Should Engineers be involved with Residential Master Planning?

A common problem today is the prevalence of the generic masterplan set out by engineers for new housing estates. These plans generally show a lack of empathy and knowledge of contemporary urban design philosophy, resulting in more of the wasteful and bland builders estates causing the loss of neighbourhood and the increase of urban sprawl. Lets analyze the typical plan received below:

Original masterplan by civil engineer

 1. The huge amount of roadway. This increases cost per Lot, reduces usable green space, causes stormwater run-off issues etc etc. 

2. House types laid out in rows typical of European row housing, with no thought about orientation and the Australian climate. 

3. The tiny yards and poor orientation, with houses overlooking each others private yard space. 

4. The public green space is surrounded by high garden walls allowing loitering. There is no attempt to relate to the green space or to design for security. Why turn your back on the park? 

Now have a look at the same site approached with the correct principles: 

Architectural Masterplan

1.  Reduced hard surface roadway. The roadway between the units is a permeable surface.
2. Exactly the same number of the same unit types (in fact they could be increased).
3. The majority of houses now have the correct orientation.
4. Yard space has sigbificantly increased but with less overlooking issues.
5. House clusters have a unique address (as opposed to long boring rows) and form a community.
6. Changing orientation of the houses is aesthetically pleasing.
7. Car garages are hidden from the main street front, allowing front yards, improved pedestrian access and improved visual security.
8. The green space is accessed from the road and is not a place that will encourage loitering.

Typical dwelling cluster


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s