Centre for Research through Design


Public Realm in Volume House Building: A Street Primer


About the Street Primer

This street primer is the result of a project led by researchers at Kingston University in collaboration with Satellite Architects entitled Making Place. It is one of three embedded projects within the AHRC-funded grant, Home Improvements awarded to the Universities of Sheffield, Edinburgh and Kingston.

The primer contains modest design proposals for improving the public realm in typical suburban volume housing developments in the UK. Public realm can be defined as any space not in individual ownership but for this primer we define it simply at those spaces either in front of or to the side of a house.

Our starting point for this primer was to understand and accept the methods and constraints under which volume house builders work. We carried out this research through case studies in the South Midlands and from working closely with Nick Rogers, UK Design Director at Taylor Wimpey. From this research we concluded that the business model, site planning methods and house designs may result in particular types of spaces in front of or to the side of a house such as the narrow privacy strip or the front garden. By accepting that these spatial conditions are the result of how the industry works our proposals are necessarily modest and easily achievable.


This primer is the result of significant work to understand how volume house building operates and how it uses information. The design of this document is meant to be readily accessible to that industry, useful for those who work with volume house builders and ultimately to improving the conditions we have identified.


Download the ebook here.