top of page

Looking for something?

Results found for ""

Journal (14)

  • Embracing Blue and Green Infrastructure: Enhancing Communities within the Built Environment

    Dean Cadby, SPD Studio's managing director and self-proclaimed Urbanist gives his thoughts on the importance of Blue and Green Infrastructure in the built environment. In the realm of urban development and community planning, the significance of blue and green infrastructure in the built environment cannot be overstated. As settlements expand and urbanisation accelerates, integrating elements of nature into our developments becomes pivotal. Blue infrastructure, encompassing water bodies and systems, along with green infrastructure, including parks, gardens, and green spaces, hold immense value beyond their aesthetic appeal. They play a transformative role in fostering resilient, sustainable, and liveable communities while nurturing a profound sense of place-making. The concept of blue infrastructure refers to the networks of water resources, such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, and stormwater management systems. These elements not only contribute to environmental sustainability by managing water flow and quality but also provide invaluable recreational and aesthetic benefits. Incorporating blue infrastructure into urban planning not only mitigates flooding risks and enhances water quality but also creates spaces for community gathering, recreation, and relaxation. Camden Highline Vision Consider the revitalization of riverfronts or waterfront developments in various cities and town worldwide. These areas, once neglected or industrialised, have been transformed into vibrant public spaces, attracting residents and tourists alike. The Camden Line in London, a repurposed elevated railway track turned into a greenway, or proposed regeneration of Thamesmead exemplify how reimagining water bodies can invigorate communities, fostering social interaction, and boosting economic growth. Project Oranges vision for Thamesmead -Grey to Green Vision Similarly, green infrastructure plays a pivotal role in enhancing the urban environment. Parks, green roofs, community gardens, and street trees contribute significantly to mitigating the urban heat island effect, improving air quality, and providing habitats for biodiversity. These green spaces act as lungs for cities, absorbing carbon dioxide and purifying the air, thus promoting public health and well-being. The impact of green infrastructure extends far beyond environmental benefits. Accessible and well-designed green spaces encourage physical activity, reduce stress, and foster a sense of community belonging. They serve as meeting points for diverse populations, transcending social barriers and creating inclusive environments. When people feel connected to their surroundings, a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility for their community develops, leading to a more engaged and resilient society. Similarly, green infrastructure plays a pivotal role in enhancing the urban environment. Parks, green roofs, community gardens, and street trees contribute significantly to mitigating the urban heat island effect, improving air quality, and providing habitats for biodiversity. These green spaces act as lungs for cities, absorbing carbon dioxide and purifying the air, thus promoting public health and well-being. The impact of green infrastructure extends far beyond environmental benefits. Accessible and well-designed green spaces encourage physical activity, reduce stress, and foster a sense of community belonging. They serve as meeting points for diverse populations, transcending social barriers and creating inclusive environments. When people feel connected to their surroundings, a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility for their community develops, leading to a more engaged and resilient society. Moreover, the integration of blue and green infrastructure contributes significantly to place-making—the process of creating spaces that reflect and strengthen a community's identity. These elements evoke a sense of local history, culture, and ecology, weaving narratives that connect residents to their surroundings. When a city incorporates natural features and landscapes into its fabric, it adds depth and character, distinguishing it from cookie-cutter urban developments. Hammarby, Sweden where a thriving community resides in a blue environment. Successful place-making through blue and green infrastructure involves community engagement and participatory planning. Collaborative efforts that involve residents, stakeholders, and urban planners can ensure that these spaces reflect the unique identity and needs of the community. By integrating local stories, traditions, and aspirations into the design process, these spaces become more than just physical landscapes—they become emotional anchors that instill a sense of pride and attachment among residents. Additionally, the economic value of blue and green infrastructure should not be underestimated. Studies consistently show that properties near green spaces or water bodies command higher values and experience increased demand. Beyond property values, these spaces drive tourism, support local businesses, and stimulate economic activities. Town and communities that invest in blue and green infrastructure not only improve the quality of life for residents but also attract investment and talent, fostering long-term sustainable growth. However, the realisation of blue and green infrastructure in the built environment requires sustained commitment and investment. Challenges such as limited space, competing interests in land use, and budget constraints often hinder their implementation. Moreover, ensuring equitable distribution and access to these amenities across socio-economic boundaries remains a critical challenge that needs to be addressed. In the face of escalating climate change, the integration of blue and green infrastructure stands as a pivotal solution for communities striving to adapt and fortify against its impacts. Blue infrastructure, encompassing water bodies and systems, and green infrastructure, incorporating natural elements like pocket forests, wetlands, and green spaces, offer multifaceted resilience to the challenges posed by a changing climate. Water-centric adversities like more frequent heavy rainfall events, intensified storms, and droughts necessitate innovative approaches. Blue infrastructure components such as strategically designed pocket forests, restored wetlands, and stormwater management systems aid in mitigating flooding risks and shoreline erosion. Constructing artificial reefs or restoring natural ones not only bolsters marine ecosystems but also acts as a buffer against storm surges, shielding coastal areas from devastation. Moreover, green infrastructure plays a pivotal role in climate adaptation. Trees and vegetation serve as natural shields, mitigating heat island effects prevalent in urban areas while enhancing air quality. Permeable surfaces, green roofs, and rain gardens facilitate water absorption and filtration, reducing the strain on drainage systems during heavy rainfall and mitigating urban flooding. In conclusion, the incorporation of blue and green infrastructure into the built environment is not merely a matter of aesthetics—it is a fundamental pillar of sustainable urban development. These elements offer multifaceted benefits, ranging from environmental sustainability and public health to social cohesion and economic prosperity. By embracing these natural assets and integrating them thoughtfully into urban landscapes, cities can truly thrive as resilient, inclusive, and vibrant communities, fostering a profound sense of place-making for generations to come.

  • Celebrating Our Studio's Excellence: Josephine-the Creative Force

    We are excited to announce our new addition to the studio, Josephine Harkins RIBA. As an accomplished architect, interior designer, and artist, Josephine has over three decades of experience, displaying a remarkable ability to transform clients' thoughts and aspirations into captivating and inspiring built environments. Since joining our studio in July, Jo has led the initial feasibility stages of various projects, expressing her exceptional talent for freehand sketching concept designs to bring the vision to life! Her passion for architecture and interior design and unique talent make her an indispensable asset to our studio and clients. The Artistry -image While having an exceptional talent for designing beautiful aesthetics and designs, what sets Josephine apart is her ability to truly listen, understand, and fulfil our client's visions, objectives, and goals. Josephine believes architecture should be a visual delight and resonate with the client's ambience, emotions, goals, and character. Her designs are a testament to her deep understanding of this philosophy. Architecture as an Experience -image Josephine's perspective on architecture is refreshing and enlightening. She firmly believes that architecture should be a source of pleasure for everyone involved in the process - the architect, the client, and the builder. For her, every project is an opportunity to craft an experience that brings joy and respect to all stakeholders. This approach has not only led to the creation of stunning architectural masterpieces. Still, it has brought to light the creative force we celebrate at the studio and provides a sense of collaboration and satisfaction among the project team. Beyond the Studio -image While Josephine's professional life is filled with artistic pursuits, her interests are equally engaging. She treasures spending quality time with her family and beloved dogs outside work. Her passion for art extends to her family, as she enjoys creating portraits of her loved ones when they grant her the privilege. In the words of Josephine herself, 'Architecture is a pleasure to be enjoyed by both Architect, Client, and Builder. Project making should be an experience of joy and respect.' We couldn't agree more and are excited to have her as an integral part of our team.

  • Have you considered self-build and custom housebuilding when developing your site?

    With the increasing demand for housing in the UK and lack of supply in terms of available land and houses, it is understandable why home buyers and developers are seeking alternative approaches to house construction and securing planning permission to develop a site. The traditional housing supply relies upon decision-making between a developer and the local planning authority, resulting in policy-compliant houses, but is this what buyers want? And with the increasingly limited supply of available sites to develop, what can developers use to their advantage in the planning process? Introducing - self-build and custom housebuilding. Could this be the saviour of home buyers and developers in the UK? This article focuses on the legislative position, definitions and planning position for self-build and custom housebuilding to inform your approach to selecting a plot of land and developing a site. The legislation The self-build and custom housebuilding act was adopted in 2015, later amended by the Housing and Planning Act in 2016, requiring the relevant authorities (including Local Planning Authorities (LPA)) to maintain a register of individuals or associations that are interested in self-build and custom housebuilding in their locality. This register provides a valuable tool to understand the demand vs supply, which across the board has seen a consistent rise in demand, but varying provision of supply. However, with LPAs starting to adopt local policies specific to self-build and custom housebuilding, this could be set to change. What is the difference between self-build and custom building? Whilst there is no legislative requirement to differentiate between the two forms of development, as the two can be summarised as a house constructed according to the future occupant's design and requirements, it is helpful to understand the differences. Self-build enables a higher degree of individualism in the design and the construction process, limited only by the statutory requirements relating to the LPA, insurers or mortgage lenders, resulting in a higher risk to the buyer. Custom housebuilding, in contrast, is lower risk whereby a developer, contractor or landowner takes on part of the development along three routes: 1. Turnkey, where the buyer selects from a list of design choices, and it is constructed to that specification, 2. A shell, where a developer will build the external shell of the building, leaving the internal design to the buyer and 3. A serviced plot, where the services (e.g. road connection, electricity supply etc.) are installed on a plot, but the design of the house is left to the buyer, within set design parameters. However, it is essential to note that both of the above require planning permission from the relevant authority. The planning position Where planning permission is required, as well as enabling design input from the future occupier, self-build and custom housebuilding can also assist in the planning balance. The NPPG clearly states that an LPA must consider the self-build and custom housebuilding register, making it a material planning consideration. Whilst this has not significantly impacted decision-making across the board, varying positive weight has been attached to this in Inspectors' decisions. Examples of this include appeal APP/Z1510/W/22/3305099, allowed in Braintree, where the provision of five self-build/ custom housebuilding plots was given significant positive weight due to a shortfall in supply in the local register. Additionally, appeal APP/W3520/W/23/3316136 in Suffolk was allowed based on a significant under-provision of available plots compared to an increasing demand from individuals, resulting in significant weight being attached to the proposed nine self-build/ custom housebuilding plots. However, this is not always the case, as evidenced in a recent appeal in Warwickshire (reference- APP/F2415/W/22/3312699), where, despite significant weight being attached to the provision of 7 self-build plots, this did not outweigh the significant harm identified to the character and appearance of the area. Considering the above, the addition of self-build and custom housebuilding into the development of a site will not enable development on all sites; put simply it will not be an automatic approval. However, it does enable a degree of design input from a future occupier, which is often rare in medium to large site developments, and it should be a consideration where local needs have not been met, which can play significantly in favour of achieving planning permission for a site, for house and plot buyers, as well as land developers. In light of this, SPD Studio has provided planning support on projects that either focus on or include an element of self-build and custom housebuilding. As the individual characteristics of a site, such as the location of the site and the position of the LPA in respect of their self-build and custom housebuilding register, play a crucial role in the provision of self-build and custom housebuilding sites, SPD Studio provides an appraisal process to understand the potential of a site from self-build potential to the principle of development. In addition to appraisals, we offer planning, architectural and engineering support for pre-application, formal submission and technical design. If these services are of interest, please get in touch.

View All

Other Pages (40)

  • Contact | SPD Studio

    Contact Us Please provide some information on your project or goals and one of our professional team will be in contact. Further case studies available upon request. New Project Enquiry View policies Please contact our Managing Director, Jim Rudd Please get in touch with one of our architecture team to begin the design process. Contact Enquire about a new project Opening Hours Mon - Fri 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Unit 1&2, Tollgate Business Park, Stanway Colchester, Essex. CO3 8AB info@spd-studio.co.uk 01206 265224

  • Architecture | SPD Studio

    ARCHITECTURE | High quality design from concept to completion Design approach At SPD Studio, our architecture team is dedicated to providing sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions to our clients. Our approach to a project involves taking into consideration the natural environment, the local climate, and the individual needs of our customers. Our commitment to sustainability means that we use materials and methods that are safe and efficient, with the goal of reducing our environmental impact. Our team also strives to create designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. We believe that an architecture team should strive to create spaces that are both beautiful and energy efficient, and that's exactly what we do at SPD Studio. We take pride in our efforts to create buildings and structures that are comfortable, attractive, and eco-friendly. Specialising in the residential design sector, our vibrant team is bursting with creativity, skill and all have a real passion for the industry. We’re experienced in both private and public sectors and have dealt with a wide range of projects that vary in size. From home transformations and extensions, residential developments to large-scale urban design projects, we have the experience, expertise and passion to create inspiring places to live. Feasibility Working alongside our team of experienced Town Planners, our talented team of architects and technicians pride themselves on their high level of presentation and attention to detail, ensuring buildable beautiful designs. In addition to fully-coloured drawings, our in-house visualisation team offer photo-realistic CGIs and fly-through animations to bring a scheme to life aiding the client, local planning authority or future prospective homeowners. Planning Technical Drawings After planning permission has been granted, our dedicated technical team of experienced technicians produce detailed drawings and specifications suitable to achieve Building Control approval. Contract administration | Clients agents We’re experienced in overseeing projects and supporting clients throughout the entire planning process. From initial appraisal to the management of planning applications. Collaborative Services Our Town Planners, Engineers and Architects are essential in creating sustainable communities. By working collaboratively, we can devise ways to improve our impact on the environment, including the effects of development, while ensuring that the project meets the needs of those living and working in the area and the client. ​ We at SPD Studio believe that collaboration between our team and our clients is essential to ensure successful outcomes. We use a variety of approaches to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide input and receive feedback throughout the project. ​ We strive to create an environment that encourages creative thinking and open communication and allows for the successful implementation of ideas. Ultimately, our collaborative processes are essential for achieving our clients' highest success, and we are committed to providing the best possible service for them. ​ By working together, Town Planners, Engineers, and Architects can create sustainable communities that meet the needs of the people who live and work there from a single site. Architecture Our RIBA Chartered architectural team provide a range of architectural services including concept design, planning applications and technical design. Engineering Passionate about sustainable infrastructure which supports the built environment, the Engineering Team offer a holistic, design led approach to design. Planning We’re experienced in overseeing projects and supporting clients throughout the entire planning process. From initial appraisal to the management of planning applications. CGI Visualisation Innovative software underpinned by a design led ethos enables sustainable communities to thrive. ​ 3D Modelling Our modelling service allows the client to visualize a project before beginning construction, helping them to identify potential problems, optimize design, and reduce costs. Our realistic renderings and animations of a structure, giving clients a more accurate representation of the project.

  • Sustainable Planning Design Studio | Built-environment | East of England

    Through efficiency and collaboration, we aim to achieve lasting relationships, exceptional value, high quality design for our clients while creating a positive impact on communities and the environment. SUSTAINABLE PLANNING DESIGN STUDIO Sustainable Planning Design Studio are an inter-disciplinary consultancy, based in Colchester, that provides architectural, engineering and planning services for the built-environment. Get to know us ARCHITECTURE High quality design from concept to completion. Our RIBA Chartered architectural team provide a range of architectural services including concept design, planning applications and technical design. ENGINEERING Sustainable and efficient infrastructure for built environments. Passionate about sustainable infrastructure which supports the built environment, the Engineering Team offer a holistic, design led approach to design. PLANNING Expert guidance through the complexities of planning. We’re experienced in overseeing projects and supporting clients throughout the entire planning process. From initial appraisal to the management of planning applications. Katherine Dennis It has been quite a journey and I cannot thank you both enough for getting us through it. Your guidance and professional interaction with Building Control has been invaluable and having you there to catalogue and order the large volume of evidence we needed to collect was an enormous help and relief to me. Thank goodness we found you! My very best wishes and heartfelt thanks. VIEW OUR SECTORS SPD Studio offer a range of disciplinary avenues for design, engineering and planning. Click through to view our experience and work. Explore Projects OUR CULTURE At SPD Studio we are about people and places. From the people who make the studio what it is, to the places we design for future generations. Design-led and with sustainability running through our DNA, we pride ourselves on thinking and working harmoniously across all disciplines within the built environment under one roof. Meet Our People SOME OF OUR TRUSTED CLIENTS Explore Industries LET'S WORK TOGETHER ​ We’re always looking for new opportunities. Please get in touch and one of our project managers will contact you about beginning the proposal process. Connect with Our Team Get Started

View All
bottom of page