Building in Arcadia: The Case for Well-Designed Rural Development Book from RIBA Publishing, Architecture

RIBA Publishing Building in Arcadia Book

Building in Arcadia: The Case for Well-Designed Rural Development Architecture Publication – Countryside Environment

16 July 2019

RIBA Publishing Building in Arcadia Book News

RIBA Publishing’s new Building in Arcadia makes the case for building in the countryside- with a sensitive approach.

In an awakening illumination of planning and the attitudes that colour its processes, RIBA Publishing’s new Building in Arcadia: The Case for Well-Designed Rural Development has been dubbed essential reading for all local authority, planning and architectural professionals.

As author Ruth Reed, former president of the RIBA, asserts in the book: “The English, perhaps more than any other nation in the world, are deeply attached to the notion of Arcadia: an idealised rural landscape that epitomises national identity” and because of this, “we resist new development as if it is an intrusion into an unspoiled landscape…This has framed local planning polices and decisions for decades, and now threatens the nation’s ability to provide enough homes and keep small rural communities alive.”

Building in Arcadia: The Case for Well-Designed Rural Development book

In the midst of a housing crisis, this is a pressing issue; one that is forcing people into even smaller homes in overcrowded and overpriced cities or poorly connected areas on the outskirts, with few amenities.

Seeking to debunk the myths around rural development and just how much green space we have in the UK, Ruth explains in the book: “Even in the ‘overcrowded’ Southeast, 87% of UK land is still green fields, with England still being 91% green fields.” Yet, despite this, it can be perceived that England is so short of land that our homes can’t extend to a decent garden and new planned neighbourhoods can’t support local shops or a pub.

Extensive research informing the book reveals that town planners maintain a largely positive position on new rural communities, but are all too often met with resistance due to the controversy facing greenfield development.

Using these eye-widening facts, Building in Arcadia motivates readers to work towards cracking the politics of land supply, the economics of housing delivery, and often, the poor quality of housing that’s delivered.

“Our aim should be to produce and sustain holistic communities where services and employment opportunities are not neglected. It’s only in these places that new businesses are encouraged to establish and grow,” Ruth explains. In essence, places where people and communities thrive.

A book about growing communities for the 21st century, Building in Arcadia is invaluable for informed, critical thinking on town planning. It will be available from RIBA Bookshops and online from July 2019. Also join the conversation on Twitter now with #RuralHousingWeek #BuildingInArcadia

About RIBA Publishing

RIBA Publishing is one of the leading providers of high-quality information for architects and other built environment professionals. With over 35 years’ experience, they publish authoritative and practical information for the market, from good practice, legal and management guides to technical design guides, and anything in between.

About Ruth Reed

Ruth Reed is an architect and academic with a distinguished reputation in planning issues. She has experience as a planning inspector and a lobbyist on planning matters for the RIBA. She is currently a director at Green Planning Studio Limited, an architecture and planning consultancy.

Ruth previously set up Reed Architects in 1992 where she rapidly won a reputation for gaining planning consents. Much of the practice’s work was in the self-build sector. Ruth eventually became a Director of Associated Self-Build Architects.

Elected as the first female president of the RIBA in 2009 her policy focus was on architectural education and on planning reform. Once her term as president finished Ruth took over chairmanship of the Planning Group for six years.

As a previous RIBA Council Member, she has also been Vice President of Membership and Chair of the RIBA CPD sub-committee where she drafted the introduction of the core curriculum. Ruth has examined at the Welsh School of Architecture and also at Plymouth and Bath. Most recently she was a Professor and course director for the Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture Practice at Birmingham School of Architecture.

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