New inquiry to examine role of design and built environment in affecting behaviour change

  • Design Commission inquiry to investigate future of planning policy
  • Lord Richard Rogers to launch new inquiry in Parliament, June 8th
  • Call for evidence issued

A new parliamentary-led inquiry will be launched today to investigate how greater use of design techniques in the planning and construction of the UK’s built environment may help foster positive behaviour change in local communities.

The eight-month inquiry is being conducted by the Design Commission, a cross-party group of parliamentarians and leading representatives from business, industry and the public sector. It will be chaired by Baroness Whitaker and Professor Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London.

The Commission believes that in designing and constructing the environments in which people live and work, architects and planners are necessarily involved in influencing human behaviour. The inquiry, to be launched in Parliament by Lord Richard Rogers on Monday 8th June, will seek to discover and showcase case studies and best practice examples of how infrastructure can be used to design for ‘good’ behaviours and how design-led planning policy can create environments in which individuals and communities thrive.

The inquiry’s final report will be launched in late 2015 and will make a series of key recommendations designed to stimulate new thinking in planning policy across central and local government.

The Commission – the research-driven sister group to the All Party Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group – has issued a call for evidence, calling for insights on the relationship between behaviour and the built environment, as well as case studies of how behavioural change has been brought about through changes to local infrastructure.

The Commission argues there exists a long-standing thread of recognition that the way people live their lives is directly linked to the designed environments in which they live. While welcoming recent government use of nudge theory principles in policy making decisions, the Commission identifies a need to further develop and reinvigorate thinking in the field.