In a new report ‘Living with Beauty – Promoting health, well-being and sustainable growth’ the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission (BBBBC) (link here) declares “Beauty is not an arbitrary addition to the builder’s aims but fundamental to promoting health, well-being and sustainable growth.
“Beauty, as Stendhal wrote, is a promise of happiness. We hope that, fifty years hence, more of our fellow citizens will be ‘living with beauty’ and that our labours will have played some small part in helping them do so. For if they are living with beauty, then they are to that extent enjoying good lives”
In this report the BBBBC propose a new development and planning framework, which will:
“Ask for Beauty Refuse Ugliness Promote Stewardship
Ask for Beauty – We do not see beauty as a cost, to be negotiated away once planning permission has been obtained. It is the benchmark that all new developments should meet. It includes everything that promotes a healthy and happy life, everything that makes a collection of buildings into a place, everything that turns anywhere into somewhere, and nowhere into home. So understood beauty should be an essential condition for the grant of planning permission.
Refuse Ugliness – People do not only want beauty in their surroundings. They are repelled by ugliness, which is a social cost that everyone is forced to bear. Ugliness means buildings that are unadaptable, unhealthy and unsightly, and which violate the context in which they are placed. Such buildings destroy the sense of place, undermine the spirit of community, and ensure that we are not at home in our world.
Promote Stewardship – Our built environment and our natural environment belong together. Both should be protected and enhanced for the long-term benefit of the communities that depend on them. Settlements should be renewed, regenerated and cared for, and we should end the scandal of left-behind places, where derelict buildings and vandalised public spaces drive people away. New developments should be regenerative, enhancing their environment and adding to the health, sustainability and biodiversity of their context. For too long now we have been exploiting and spoiling our country. The time has come to enhance and care for it instead. Our recommendations are designed to ensure that we pass on to future generations an inheritance at least as good as the one we have received.”