Nicola Dempsey gives evidence to Design Commission’s Inquiry at the House of Lords

Dr Nicola Dempsey (centre) at the House of Lords on 10th November

Dr Nicola Dempsey, from the Department of Landscape, has given evidence to the Design Commission’s Inquiry at the House of Lords.

Nicola was one of five experts invited to the House of Lords on Tuesday 10 November to give evidence into the built environment and behaviour.

The Inquiry debated key issues affecting the built environment, including what factors have a positive impact on residents’ behavior, how can lack of management undermine the intended or potential effect of designers and how can active management of housing developments lead to changes in behaviour?

Nicola contributed to a lively and stimulating discussion about the importance of design and management of housing developments and neighbourhood spaces, calling on work that she has been conducting since her PhD including ongoing place-keeping research.

The Design Commission is an arms-length research forum to the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation group, chaired by Baroness Whitaker. Attending Inquiry Steering Committee members included Prof. Sarah Wigglesworth from the Sheffield School of Architecutre, Daisy Froud and Dr Richard Simmons.

Nicola said: “It was great to see landscape architecture so well represented with fellow expert Professor Catherine Ward Thompson from Edinburgh University also giving evidence. It is crucial that urban green spaces not seen as a mere add-on in our neighbourboods. They are a fundamental part of the urban fabric, but we can’t simply have quantity without the quality. The ongoing management of neighbourhood spaces is therefore crucial to ensure that well-designed spaces are here for the long term”.

Other invited experts were Elanor Warwick (Affinity Sutton Housing Association), Alex Ely (Mae Architects) and Nicholas Falk (URBED).

The Design Commission will make recommendations based on all of the evidence sessions they are holding to support design-led policy in this area.