While several different developers will build at Plasdŵr over its lifetime, the lead developer is Redrow Homes. Plasdŵr’s masterplan has been designed in line with Redrow’s ‘placemaking’ principles. Kevin Parker, Redrow’s group masterplanning director, talks about how these have influenced Cardiff’s garden city.
“Placemaking is all about creating a better way to live – making provision for the health, wellbeing and happiness of the people who live in our homes, not just a roof over their heads. The environments we live in directly affect our quality of life and there’s a lot we can do at design stage to influence this.
“At Redrow, we’ve developed eight placemaking principles which, together, seek to create places of the highest quality and each of these has informed the masterplan for Plasdŵr.”
1. Listen to learn
“Understanding the local area and engaging existing communities is key to creating a new place. We engage with local communities and stakeholders early in the design process to identify local concerns. At Plasdŵr we’ve taken this a step further and continue to hold regular drop-in sessions in local communities to answer questions and stay up to date on local issues.”
2. Keep it local
“Once we understand the area, we adapt our designs where necessary to ensure the designs reflect what is important locally – for example using local stone. As it takes shape and details become more defined, designs for the houses at Plasdŵr will reflect those in its neighbouring communities. Developments on the more rural edges of Plasdŵr will have a smaller, village feel while the district centre will be busier and more urban with townhouses and apartments.”
3. Easy to get around
“We want to make sure the places we build are connected to existing communities. Creating new connections or improving the existing connections between new developments and their neighbouring communities is key to this. Plans for Plasdŵr include upgrades to infrastructure such as the creation of new bus and cycle lanes, and contributions towards improving bus services. Active travel is a key component in Plasdŵr, walking and cycling will be the easiest ways to get around followed by using the bus.”
4. Places to go and things to do
“Creating a locally tailored community infrastructure, with opportunities for people to interact and socialise is key to making our new developments into ‘places’. With a district centre and three smaller, local centres, Plasdŵr will have its own shops, restaurants and offices with plenty of places for people to meet and socialise.”
5. Nature for people
“Connection with nature is important for our overall wellbeing, so this principle calls for us to create new wildlife habitats, or enhance existing habitats, and make them more accessible for people though design of public spaces. Around 40% of Plasdŵr will be green space including managed heritage woodland. The development is being designed with a network of ‘green corridors’ for wildlife to travel through and carefully designed habitats placed strategically around the site.”
6. Streets for life
“The street is an essential part of creating safe, attractive and friendly places to live. We consider this from an aesthetic perspective but it’s also important to keep in mind that streets are places where children meet to play, where we speak to our neighbours, get to know one another and form communities. The masterplan for Plasdŵr takes this into account and streets will be attractive and safe for the residents who live there.”
7. Homes for all
“Sustainable and socially cohesive communities are formed when there is a diverse mix of housing types and tenures. With that in mind, Plasdŵr will be made up of distinct areas of individual character. Neighbourhoods nearer to the district centre will have a busier feel, with apartments and townhouses, while other areas will feel more rural. In addition, approximately 30% of the homes at Plasdŵr will be classed as affordable housing.”
8. Built to impress
“Finally, we want to create inviting, memorable entrances and build beautiful, distinctive homes that stand the test of time.
“The starting point of any well-designed place is the home and how this meets the needs of residents. Once we’ve decided how that should look, we design our places around it. Our residents have the home they want and a place where they can feel safe and happy, where they can enjoy the green spaces, landscaping, footpaths and cycle ways, proximity to schools, shops and other destinations. Our vision for Plasdŵr is somewhere people can live, learn, work and play and live their lives fully.”