Sam Davies

What can we learn from the Southern Fringe (2): Community

Why without adequate provision of social spaces to bring together people, it is extraordinarily difficult to build any kind of social capital and resilience in the neighbourhood

Following on from my last post about what lessons regarding transport should be learned from the Southern Fringe survey, today I’m turning my attention to community.

When planners and developers talk about promoting sustainable development, they are supposed to give equal weight to all three pillars of sustainability – the economic, the environmental and the social – but all too often, even when the economic and environmental boxes are ticked on a project, the social dimension is treated as an afterthought. The Cambridgeshire Insight survey examined a wide range of aspects relevant to the health and resilience of this new community of over 3000 dwellings (say 7000 people) created across four green belt sites, all on the very edge of Cambridge.

There is too much detail to do justice to in one post, but it seems timely to pick out some headlines, given a swathe of alarmist headlines related to life on the development over the last year:

Hunt for gang of youths targeting the guided busway

Trumpington called ‘dumping ground for problem families’

Trumpington parents want a private security guard

Let’s start by looking at how long the respondents to the survey say they have lived on the site and how long they intend to stay. As you would guess, this is a very new community – 12% of respondents have lived at their current address for less than one year, 48% of respondents for between one and three years. But just as importantly in terms of community building, this is also a mobile population – just over 30% of respondents intend to move on within the next three years.

The survey also looked at tenure types, which vary considerably across the four sites; and at levels of occupant satisfaction with the local area as a place to live. Across the whole Southern Fringe, occupants in the private rented and social rented sectors reported being more dissatisfied than the owner occupiers and occupants with intermediate tenure (eg shared ownership); but the social rented sector also had the highest proportion of respondents who are very satisfied with the local area as a place to live

Sam Davies

1 comment

  • I see you have two photos at the this post showing the estate where I live of Ninewells. It’s a lovely place just not fantastically designed in my opinion. Your photos emphasise this.
    The down side is the lack of parking. I know that the idea is everyone gets out of their cars and use public transport or bikes but this is easy for everyone.
    The parking is restricted now and others on the estate are trying to get the “free” parking time restricted too!
    I’m against this. I had two friends come to visit me the other day during the day (I don’t work on Monday and Tuesday) they were coming for lunch and would be there longer than two hours. The answer… They met at park and ride, left one car there and came in one car. Because we have one permit and limited visitor spaces. The spaces we do have aren’t designed well and people can’t park too well. Some spaces are designed for 3 cars but rarely are 3 in because its not quite big enough or the kerbs are so high opposite you can’t get the swing to get in to the space.
    So ultimately people park in ways which are not allowed as shown in pictures above.
    It’s hard work. Part of me wishes I could move but my kids are happy with friends so I won’t uproot them again.
    Just wanted to give another point of view