In order to understand how the recent residential housing areas been designed these years, we visited some recent sites and developments and use Building for life 12 to analyse each development. Park View is one case of the case studies, which is located in Gateshead on the Durham road and developed by Miller Homes. Some parts of it were designed very well in some criteria of BFL12, but some are not.
Integrating into the Neighborhood
- Connections – There are seven connections around Park View, linking the surrounding areas and the housing areas inside Park View. The connections are car ways and staircases.
- Facilities and services – Most of the facilities and services are on the North side of Park View. It will take about 10 to 20 minutes on foot to get to most of the facilities. The facilities are not very close to Park View.
- Public transport – Along the Durham road, which locates next to Park View, there are several bus stops, which have buses: 21 Angel, Coaster 1, Coaster 1A, Night Bus N21, Castles Express X21, S844. It takes 11 minutes by bus or 25 minutes on foot to get to the Gateshead metro station. The public transport here still cannot help reducing car dependency effectively.
- Meeting local housing requirements – There ten mix housing types in Park View, which meets the ‘Policy CS11’. There are totally 179 units in Park View, which content apartments and homes.
Creating a Place
- Character – Park View is a place with a local identity. The red brick houses match with the houses in the neighborhood areas. The houses are made by beautiful mix bricks in several colors. The streets are divided into car ways and pedestrian by using different pattern of types.
- Working with the site and context – Park View takes advantage of existing topography, landscape feature, trees and plants. There is a Saltwell park near Park View, which is full of green lands and wildlife habitats. There are also some historic constructions in the parks. The streets between the houses are wide, so the shadow of the front houses would not influence the houses behind. The flats around Park View reduce the strong wind.
- Creating well-defined streets and spaces – The buildings and houses are designed and positioned with landscaping to define and enhance streets and spaces. All fronts of houses, including front doors and habitable rooms face the streets. The buildings turn corners well. The streets use a pattern of road types to create a hierarchy of the streets.
- Easy to find way round – It is easy to find the way around in Park View. There is one car way pass through the whole area. The routes between places clear and direct. There is no landmark around Park View, but it is still easy to find the way.
Street and Home
- Street for all – The streets in Park View are pedestrian friendly, but there is no sign to limit the speed of the cars and let them drive carefully. There are some spaces separated from the car ways by the landscape, which are safe for children to play or for neighbors to converse.
- Parking – Park View not only has car parks for the residents, also has visitor parking, apartment visitor parking. They are well integrated so that it does not dominate the street.
- Public and private spaces – The public and private spaces are clearly defined and designed to have appropriate access and are able to be well managed and safe in use. The private spaces are separate from the public spaces by fences or different patterns of the streets.
- External storages and amenity spaces – There is external storage space for bins and recycling, as well as vehicles and cycles in front of the semi-detached house.
BFL12 is quite useful to be used as a standard for design quality in place-making. However, house builders and developers are usually under pressure to deliver housing quickly and the new version of BfL12 is not well understood yet. The users need more training in order to overcome this. In addition, BFL12 does not pay too much attention to developing a sustainable project.