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Sustainable settlements

How we choose to settle on the earth has long been an interest of ours. We can do so in a way that respects nature, minimises our impact on the planet and promotes a sense of community ... or not. Here are a couple of examples of new quarters we have designed. They are in very different contexts, but explore common themes.

Case Study: Newrath Urban Village

in 2006 Kilkenny Council, Waterford City and Waterford County set out plans to expand Waterford from 40,000 to 100,000 people. The Purcell Brothers who own 200 acres of land, north of the River Suir, collaborated with neighbours to assemble a land-holding of 450 acres. This short film gives a brief summary of our approach to this new settlement:

Newrath Urban Village

Despite an agreed policy to focus development towards the north of the city centre, the emphasis on Waterford’s expansion was to the south, further and further away from the city centre and the railway station. This expansion was taking the form of suburban developments, based on private car use and resulting in bland and soulless places.

By developing the vision for Newrath Urban Village, we offered a sustainable alternative: an urban village designed to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport. We proposed a village with a heart, a centre with local shops, cafés, restaurants, jobs, childcare facilities, a village green and a park. The natural features of the site would be preserved and enhanced, including mature trees and hedgerows with particular care to protect the adjacent Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

As a result of our proposals sufficient land was re-zoned to create the first phase of the village

CASE STUDY: Chelsea Barracks

We were involved in Chelsea Barracks twice. In 2006, having occupied the site for over 150 years, the Ministry of Defence announced the tender for the sale of this site. The press quickly labelled it the “most valuable site in London”. As the big guns of the international property market and equally big names of the architectural world (Foster, Grimshaw, Farrells, McAslan) signed up, a consortium, little known in London at the time approached think place, not just to masterplan the site, but to manage the whole of their bid. think place appointed a mix of architects (Patel Taylor, Munkenbeck & Marshall, Mossessian & Partners), DP9 as town planners, Buro Happold on engineering, and others. The Ranelagh consortium came a very close runner-up in the final round of bidding. This short film provides a brief summary of our approach:

Two years later, the winning bidders, Qatari Diar, withdrew a detailed planning application prepared by Roger Stirk Harbor + Partners. In seeking a replacement, Qatari Diar took advice from the Greater London Assembly, Design Council Cabe, The Prince's Foundation, Westminster City Council and professional advisers. After considering around 50 of the world’s leading masterplanners, they shortlisted think place who later teamed up with Hamiltons and Patel Taylor for a competition to prepare a new masterplan. Our team were runners-up and much of our thinking was incorporated in the final commission.