ADD2271 Good Growth by Design - Public London Evidence Base

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2271
Date signed: 
02 October 2018
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Assistant Director of Regeneration

Executive summary

Approval is sought to commission a research study to inform the development of the Public London Charter within the context of the proposed London Plan policy for effective management of public spaces to ensure these will be open, free to use and offer the highest level of public access. The study will be a standalone piece of work with a value up to £20,000 to be funded from the Planning and Good Growth by Design budgets.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Regeneration and Economic Development approves:

Expenditure of up to £20,000 on external services to undertake the Public London Evidence Base study.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The draft new London Plan emphasises the important role of public realm in the city, and asserts that whether publicly or privately owned, public realm should be open, free to use and offer the highest level of public access. Through policy D7 the Mayor has committed to developing a Public London Charter which will set out the rights and responsibilities for the users, owners and managers of public spaces irrespective of land ownership.

The Public London Charter will seek to address this through promoting good design and proper stewardship of public spaces in new developments to ensure that they are democratic and encourage civic participation. It will ensure appropriate management and maintenance arrangements to maximise public access and minimise rules governing the space to those required for its safe management.

As part of this the Good Growth by Design (GGbD) programme identified a number of design inquires which serve to both inform policy, guidance and delivery and to set quality standards for others to follow. GGbD is the Mayor’s programme to promote quality and inclusion in the built environment. It is a plan and a call to action to deliver good growth. It recognises the role of design in improving development in an ever-denser city. It draws on existing design and place-shaping expertise by engaging with the built environment profession. One of the GGbD inquiries addresses the requirement of the Public London Charter and aims to deliver this through work with a sounding board of Mayors Design Advocates (MDAs).

The initial Public London sounding board meeting recommended that more evidence-based research was required. It is proposed to commission a study to provide quantitative and qualitative evidence and evaluation of built and in-use privately owned public spaces (POPs) and publicly owned spaces to inform the development of the Public London Charter.

Building on the premise that good growth is dependent on the continued availability of high quality fit for purpose public space that is freely accessible to all Londoners and visitors, the research commission will provide in-depth quantitative and qualitative evaluation of case studies of existing examples of in-use POPs and publicly owned spaces.

The study, of a value of up to £20,000, will be funded jointly from Planning and Good Growth by Design revenue budgets, and managed by the Regeneration and Economic Development team in consultation with Planning and other GLA group teams as required. This will be undertaken via a competitive procurement route.

The research commission will be progressed in parallel with other emerging policy areas, including the the GGbD inquiries on Diversity and the Child Friendly City.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The inquiry will include an overview of current legislation and collect case studies illustrating best practice regarding their planning, management and design. These case studies will be public spaces across London and may also include relevant national and international examples. The chosen sites will be informed by the existing knowledge and experience of the sounding board and relevant MDAs.

Issues that the study will consider, in the context of the inquiry (but focussing particularly on the long-term ambitions of the Public London Charter):

• The role of planning and legal mechanisms used in the design, delivery and management of public spaces to determine public accessibility and inclusive use.
• The rules that landowners and management companies place on the public use of spaces.
• How these rules are communicated and enforced and how they affect public accessibility and inclusive use.
• Specific features in the built environment that result from the respective planning or legal processes and site management regimes which affect public accessibility and inclusive use.
• How public spaces are used by a diverse population, taking into account socio-economic indicators as well as the relevant protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010.

It is anticipated that the methodology used by the successful bidder will employ quantitative and qualitative research, resulting in cross-cutting findings, which will feed into the development of the Public London Charter. The members of the Public London sounding board have been included in the development of the brief for the study and will be involved throughout the commission providing feedback and guidance to follow through into the development of the charter.

The study will provide:

• A desktop literature review on POPs focusing on planning and management and design.
• A long-list of London, UK and international examples of built and in-use POPs and publicly owned public spaces which the sounding board will shortlist for in depth evaluation.
• A definition of the set of quantitative and qualitative criteria to evaluate the agreed list of case studies and assess their performance in response to the research agenda, with a focus on how these spaces meet the requirements of a diverse set of Londoners.
• A comprehensive publishable report of circa ten case studies.
• A discussion paper summarising the case study analysis findings and setting out principles and options to inform the Public London Charter.

Equality comments

The work set out in this decision is intended to inform the Public London Charter and its ambitions to ensure that public space in London is accessible for all residents, workers and visitors to the area. It will consider how public spaces are used by a diverse population taking into account the relevant protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act.

The draft London Plan has had a full integrated impact assessment undertaken. The D7 draft London Plan policy on public realm and the Good Growth by Design agenda of this policy statement and guidance aims to improve the design and environment quality of the built environment for all Londoners.

The sounding board group, which is cross cutting across the GLA, are advising on the procurement specification to ensure equalities and diversity are considered and that consideration has been given to the potential impact on those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

As this is a live issue in the press, careful management of communications of the study are required. In addition, the Mayor’s commitment to deliver a Public London Charter is mentioned in the draft London Plan, therefore regular monitoring of the programme and progress of this commission are required to mitigate the risk of delays that could impact the Examination in Public.

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

In the draft London Plan the Mayor committed to delivering a Public London Charter which will set out the rights and responsibilities for the users, owners and managers of public spaces irrespective of land ownership.

c) consultations and impact assessments, including data protection (as per the GLA’s requirements under GDPR), health and safeguarding where relevant.

As part of this commission engagement with a range of relevant stakeholders in the public and private sector, including local authorities, landowners and users of publicly owned and privately owned public spaces will take place.

Financial comments

The cost of up to £20,000 for this study will be funded equally between the Good Growth by Design and Planning budgets held within the Development, Enterprise and Environment Budgets for 2018-19.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

September 2018

Delivery Start Date

October 2018

First draft report

December 2018

Final draft report

February 2019

Project Closure

March 2019