’Architecture’s not just about building Shards,’ says expert as parking study gets Minister support

o University research could shape Government housing policy
o Study reveals inflexible parking on new estates leads to tension between neighbours
o Research recommends wider streets with room for on-street parking

Government policy on how future new housing estates should be designed could be shaped by leading research from the University of Sheffield.

The fraught issue of parking in new residential areas due to the advent of mass car ownership has led to the University ’s School of Architecture providing solutions with its Space to Park study, which was unveiled at a Parliamentary Launch this week.

Professor Flora Samuel, who attended yesterday’s launch in the capital, said: "Given the need for more housing in this country the research is extremely important and we were delighted that Housing Minister Kris Hopkins gave the study ringing endorsement.

"This project shows how architecture research skills can unravel knotty spatial problems at the heart of British life. Architecture is not just about building Shards."

The Space to Park project analysed 402 developments built since 2000 and discovered that suburban housing estates actually have surplus parking spaces but the inflexible way parking is allocated creates problems with spaces unused by some households while neighbours park on pavements and verges, creating tension.

"Victorian streets with high levels of car ownership work better than most modern estates however housebuilders would struggle to sell a house without allocated parking," explained Professor Samuel.

The study recommends houses are built with allocated spaces linked to the expected number of adults in the house and new estates are designed with wider streets to provide unallocated bays through on-street parking.

The Minister’s endorsement provides important support to house builders and others who are trying to promote better parking strategies. The research will be further promoted by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The Space to Park research can be viewed in more detail via http://spacetopark.org/

The research is a collaboration between URBED and Edinburgh University as part of Sheffield University’s Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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