Create Streets describe themselves as a ‘social enterprise’ in fact they are developers with close links to the Policy Exchange disguising their lobbying with AstroTurf websites designed to look like a community campaign group. They are seeking to build on several peices of open space in Lambeth. Some of which I think should never have been designated as open space in the first place, because they are poorly designed post war crimespaces between tower blocks. But that is the real issue not as Nicholas Boyd Smith argues on ConHome today not an issue of standards.
The basic urban design point they make, that you need real streets with houses , is no thank fully accepted as urban design gospel, as is the point that modernist tower blocks within poorly designed open spaces are often failed places. But that does not imply that you cannot have good urban design of tower blocks on streets, as many cities like New York and Hing Kong demonstrate, or have fine tower blocks in arcadian settings.
Create Streets appear to be refighting an argument won 30 years ago, that horizontal deck access doesn’t work, primarily I think with the aim of releasing land on labour run authorities estates thinking a political argument will provide windfall profits to politically connected developers. It is the same neo-liberal tactic used in the NHS and other services now applied to land.
Certainly there are many places where two, three and four story terraces make sense, but most of London isn’t one of them,
The fallacy of Create Streets and their work with Policy Exchange is that London’s housing shortage, with over 1 million homes needed in the London Plan review, is simply too great to be met by terraced houses alone, indeed it is so great that much of London will need a transformation where 20-40 story tower blocks, and the mass transit links that make that a reality, are the norm, either that and or we need a huge new wave of garden cities. So please ague for real streets, especially in the urban extensions comprised of faux detached houses mms apart, but dont argue this is the solution in London. The numbers dont add up.