Well-Designed Outdoor Spaces are Good for Health

Freshford Mill | 6 June 2016 |

A recent report from RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) has confirmed what we at Environ have long believed: well-designed outdoor spaces not only increase the happiness of residents, but also the value of their homes. The RICS study talks about the importance of ‘placemaking’ in architecture and planning. The term placemaking refers to factors which help create a good living space, such as a concept of neighbourhood, along with features like street layout ...

… tree planting and communal spaces. Developments with good placemaking feel organic and individual, and take the local community and location into consideration, rather than being generic in design.

Environ Communities always try to find space for a community garden, as research has proved that a connection to nature can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of wellbeing and belonging. We have been incorporating community spaces within our developments since the 1990s and have witnessed our residents gaining much pleasure, pride and enjoyment from such gardens, helping to develop a community spirit and identity.

The RICS study examined a number housing schemes in England that have created entirely new places with their own, unique sense of identity. One of these was Kings Hill in Kent, home to our development Oaks Hamlet – a selection of family homes, all of which are now sold. The research found that strong placemaking can lead to substantial house price premiums, anything between 20 – 50% over the normal price for new builds!

We’re now using some of the same placemaking principles that made our development on Kings Hill a success at a new scheme in Somerset. Environ is transforming the historical Freshford Mill, into a development of 21 homes, which will include plenty of well-designed outside space.

Not only are there allotments for veggie growing, but also there are wildflower meadows, a butterfly garden, a nature reserve, riverside walks, and a lake with paths and seating areas. Our properties at Freshford range from 2 bedroom apartments through to large 5 bedroom family houses offering homes to all ages, from young families through to the more elderly retired, just as would be found in any existing village.

Even sitting watching plants move in the breeze or birds fly helps to reduce stress, and such areas create a relaxed ambience in which to meet neighbours on new residential developments, regardless of age and background. Hopefully neighbours at Freshford Mill will picnic or hold a communal BBQ – a great way to make new friends!
If you have any queries please contact Sarah Smith, Environ Sales Manager: 01732 848316 or sarah@environcommunities.com