The Efficacy of Rural Design Guides in Northern Ireland, with comparisons in Ireland and Scotland

Roisin McAllister

Author’s analysis – Sustainability

The design of rural dwellings, arguably since the bungalow bliss (or ‘blitz’) era has been the subject of persisting criticism. In attempt to redress concerns and improve design standards, the publication of Rural Design Guides by planning authorities ensued. Over 20 Rural Design Guides exist with their remit extending to over 70% of the island of Ireland. They are endorsed by planning officials to aid design and inform the assessment of proposals.

Despite their first introduction over four decades ago, to date a comprehensive evaluation of their effectiveness and contribution to design quality has not been carried out. This research aims to address this gap by examining the efficacy of Rural Design Guides in Northern Ireland, with Ireland and Scotland as regiosn for comparison.

This research is considered both necessary and timely, particularly in anticipation of further design guidance to be introduced by Councils through the new Local Development Plans.

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