Thinktank says its proposal would reduce objections to development by ensuring ‘a generally higher quality of architecture and placemaking’

A government-backed school of architecture would help remove opposition to new housing, a new report has argued with housing secretary Michael Gove saying in its foreword too many housing developments going up are “insipid” and “indifferent”.

The Policy Exchange report, published just after Christmas, said a new School of Place would help promote “a generally higher quality of architecture and placemaking [which] could help diffuse much of the aesthetic opposition to new housing”.

The school would include architects, planners, designers, engineers and consultants.

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A School of Place would help reduce opposition to new housing schemes, the thinktank’s report argued

The thinktank added: “The School of Place would seek to ensure that architects, planners and built environment professionals have access to the best theories, principles and most importantly practices that will enable them to consistently deliver liveable, successful and sustainable places that embody the very highest standards of architectural and urban design.”

The report said: “If a new school of architecture proved effective in ensuring a generally higher quality of architecture and placemaking then this could help diffuse much of the aesthetic opposition to new housing that, despite the housing crisis, is still all too common in many British towns and cities.

“Raising standards of urban and public realm awareness amongst built environment professionals could also pre-emptively resolve many of the tensions that have often been a feature of British urban development within the modern era and are inherent in issues such as the consolidation of tall buildings within heritage contexts and the efficacy of protections afforded to urban character.”

In a foreword to the report, Gove said: “We must do all we can to ensure a new generation of built environment professionals are armed with the best skills and techniques possible to enable them to go out and build beautiful, sustainable places in which people and communities can thrive.

“It is important too to not only protect our heritage and improve our shared urban landscape but also to help address the housing crisis. Much of the opposition to new housing developments is often grounded in a fear that the quality of the new buildings and places created will be deficient and therefore detrimental to existing neighbourhoods and properties. If a general improvement in the standard of design reassures the general public that this will in fact not be the case, then they may be less likely to oppose it.”

He added: “There is no silver bullet to solve the housing crisis, nor to transform British towns and cities overnight or instantaneously deliver a workforce imbued with the skills to make that transformation possible. But it is important we continue to sow the seeds from which future rewards can be reaped and those rewards hold the promise of turning our homes, towns, cities and communities into vibrant, beautiful places in which we can be genuinely proud.”