Influencing Large-Scale Housing Developments in the UK: Involving Children and Young People

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Guest post by Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill and Professor Peter Kraftl

On 28th February 2018, Peter Kraftl, Sophie Hadfield-Hill and Alex Laxton organised a workshop for Local Authorities who are delivering new ‘Garden Towns and Villages’ around England. Currently, through this scheme, the UK Government is committed to building 14 new Garden Villages and 9 Towns, although more are in the pipeline ( Each new settlement will contain thousands (in some cases tens of thousands) of new homes.

The workshop represents the next stage of an ongoing programme research in the School on the importance of including children and young people’s needs and voices in the masterplanning of new urban spaces in the UK and India. We know that children and young people are some of the predominant users of urban public spaces, hold important knowledge about their safety and efficiency, and are often key agents in promoting social cohesion. Yet, all-too-often, children and young people’s needs are ignored or marginalised in the planning and delivery of new urban spaces.

The research team has been working with all of the Local Authorities involved in delivering new Garden Villages and Towns, who have inputted into a Briefing Report that sets out key progress to date and key recommendations. The workshop – which had nearly 50 registered delegates, including representatives of Homes England and the Department for Communities and Local Government – provided an opportunity to learn more about the team’s research, to discuss challenges and best practice, and to identify concrete ways forward. A key outcome is that most of the Local Authorities involved in the workshop have highlighted further ways in which we can input into their work through supporting outline planning applications and detailed consultation on masterplanning documents. Alongside publication of the Briefing Report, the team will also continue working with Homes England to input into a national toolkit for the new Garden Villages and Towns.

The workshop and the background work underpinning the Briefing Report was support by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

The full reference for the report is: Kraftl, P., Hadfield-Hill, S. and Laxton, A. (2018) Garden Villages and Towns: Planning for Children and Young People. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Briefing Report

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