Village design and distinctiveness

Authored by: Arthur Parkinson

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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The latter half of the twentieth century marked a shift away from traditional local forms of development in rural settings towards standardisation in development and design, and with limited cognisance of local needs and context. Typically regulated at scales above the local, these shifts have led to the erosion of local distinctiveness, reflecting a trend towards the homogeneity of both rural and urban places more generally. In response, attempts have been made to protect rural amenity in terms of attractiveness and specific local characteristics. However, a professional understanding of local distinctiveness can be quite different from that of the local public, particularly where issues around identity come into play, leading to different priorities and potential difficulties in delivery. This chapter introduces key concepts, issues and management approaches relating, firstly, to village design and distinctiveness generally and, secondly, to the Irish context more specifically. Thereafter, the chapter examines the second (and most recent) phase of the village design statement programme in Ireland (2009 onwards), and actual village design statements completed to provide an illustrative case study, exploring the ways in which local distinctiveness is represented. Finally, conclusions are drawn on implications for maintaining the local distinctiveness of villages, not only in Ireland, but internationally.

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