Look! St Albans is to be transparent, proactive, respectful, collaborative, open, diverse, explorative and community-rooted.
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What Look! St Albans Our Community Voice on Design is about!
Look! St Albans Our Community Voice on Design’ is a unique inclusive community group that actively promotes community engagement on significant developments in central St Albans. We aim to take a collaborative approach to leave a legacy for the future that residents and developers can all be proud of. Look! St Albans remains impartial, expressing no design opinions of its own, but facilitates a design charrette process to incorporate all opinions.
In January 2013 Look! St Albans published, draft design codes for central St Albans, co-authored by the community and The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. These design codes inform landowners, developers and the planning authority what is acceptable and unacceptable to the community. They inform our design charrettes, and provide a community-led framework for placemaking and design decisions.
The design charrette process is independently externally facilitated by facilitators acceptable to both parties. We expect that the cost of the facilitators and the output to be met by the landowner and or developer. We act as community hosts paying for local publicity and refreshments etc. as a good host should. We do not charge for our time.
The draft design codes are not adopted policy of St Albans District Council, but their power lies in the fact they were community led and community endorsed. We have, we believe, a unique Memorandum of Understanding with our local planning authority.
Many in the community believe barriers to good placemaking and design decisions is that, typically, consultation takes place at the wrong stage of the process;
Therefore the wider community is excluded from the creative part of the process, when local knowledge and a diversity of skills could help realise designs that everyone can be proud of. Many have observed that often the result is the familiar cycle of opposition campaigns, delays, compromises, wasted resources and a final outcome that misses its full potential for all parties.
Look! St Albans is a cost-effective and efficient way to facilitate community-led design. We are run by volunteers, including residents associations, voluntary local groups and The Chamber of Commerce. Anyone living in the district can be an actively involved, whether formally or informally. We are trailblazing in community led design codes and the design charrette process. We are influencing other planning groups across the UK into using our methodology.
The output from our first site specific design charrette can be found here http://www.lookstalbans.org/1/post/2014/11/the-conclusions-of-the-three-part-design-charrette-for-the-st-albans-museums-site-is-published.html
The outcome of our second design charrette for the St Albans Civic Centre Opportunity Site can be found here http://www.lookstalbans.org/1/post/2016/12/-st-albans-civic-centre-opportunity-site-design-charrette-report-on-emerging-concepts-is-published.html For this we, the partnership and ImaginePlaces were shortlisted in both the national and regional RTPI awards 2017.
Look! St Albans is always willing to work positively and proactively with any landowner, developer and their team who embraces our design codes and methodology!