The following case study critiques Upton’s vision to establish a sustainable community through implementing comprehensive sustainable strategy. The urban periphery development is thought to demonstrate superior execution of sustainable principles in development (Jackson 2007). As a parallel, the report focuses on the development of Upton’s design code and demonstrates how large -scale mix-use developments can incorporate sustainable practice and principles of urban growth.
Upton is a 44-ha greenfield site forming part of Northampton’s ‘South West District’, a fundamental area of strategic economic and population expansion situated south west of the central core. The area is accessible via the A45 and A43 main roads and via junctions 15A and 16 of the M1 motorway. Roads bound the site from the north and east, while Upton Country Park is situated to the south of the site, which includes the flood plain of the River Nene. The site boundary is indicated below:
Upton’s premise is a mix-use development providing a complete cross section of dwelling types supported by economic opportunity and social infrastructure. The site was assembled through English partnerships, which were granted outline planning permission for Upton in 1997 (Community and Local Government 2007). The scheme aims to deliver 1,382 homes by its completion in 2013 (Clark 2010).
Engaging the community was an important aspect of the schemes development process. In 2001, English Partnerships (EP) collaborated with Northampton Borough Council, the Prince’s Foundation and EDAW, an urban design consultancy, to establish the Upton Working Group to apply the Upton project. Several revised additions of the Upton Urban Framework Plan followed through ‘Enquiry by Design’ for the period of 2001-2002, in late 2002 Northampton Borough Council granted planning consent for the new framework (Street 2006).
The multi-faceted characteristics of high-quality urban extensions are detailed in the Sustainable Urban Extensions: Planned through Design (2010), a report from the Princes Foundation, focusing particularly on the quality of new housing. Paraphrased below are the proposed requirements to create a successful development indicated by the report:
High density and compact design;
A mix of housing types and tenures;
Communal areas of green space and;
Communal amenities and facilities.
The report identifies the physical attributes of a sustainable urban extension, focussing on quality of new housing. Higher density, a mix of housing types and tenures, legible neighbourhoods, communal areas including green space and communal amenities and facilities are all observed as necessary. However, due to adverse effects of the economic downturn, Upton is yet to provide the substantial amenities as originally proposed. Consequently, residents of Upton will require transportation to obtain essential services, thus partially offsetting the sustainable...