DESIGN FOR SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Sir Peter Hall
Bartlett Professor of Planning andRegeneration, UCLSenior Research Fellow, the YoungFoundation
When the Young Foundationstarted on the work that hasled to this publication, no onecould have ever imagined justhow topical it would become.
The August riots in London and other Britishcities, which manifested a collapse of socialsustainability and social order on a scalenever before witnessed in this country, havenaturally provoked a huge wave of publicdebate, a form of national hand-wringing, onwhat has happened and why. Our carefully-nurtured self-image as a nation, an imageof good-natured tolerance which absorbedand eroded differences in class and raceand culture, lies all but shattered. Nowhereis this more true in London, whose citizensand civic leaders observed disturbances inother places – in northern cities, in Paris –and comfortably said “it could never happenhere”.But it could, and it has. So the topic of this new study, which might have seemedperipheral and academic, has become centraland urgent. Its authors were naturally
concerned rst with the creation of successful
new communities – new suburbs, newtowns – where previously no communityexisted. But the challenge is equally great,or greater, in the creation of successful newcommunities within the existing urban fabric.Here, as the riots so starkly show, we havefailed. New estates have been injectedinto older housing areas without adequatethought as to how the two would integrate.Housing policies, doubtless with the best of intentions, have produced concentrations of people with multiple forms of deprivation andmultiple resulting problems. At the sametime, the surrounding communities haveoften themselves been transformed in the
opposite direction, through gentrication.
The predictable result, in the worst cases,has been the obverse of social cohesion:a form of deep social resentment of onecommunity against the rest, and indeed thewider world. This is why the lessons and therecommendations of this report are boundto have a salience that its authors can neverhave imagined.Sir Peter Hall, August 2011.
FOREWORD BY SIRPETER HALL