The report helpfully sets out some of the evidence based factors that the planning system should take into account. The evidence base is currently extremely limited, we can explain only around a fifth of the determinants of wellbeing, so this will be an evolving area for some time. The current state of knowledge, which is the same as was available when we were designing our approach at igloo, includes the importance of green space, local social interaction, exercise, reducing pollution and noise, a sense of place ownership and short commutes.
We have found that this simple understanding changes our decisions and produces much better places. It leads directly towards the community led, mixed use, green, sociable, walkable neighbourhoods that many have advocated since the early days of garden cities a century ago. It also really helps in detailed design. Part of our approach at igloo is to spread these approaches, we call it mainstreaming. One of the ways we do this is by using the best professionals and starting each project by bringing the team together as part of the igloo Footprint process. Out of this comes ideas like combining commercial and residential lobbies with cafés and social spaces, creating fold down benches on shop fronts and in the public realm for people, customers and non-customers to sit, creating community funds that bring together all parts of the community for mutual benefit and many many more.