'Architecture's not just about building Shards,' says expert as parking research gets Minister's backing

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• University research could shape Government housing policy

• Study reveals inflexible parking on new estates leads to tension between neighbours

• Research recommends wider streets with room for on-street parking

housingestateGovernment policy on how future new housing estates should be designed could be shaped by leading research from the University of Sheffield.

The fraught issue of parking in new residential areas due to the advent of mass car ownership has led to the University ’s School of Architecture providing solutions with its Space to Park study, which was unveiled at a Parliamentary Launch this week.

Professor Flora Samuel, who attended yesterday’s launch in the capital, said: “Given the need for more housing in this country the research is extremely important and we were delighted that Housing Minister Kris Hopkins gave the study ringing endorsement.

“This project shows how architecture research skills can unravel knotty spatial problems at the heart of British life. Architecture is not just about building Shards.”

The Space to Park project analysed 402 developments built since 2000 and discovered that suburban housing estates actually have surplus parking spaces but the inflexible way parking is allocated creates problems with spaces unused by some households while neighbours park on pavements and verges, creating tension.

“Victorian streets with high levels of car ownership work better than most modern estates however housebuilders would struggle to sell a house without allocated parking,” explained Professor Samuel.

The study recommends houses are built with allocated spaces linked to the expected number of adults in the house and new estates are designed with wider streets to provide unallocated bays through on-street parking.

The Minister's endorsement provides important support to house builders and others who are trying to promote better parking strategies. The research will be further promoted by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The Space to Park research can be viewed in more detail via http://spacetopark.org/

The research is a collaboration between URBED and Edinburgh University as part of Sheffield University’s Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With nearly 25,000 of the brightest students from 117 countries coming to learn alongside 1,209 of the world’s best academics, it is clear why the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading universities. Staff and students at Sheffield are committed to helping discover and understand the causes of things - and propose solutions that have the power to transform the world we live in.

A member of the Russell Group, the University of Sheffield has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007), recognising the outstanding contribution by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

One of the markers of a leading university is the quality of its alumni and Sheffield boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students. Its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, Siemens, Yorkshire Water, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. The White Rose University Consortium (White Rose) is a strategic partnership between 3 of the UK's leading research universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. Since its creation in 1997 White Rose has secured more than £100M into the Universities.

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