As part of the on going Kent Design programme, this roundtable event drew a wide range of built environment professionals from both the public and private sectors. Their challenge was to discuss the topic of ‘politics, the economy and design.’

Hosted in the historic setting of Maidstone Museum, attendees discussed issues that ranged from market forces and shifting commercial trends, to culture, values, the high street and education. Conversation was inevitably orientated towards house building, new neighbourhoods and the places where most people experience placemaking and design.

Europe was discussed but the focus was not on Brexit. The conversation centred on the value of learning from successful places in mainland Europe and questioning why the lessons from these developments had not successfully migrated to Britain. 

A noteworthy result from the broader conversation was the overall consensus on the need for a paradigm shift in how we design, plan and build our homes, places and cities to reflect changes in behaviours and shifting market forces.

The discussion came to a close with an eye to the future, specifically education. Delegates noted that there was a poor understanding of the careers available in the built environment sector and even less on placemaking roles. There was a call to properly prepare and equip the next generation of urbanists and placemakers.

This event was part of KENT DESIGN. Design South East facilitates roundtable discussions in order to research and collate issues relevant to professionals, developers and the public.