Do sustainability measures constrain urban design creativity?

Paper available at ICE Virtual Library.

Do sustainability measures constrain urban design creativity?

Planners, architects, urban designers and other built environment professionals engage with a myriad of checkboxes, guidelines, requirements and specifications, all of which potentially compromise creativity and innovation in urban design. Approaches that measure performance are accused of belying the nature of places as messy, plural, organic, accidental and emotive; trying to find a formula that works may tick boxes, but it risks creating soulless spaces, oppressing innovation and incorporation of inappropriate design elements. This paper argues that sustainability assessment methods do have something to contribute to creativity and innovation in urban design precisely because they encourage engagement with challenging and often complex societal priorities. Through interviews with built environment professionals and a critical examination of sustainability assessment methods, the authors suggest that such methods can promote creativity and innovation if they engage competently with sustainability, work at a scale that allows for both breadth and depth (typically greater than the building scale) and incorporate in their design a set of eight key characteristics designed to promote creativity and innovation. 

Cite this paper as:

Leach JM, Boyko CT, Cooper RFD, Woodeson A, Eyre J, Rogers CDF (2014). Do sustainability measures constrain urban design creativity? Proceedings of the ICE: Urban Design and Planning. DOI: 10.1680/udap.13.00034

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Published

27th of October 2014