TOWN’s approach is based on a few simple principles about what makes make good places – principles observable in good parts of towns and cities everywhere.
INSPIRATION FROM GREAT TOWNS AND NEIGHBOURHOODS.
We are talking about the places people love to live in: solid and spacious homes with high ceilings, along handsome streets and with parks, shops and other amenities close at hand. Places like this are typically over a hundred years old, reflecting how much has been forgotten or neglected in the way that more recent development has been planned and built. We want to take the best of the past and the best of the new to get back to making places that people love.
FIRST THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, THEN STREETS, THEN BUILDINGS.
We think about the complete place, planning and designing from the scale of the neighbourhood right down to the street and the individual plot. We believe that the best urban places have a sense of coherence and unity, while allowing for personality and expression in individual buildings. Although our main focus is on residential property, we take great care to ensure our developments work in a context of mixed-use places that offer ready access to everyday facilities and connections beyond.
HIGH DENSITY, LOW RISE.
Good places need a degree of population density or else local amenities will struggle and ultimately fail. But outside of major city centres, building dense doesn’t have to mean building tall. Deep-plan terraces and elegant townhouses are the basic building blocks of most great neighbourhoods: they offer wonderful, flexible living spaces at densities that keep local amenities thriving, and make for attractive, lively and safe streets.
PEOPLE OVER CARS.
Given a true choice, most people prefer having the option to walk or cycle. And while the car may always be a useful tool, we don’t have to let it dominate our environment. Streets can be places for children to play safely and for residents to chat with neighbours. Cars should be there when we need them, but streets belong to people.
WARMTH AND LIGHT.
People love old houses: as the enduring popularity of Victorian and Edwardian neighbourhoods in Britain’s cities shows, many people would choose a draughty terrace with period qualities in a mature neighbourhood over an ‘executive’ estate house with a good EPC rating every time. Using modern methods of construction, we build houses that provide high levels of thermal efficiency and comfort. But unlike lots of new housing, we think that affordable warmth shouldn’t mean having tiny windows or mean room heights – we make light, airy spaces that people love to call home.
Why are new housing estates devoid of most living things? They needn’t be, and there are a opportunities everywhere to accommodate natural species – not only gardens, but green roofs, street trees, bird boxes and play areas to name only a few. Greener places aren’t only good for wildlife, but for us too, contributing to our health and wellbeing and mitigating against the impacts of climate change. Most people place a value on living close to nature – not least in urban neighbourhoods.