Good Design: How do you measure it?

Logo of the Urban Design Conference.Good design means different things to different people, so how can you measure or evaluate it? As Trivess Moore says, “Poor design – an absence of ‘good’ design – locks in owners, the local community and cities to substandard urban environments, often for considerable time periods.” Moore believes that arguments for the value of good design are too easily dismissed because we lack a rigorous evidence base. Maybe this is one of the reasons the principles of universal design and notions of public good are ignored. An interesting argument in this paper to which the principles of universal design could be added. While written in 2014, it has relevance to the upcoming RIS on Accessible Housing.

The paper was published in 7th International Urban Design Conference 2014 and is titled, Valuing form and function: Perspectives from practitioners about the costs and benefits of good apartment design. It’s on page 73.

Abstract: Methods for placing values on good design are under-researched in Australia. Without a rigorous evidence base, costs are anticipated and benefits unrecognised. This paper presents an overview of the current state of the value of good design research for the built environment, and reports upon a series of interviews with experienced building industry stakeholders in Australia and the UK. The research finds that while the benefits of good design are recognised by building practitioners, these are not being consistently translated into exchange value and are therefore not being picked up in mainstreaming best practice. In order to raise the quality of design there is a need to develop ways to measure and articulate these benefits to housing producers and consumers.