The Present State and Possible Future of the Built Environment

Published: 2021-09-14 10:45:09
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The built environment is a man-made, manufactured setting which is created by humans for humans in which we go about our everyday lifestyles; It’s created to provide the luxuries and necessities in which we all seek comfort. The natural environment is made up of both biotic and abiotic matter which is all naturally sourced from within that specific area, this has in no way been manipulated by the human species.
Due to modern day research there are many different characters that are involved in the process of altering the previously built and the natural environments. You have a range of factors that shape the environment into what it is today, this is known as PESTLE and each factor individually has profound influence in the development of today’s environments both individually and simultaneously.Politics and law are two of many interconnected factors in the built environment that play a key role in the major decision-making process of building propositions.
The government are a body of people with the highest power to whom everyone must go to with their prospective plans, the government then would abide by the law where they would give their verdict in accordance to the regulations and legislations put in place for the built environment. It’s the law that protects the natural environment from constant human activities, all whilst letting the built environment advance within strict guidelines that benefits the locals, these guidelines are enforced by the government which brings us back to politics.
In England and Wales the legal system is based on common law. There are two types of distinct laws, criminal law that deals with offences against the public that would anyway endanger or harm the public in any manner. Civil law is between two individuals, in which each are protected from one another with the use of legislation and common law and a court ruling made by the judge, the victim would be compensated under the law for any of their loses. In terms of environmental laws and legislations, these are enforced to protect and conserve the original beauty of the natural environment for future generations while also being flexible enough that it allows the built environment to flourish. Occasionally when the built and natural environment encounter one another, the main priority is that they are to enhance the beauty of one another to inevitably increasing how aesthetically pleasing each is in its form.
In London there is currently a housing crisis as the supply and demand balance isn’t at an equilibrium, this is simply since we are running out of land for construction projects to take place. To prevent excessive use of land the Green Belt Act of 1938 is enforced, this piece of legislation which inevitably means that no human interruptions to that piece of land are allowed and at any cost it is to remain the way it was found. Under this act you are also not permitted to sell any of the land without the consent of the secretary of state.
In the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) policies are clearly laid out for the built and natural environment for England and Wales, these are to be carried out best according to your circumstances, for example if you were to be making alterations to your residence you would need to put in a planning application and if approved can you go forth with your idea. In paragraph 89 of the NPPF it clearly states that ‘construction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt’ the only way to overcome this rule is to submit a design plan that offsets the cons of building within the green belt, the plan would need to correspondingly preserve the openness of the land. Each individual planning permission application would need to be accessed by the local authorities.
Green politics provide an alternative awareness for the UK that’s needed but not widely accepted; each governing body has their own manifesto and in certain governing bodies their environmental notions are quite strong for example the green party. Whom advertise themselves as people who ‘You can trust … to put the environment at the heart of everything’ they do. The green party is the most vocal about environmental issues and had they’ve won the 2017 elections they intended on creating a new Environmental Protection Act and would’ve gotten rid of all plans of new nuclear power plants which would’ve meant less of the finite resources would’ve been wasted. Instead we got the conservatives who inevitably plan to invest more of taxpayer’s money into lower emission buses this is money that the country doesn’t really have a lot of at the time with Brexit also taking place. They set the bar high by aiming for all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050 but they aren’t doing anything for the natural environment now instead they’re wanting to build more offshore wind farms, once again disrupting nature.
Next you have the economy, big projects only take place if they are deemed to be successful and to be financially sustainable. For bigger construction plans you would need investors that are willing to risk a great amount while capitalising in projects. A project close to home for me would be Meadowhall in Sheffield, the shopping centre was constructed in the 1990’s on a former steelwork.
Investors are always looking to increase their profit and in the circumstances of Meadowhall they are willing to put in an extra £300 million to make Meadowhall the fourth largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom by 2021, this would not only increase the economy of Sheffield, but it would create thousands of new jobs for the locals which would by adding to the local society; giving them something to do so they don’t have to move out of city. There are many theories that if Meadowhall wasn’t to unsuccessful as a shopping centre it was to be converted to a prison as the building planning resembles that of a prison with the central foyer and then the extending wings; and therefore, the money put into construction wouldn’t have gone to waste therefore not effecting the economy. Meadowhall serves the purpose of being a social place for not only local community but for people coming from out of town, up to 25 million people visit Meadowhall yearly and 1 in every 100 jobs is because of Meadowhall so not only have they helped the economy of Sheffield but also the society as the unemployment rate has shown a decrease. And if the plans for the £300 million extension is to be approved there will be even greater opportunities for people. As a resident of the area I have seen the development and the increase in business within the area for myself, in September 2017 the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA opened their 20th store in Sheffield just across from Meadowhall off the M1 junction 34. This improves the economy of Sheffield as they bring in 480 new jobs and a greater use of local transport to the area.
Around 71% of the planet consists of the natural environment the majority of this has not been touched my man-kind either due to restrictions or the fact that these areas are of more extreme conditions and therefore we tend not to go out as far. However, Interactions between the built and the natural environment are hastily increasing as the population of humanity increases. We are running out of suitable land to build homes to accommodate everyone, e.g. Dubai was once a desert now it’s a city that accommodates some of the richest people. As a race we are continuously consuming natural finite resources in excessive numbers without saving for future generations. People don’t want to fix the problem at hand instead they just want to continue moving forward and would rather just adjust to the problem to best survive it. However, attempts are being made to make the world a better place with the many regulations, regulations and policies carried out by the UK government for the environment to be beneficial for all current and future generations. for example, you have low carbon emission schemes set out throughout the country and there is ongoing research to find a more suitable source of power, so the finite materials can stop being used.
The future for built environment would be the further development in research for not only better materials and technologies but also for new ways of thinking that are provide us with a sustainable future while also restoring the natural beauty of Earth. Urban planning is important in the built environment as you know you’re going to be getting efficiency, sufficiency, and fairness throughout the construction process, not only for humans but also for the surrounding natural environment. It allows decisions to be made that aren’t unruly, those that aren’t always about capita that you’d be gain if you were to make a certain move, this way everyone would be playing by the same rules and regulations. Society have their needs and demands and as built environment professionals its our jobs to supply them with what’s required.

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