A vision of the future


by Michael HardwareDirector of Planning and Property 

The restrictions imposed on us all to counter the coronavirus have been severe and unsettling. Many have been forced to work from home, some for the very first time. The experience for most has been surprising – the technology is reliable and does work. For many of us it has been a revelation.

It is clear that a significant proportion of the working population can effectively work remotely, from home. Even the age-old tradition of travelling miles to meet people face-to-face can be done just as effectively using the likes of MS Teams and Zoom from the home office.

As we emerge from the lockdown it is clear that we will have to adjust to a new way of living and working for quite some time. This affords opportunity to break those established and engrained working practices which have around since the nineteenth century, to revolutionise the way we live and work, and for the better.

But these new ways of working will mean other changes, changes in the way we design our new homes and our communities. Homes need space for working, perhaps for more than just one person, and the technology built-in to allow it. Communities also need to be built with home and remote working in mind. Less reliance on the motor car will change the balance on the design of new communities with a greater emphasis on community hubs, green spaces and interconnectivity, rather than roads, garages and parking.

With huge development plans and numerous garden communities being planned around the country now is the time to be debating what is needed in this new normal. How can we design-in these new ways of working and living, how can we future-proof our communities?
This is a debate we will be having over the coming months. Looking at the subject from various perspectives, including design, planning local councils, the employer and the individual.

Watch this space.