Case Studies

South East England, Urban Value


Project Director
Tim Stonor

20+ including the Home Office, CABE, UCL, Savills

Higher Education Funding Council for England

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Urban Layout Value Map of the South East of England

In order to evaluate the layout value of a particular place, a model is required that includes the wider urban context of that place. In the past, urban economics models have taken time to produce, which has added cost and delay to the process. To overcome this, the i-VALUL research project created a model of the entire Greater South East of England.

The Urban Value toolkit demonstrates, in an evidence-based way, how physical and spatial design factors influence both social and economic value including crime patterns and land values. It provides planners, designers and community members with tools to overcome barriers that currently exclude spatial layout factors from being objectively assessed in terms of their social and economic value impacts. Applicable at all scales, from regional to local analysis, the toolkit is supported by training programmes and materials.

The opportunity

Urban Value was born from the “iVALUL” research project, one of the largest projects in the UrbanBuzz sustainable communities programme.

Our contribution

i-VALUL was led by Space Syntax and brought together over 20 public, private, higher education and voluntary sector organisations, including The Home Office, CABE, SEEDA, EEDA, UEL, UCL, GLA Economics, Savills Research, CBuchanan and JMP.

The outcome

The findings of i-VALUL, assembled into the Urban Value toolkit, have applications in five main areas:

1. Town centre vitality
Town centres have a critical social and economic role to play and the layout of town centres can enhance or diminish this role. Town centres are expected to make major contributions to sustainable economic growth and prosperity, environmental sustainability, delivery of affordable homes and social cohesion. i-VALUL showed how, in environmental terms, well laid out town centres reduce the need for travel and promote local activity.

CABE, CBuchanan, JMP, UCL

2. Street quality
i-VALUL built on the findings of the CABE study, “Paved with Gold”, which found that higher street quality could add 5% to property values and retail rents. i-VALUL demonstrated that the quality of any street is related to the quality of the street network layout in which it sits.

CABE, CBuchanan, JMP, UCL

3. Residential property value
Street layout, in particular the spatial accessibility of a street, is a key factor affecting residential property value.

Savills Research, UCL

4. Residential security
Good residential street layout design could reduce the risk of burglary and save a total social cost of more than £8,000 per household over the life cycle.

UCL, The Home Office

5. Personal safety
Good residential street layout design could improve safety by reducing robbery in town centres and save a total social cost of more than £9,000 per household over the life cycle.

UCL, The Home Office

Who benefits from the Urban Value toolkit?

The Urban Value toolkit is being used to support the case for improving street layout design and to provide evidence of the likely economic returns to be gained from investing in high-quality residential and town centre street layouts. It is helping to identify public sector development priorities, offering private sector investors a greater level of confidence and a more secure framework in which to invest.