30 - 04 - 2020

By Chris Bath, Partner, Architecture – a roundtable discussion hosted by Kent Design on the 30 April 2020.

For Kent Design’s first roundtable event of 2020 there could only be one subject – how will the pandemic impact design, planning and development during the lockdown and beyond. Can it be ‘business as usual’? BPTW Partner Chris Bath contributed to the discussion and has the following poignant takeaways.

// I am pleased to have been involved in Kent Design’s roundtable event alongside many other industry professionals where we discussed the impact of the pandemic and importantly, the opportunities for the sector in the recovery period. Many points were raised that were of great relevance to the architectural and residential sectors, including some we are currently facing at BPTW.

There was a strong acknowledgement that the design of our homes will change both internally and externally to accommodate new ways of living and working, and this must be supported by updated space standards. There is a need for designs to be more flexible and open, arranged in a way that offers space for working and encourages social interaction with our neighbours and community. Having our own green space has become increasingly important, but the design process must also consider how to allow social but safe interaction. My team at BPTW has addressed these types of considerations in the design of Rochester Riverside, such as flexibility in internal arrangements and providing beautiful green spaces right on the doorstep of every home – something that has been discussed in our Rochester Riverside case study for Housing LIN.

Another key takeaway, and current industry challenge, is how public engagement can accommodate the pandemic restrictions. As a practice we are adapting how we engage with the communities we work with. Members of the round table agreed that the biggest challenge is not how to broadcast consultation information but how can we continue to interact with communities despite restrictions. While there is an opportunity to update consultation methodology to harness the potential of digital communication, something that is greatly supported by the younger generation, it is also important not to isolate those with limited access to digital technology. My colleagues Andy Heath and Gerry Cassidy have addressed this topic in their opinion piece, Covid-19 and digital planning. //

Chris Bath, partner
The riverside walk at Rochester Riverside provides landscaped amenity for residents and the wider community.

BPTW has been a member of Kent Design for several years and it serves as a forum for professionals, politicians and the public to debate key issues in planning, design and development in Kent It has also been a vital guide for BPTW‘s work as we continue to undertake more projects in Kent.

Further information on the roundtable discussion is available on Kent Design’s website.