Evidence to Farrell Review finds short termism and lack of design skills and resources across local authorities as key issues

The Urban Design Group has outlined what it sees as key issues to be explored in the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment. Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey has asked Sir Terry Farrell CBE to make recommendations to inform DCMS’s approach to promoting high standards of design. The review will look at four main areas:

1. Understanding the Government’s role in promoting design quality in architecture and the built environment
2. The economic benefits of architecture – maximising the UK’s growth potential
3. Cultural heritage and the built environment
4. Promoting education, outreach, and skills

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As well as the workshops planned by the review team throughout the country, individuals and groups have been encouraged to self-organise and issue joint responses to the Call for Evidence, where appropriate. Many local stakeholders are putting together working groups and hosting roundtables or workshops to help inform their responses.

Says UDG:
'Short termism, lack of design skills and resources in local authorities, absence of follow-through on projects are among the many issues that have been highlighted in this first scoping survey for the Farrell Review conducted by the Urban Design Group.'
It continues: Clients have a key role to play in demanding quality development, according to many of the respondants.  But there are concerns that many commercial developers focus on cost reduction, and employ a form of value engineering that reduces short-term costs at the expense of quality and long-term value.   Political administrations also come in for criticism for looking for instant results rather than understanding that a town or a city is a project that unfolds over decades and centuries, and requires long-term political drive and determination.
There are mixed views over whether a national architecture policy would be desirable.  More popular is the idea of an overall built-envivronment policy that would seek to coordinate architecture, landscape, infrastructure and urban design, supported by training and increased awareness.

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