The best way to make developers care about good design is by educating consumers to demand it, writes Martyn Evans
What is good design? I guess the best answer to that question is that it depends on who you ask. The government is asking Roger Scruton and three other industry veterans who will form its Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. Do they know? Maybe it’s their job to ask others and form a considered opinion. They have invited Paul Monaghan and Sunand Prasad to advise them so at least there will be some hugely experienced architects somewhere in the process.
Of course, the opinion that matters the most is that of the people who are going to live in and use the buildings these fine and clever commissioners will pass judgement on. And therein, again, lies a problem. As many people as there are will deliver an equal number of differing opinions. So what to do? We have to start somewhere.
This is what Cabe was (partly) designed to do. To research and decide what good design means in terms of the built environment and then spread the word through advice and advocacy programmes. As with all governmental advisory bodies, their advice is only as good as the likelihood that it will be read and used. It’s sad but probably true that most of the reports Cabe printed are sitting on shelves gathering dust. Unread.
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