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Urban Design Compendium

Natural Resources

A thorough investigation of a site’s natural resources will lead to a design that:

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Existing features can provide cues to inform design.
  • Integrates the various needs of the new development
  • Identifies possibilities that the site offers
  • Recognises the site’s limitations.

 Work with the elements

The design should maximise the site’s resources while minimising demands on the environment. This requires a long term view of the possible environmental impact and consideration of how to:

  • Utilise the solar potential
  • Make full use of rain water and drainage systems
  • Use the potential of the ground for heating or cooling
  • Harness wind energy
  • Reduce energy demands (CHP/ biomass)

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’

Consideration should be given to whether sites should be developed at all, and if so what can be done to avoid, reduce and remedy negative environmental impacts.

As a general principle, it is important to focus on how to repair and re-use previously developed or damaged parts of the site, while retaining and respecting undamaged parts. This requires three key considerations:

  • Identify landscape assets to preserve
  • Re-use and repair brownfield land
  • Strengthen the identity and structure of the landscape

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