Re: Re: Matt Cooper: Developers get rich, buyers get shoddy homes in Nowheresville
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Family-friendly apartment norms published
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor
Guidelines aimed at ensuring that the design and layout of new apartments will provide better living spaces for a variety of households, including families with children, were published yesterday by Minister for the Environment Dick Roche.
The draft Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for Apartments lay down minimum standards for floor areas, storage space, balconies, patios and even the dimensions of certain rooms.
To make apartment living more family-friendly, the guidelines specify that no more than 10-15 per cent of any scheme of 20 or more apartments should be of the one-bedroom type, other than in exceptional cases such as student accommodation. They are to be supplemented by new planning guidelines on sustainable urban housing, which will incorporate a revision of the 1999 residential density guidelines, as well as a “best practice” handbook on urban design and housing layouts.
The Minister said this guidance was needed to promote more compact urban design and better integration between residential development and physical and social infrastructure, with “the overriding aim of building sustainable communities”.
Pending finalisation of the apartment design guidelines, which are open for public consultation until March 5th, local authorities and An Bord PleanÃ¡la are being required to “have regard to them” under Section 28 of the 2000 Planning Act.
The draft guidelines are intended to replace the minimum standards for apartment schemes laid down by the Department of the Environment in 1995, after complaints that too many of the apartments being built in Dublin were “shoebox-sized”.
The latest standards are devised by a research study carried out for the department by Toal Ã“ Muire, an architect with wide experience of new residential developments and former president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.
This study recommended an increase in minimum floor areas for apartments, particularly to cater for families.
As a general rule, the guidelines say, all apartments with two or more bedrooms should be designed with the needs of children in mind.
“The recreational needs of children need to be planned for from the outset. Experience in Ireland and elsewhere has shown that children will play everywhere; therefore, as far as possible, their safety needs to be taken into consideration.”
This would include the private open space associated with individual apartments, small play spaces for toddlers with suitable play equipment and seating for parents/guardians, and larger play areas for older children and young teenagers.
Minimum overall floor areas have been increased significantly on the standards laid down in 1995, from 38 to 45 square metres for one-bedroom apartments, 55 to 63 square metres for two bedrooms and 70 to 86 square metres for three bedrooms.
Â© The Irish Times – January 10, 2007
No more than 10-15 per cent of any scheme of 20 or more apartments should be of the one-bedroom type? Wow! We’ve come a long way since Bachelor’s Walk & 90% one-beds.