requirements created to guide the physical development of a new development. They build upon the vision and masterplan for the development.
- Quality (or Design) Review Panels are established to provide independent, impartial and consistent feedback and advice on development proposals for garden communities. They include experts from a range of disciplines.
- Building with nature
- Built for life homes
- Design council - Building for life
- Design council - Design review
- Design council - The use of urban design codes
- Design for Ebbsfleet
- Garden City Standards for the 21st Century
- GOV.UK - Design process and tools
- GOV.UK - Effective use of land
- GOV.UK - National design guide
- Natural England’s Green Infrastructure Guidance
- Space Syntax