Preparing a strategic framework
Use your understanding of the place to prepare a plan that sets out what is important now and what are the most significant interventions to make in the future: this allows you to generate and test different options for how your vision could be met.
A strategic framework is a spatial plan that is prepared as a prelude to a masterplan or as a tool to guide future development. It sets out the structure, the aspirations and the limits within which more detailed work on planning, design and delivery can take place.
It is a ‘framework’ – a structure that supports something else – because it emphasises connections and relationships over what happens in detail on particular sites. And it is ‘strategic’ because it only needs to show priorities, not detail. It deals with themes and principles rather than being prescriptive about outputs, which can be fixed later in the process.
Some clients can prepare such a framework in house; others may need to commission the work. The resources and skills needed will depend on what the framework is for. Some frameworks may themselves serve as the strategic plan to coordinate future development, while others, particularly in more complex, long-term scenarios, will simply be part of the brief for a masterplan.
Before you continue, make sure that you read the following information about preparing a strategic framework:
How do I prepare a strategic framework?
- Map requirements
Use your understanding of place – particularly the social and economic context – to map the locations of existing services and facilities.
- Categorise and overlay data
A strategic framework is prepared from a layered series of thematic plans, such as landscape, energy/waste/water infrastructure, movement structure, public realm and social infrastructure, which can be combined and compared.
- Agree the strategy you need
Having mapped your understanding of place, the relationship between themes and the key issues that need to be resolved, you should agree what kind of strategic plan you need to prepare.
- Generate strategic options
Take the vision to the next level by thinking about and agreeing the ways in which specific challenges or aspirations could be dealt with spatially.
- Test options and finalise the framework
Test whether each of the strategic options meet the agreed vision and objectives at the broad level and explore the viability of each option.
Examples of preparing a strategic framework
These considerations are likely to be relevant at the scale of the strategic framework:
- Using wind power
- Neighbourhood-scale options for heat, electricity and combined heat and power
- Using thermal masterplanning for an integrated approach
- Establishing local energy supply/CHP networks
- Community-owned energy infrastructure
- Waste-to-energy technologies
- Connections – understanding existing access and linkages
- The movement framework
- Energy and resource efficiency
- Urban design frameworks
- Implications for urban form
- T7 Housing
- T8 Social infrastructure
- T11 Sustainable places and buildings