PLACE LOGIC: New Knowledge Transfer Partnership between ADAM Architecture and University of Strathclyde to develop software to assess walkability
PLACE LOGIC, branded and developed by ADAM Architecture, is the data driven design resource that utilises digital tools to ensure that development projects of all scales deliver social, economic and environmental value. ADAM Architecture has set up a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Urban Design Studies Unit (UDSU) of the University of Strathclyde to develop a powerful new digital tool for PLACE LOGIC to assess walkability.
The venture is supported by funding from Innovate UK.
Existing walkability tools focus exclusively upon pedestrian access to commerce, amenities and services. But the new PLACE LOGIC walkability tool will consider in addition the ‘softer’ elements of streetscapes that affect their desirability and use, such as greenery, street enclosure, building density, and the scale and character of building facades.
Hugh Petter, Director of ADAM Architecture and practice lead of the PLACE LOGIC Walkability KTP project says:
The direct relationship between walkability, active travel and good physical and mental health is well recognised. But, paradoxically, nearly all housing post-war has prioritised car dependence at the cost of walkability, so bad habits are severely entrenched. Vigorous, urgent action is required to start the long process of reverting to more sustainable patterns of living. The announcement in June this year (2023) that the UK Government’s Active Travel England will become a statutory consultee for all development projects over 150 homes, 7500sqm of floorspace, or with a site are in excess of 5 hectares, demonstrates the urgent need to reconsider radically the ways in which we design our urban places.
Everyone focuses on low carbon buildings but no-one really talks properly about the creation of new low carbon places. Over time buildings will come and go, but the places we create will endure so it is absolutely imperative that we get it right first time. The PLACE LOGIC Walkability tool is ideally well suited to play a useful part in this vital work on both development and regeneration sites of all sizes.
Since the turn of the millennium there has been sustained interest in a placemaking agenda that promotes density, diversity, walkability and social interaction. But, according to a 2019 study undertaken by Place Alliance, just 30% to 40% of homes had “good” or “very good’ access to public transport and community facilities, pedestrian and cycle friendliness, and connectivity with and to surrounding developments. Once alerted to the fact that significantly more needs to be done, The UK Government set up the executive agency Active Travel England in 2020 to provide support, training and technical expertise to local authorities.
Professor Sergio Porta, Director of the Urban Design Studies Unit at the University of Strathclyde, says:
I am delighted to start this important new project with ADAM Architecture after our previous engagement a decade ago, which paved the way to PLACE LOGIC. The continuity of our collaboration over the years makes me particularly proud, in that it witnesses the enduring impact that our research has upon industry, policies and practices. This new project stresses the nature of the pedestrian as an inherently social and emotional being, with due consideration of the wider tangible and intangible elements of the environment that play a role in shaping our navigation choices when we move around on foot.
Robbie Kerr, a fellow director of ADAM Architecture who is also actively involved with PLACE LOGIC, adds:
We are delighted to be able to reinforce our long standing relationship with the excellent team at the University of Strathclyde led by Prof Sergio Porta. Working closely together, our new Walkability tool will play a key part in helping to transform our ability to deliver more sustainable development in the face of the daunting climate change challenge whilst improving our future health and wellbeing.