If the UK is to meet its target of Net Zero Carbon by 2050, new developments must be designed to be low carbon and facilitate sustainable lifestyles. However, sustainability is not only about carbon emissions and new developments must also ensure the health and wellbeing of residents, opportunities for social connection and improved biodiversity.

This online masterclass explored urban design principles for sustainable masterplanning, transport and landscape in new developments. Presentations were delivered by a range of expert speakers and the session ended with an interactive exercise in which attendees assessed the sustainability of a concept masterplan.

Here are some of our key takeaways:

  • To deliver sustainable places we need a shift in mindset away from the 20th century approach to planning around the car. In this new era, we need to plan and design places with efficiency and connectivity in mind, so we make the best use of space and resources while promoting quality of life.
  • A group of sustainable buildings don’t make a sustainable place. At the masterplanning scale, it is essential to consider how location, connectivity, open spaces and buildings all work together as a system.
  • Sustainability cannot come at the end of the design process. It must be the starting point, setting the basic principles that every member of the design team follows to create a cohesive and sustainable masterplan.
  • Landscape design should come early in the masterplanning process and be considered at all scales, from neighbourhood to detail.
  • From a transport perspective, a sustainable development is one that is well-located, well-connected, and well-designed.
  • Commuting to work only constitutes two fifths of total travel. We need to consider all reasons for movement when designing places, such as visiting friends and family, and going shopping.


If you are interested in joining Kent Design, or attending any of our learning events, you can find out more at www.kentdesign.org 




Image source: Simon Vine – Sovereign Square, Leeds