For 45 years, the Essex Design Guide (EDG) has pioneered local design, creating space for innovation and encouraging high-quality development. The EDG has always been about more than architecture; it’s about creating distinctive places that people want to live; it’s about building communities and making sure that the infrastructure and facilities are in place at the right time. Since the first iteration of the Guide it has gained both national and international recognition and today the Guide is still regarded as required reading for those responsible for designing new communities.

Essex is a county of many challenges. Increasing demand, high house prices and constrained land availability have led to some developments being completed at both high financial cost and the expense of quality. This is of great concern as it prevents the creation of high-quality, balanced communities for people to enjoy, live and work in. To support the 2018 review house builders, public sector, central government and third sector organisations who share our vision for quality have been engaged in a series of workshops and feedback sessions. All of them offered innovation and practical solutions around how we use the EDG to achieve our shared goals.

The 2018 iteration of the EDG is the culmination of 15 months’ work to create the UK’s first interactive web-based design tool that will receive ongoing updates to ensure the content remains contemporary and effectively responds to the challenges and opportunities for Essex . Through this update we have laid the foundations to ensure the EDG responds to these emerging challenges and opportunities incorporating new themes around Ageing Population, Digital and Smart Technology, Health and Wellbeing, Active Design and Garden Communities. It is our expectation that this review is the last significant update of the EDG with updates backed by a clear update process, owned by EPOA.

Whilst the EDG continues to be relevant to its core user base of town planners, urban designers and developers, the online content will support engagement with a greater user base including communities, politicians and the media. The aspiration is that through the Guide these individuals will be better informed about design, planning processes and the importance of quality, becoming advocates of the principles reflected in the EDG.

Page updated: 17/01/2018

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