Designers must plan realistically

Assuming people will follow a sustainable lifestyle without economic incentives is a fundamental mistake, according to a leading landscape architect from Olympic Park masterplanner LDA Design.

Professor Robert Tregay told the Landscape Institute conference that tapping into the notion of an "enterprising community" would help drive the sustainable housing agenda.

"It is very easy for landscape professionals to assume the individual will follow sustainable lifestyles because we do," he argued. "But go out into the wider community and it is a different picture."

He added that the UK's 21 million homes are responsible for 27 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, so housing design was crucial in meeting climate change challenges.

"The way we design our houses and external spaces and retrofit existing communities is fundamental to the delivery of responses to climate change," said Tregay.

"But it is very important to connect the planning issues we talk about with the commercial realities of delivering housing."

Tregay explained the idea of an enterprising community included using the "power of entrepreneurship" to deliver climate change solutions.

"In the home we can use established techniques to dramatically reduce energy use," he said.

But he added that there were clear increased costs of developing more sustainable housing: "All these things cost money and it is really not clear at the present time where that money will come from."

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