Building Community

The Prince's Foundation

Built environment projects from The Prince's Foundation.

The Built Environment
At its heart, The Prince's Foundation exists to support people in creating communities, and The Prince of Wales believes the built environment has a key role to play in achieving that. The Prince's Foundation oversees projects to construct new, sustainable developments, both in the UK and abroad.

"In order to continue to prosper, any healthy city requires a built environment that provides good quality housing, the integration of nature and green spaces at its heart, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods, good public transport and an identity that fosters pride and a sense of belonging.

The most successful cities and the most popular neighbourhoods within those cities all share these qualities in abundance."

– The Prince of Wales, 2014

Good quality housing
A mix of good quality affordable and open market housing is key to The Prince's Foundation's vision for building positive, sustainable communities. As Shehnaz O'Mallie, a resident of The Prince's Foundation project Highbury Gardens, says: "I have friends who are in key worker housing, or similar schemes, but their houses are tiny, the flats are tiny, they're not aesthetically pleasing in the same way that Highbury Gardens is. It's obvious that a lot of thought has gone into it, and I do feel very grateful for that."
The integration of nature and green spaces
All Prince's Foundation projects prioritise access to nature and communal green spaces - like parks and community gardens - for residents to enjoy together. "You don't normally get that on new estates – they tend all to be boxed in and it's just roads, cars, houses," says one resident of Upton in Northampton. "It's good socially. If you come down in the evenings there's lots of people walking their dogs, there's children playing football. The youth club here on a Friday tends to overflow out onto the green areas as well, so lot's of people are using it. It's lovely."
Walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods, and good public transport
The Prince's Foundation projects challenge modern urban design trends, which have led to an increase in isolated neighbourhoods and out of town shopping centres. These increasingly force residents to rely on their cars. The Prince is passionate about creating walkable neighbourhoods, focused on the pedestrian, with a mix of residential and commercial properties, and good public transport links, so that residents can easily access local shops and attractions in a more eco-friendly way.

A resident on the Tregunnel Hill development said: "We live in the perfect location for our children to grow up in. It’s within walking distance of the kids’ schools, our work, and both the town-centre and the beach. When we first moved in, we had to pinch ourselves as we felt we were on holiday. I absolutely love the house and the large secure garden for the kids. It’s exceeded all our expectations and is exactly the lifestyle we wanted for our growing family."

An identity that fosters pride and a sense of belonging
"If local communities feel that newly built places look and feel like the best bits of where they live and call home then they can relate to that. It is familiar and what they love, and they will want to nurture and take care of it. For this reason, when we run community engagement events, we ask communities what they like about their place and record that in pattern books to influence the new design," said Ben Bolgar, Senior Director at The Prince's Foundation.
Nansledan is a 540-acre extension to the coastal town of Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall in South West England. The name is Cornish for ‘broad valley’. Over time Nansledan will evolve into a walkable community of more than 4,000 homes, supporting a similar number of jobs. It will include its own High Street, church, school and public spaces, helping to meet the future needs of Newquay in a complementary and sustainable way.

Explore Nansledan on Google Street View.

The evolution of Nansledan has been governed by 10 Principles of Development:

Any development will evolve through proactive and ongoing public consultation and participation.

A Masterplan to integrate a mix of public spaces, street types and building types.

The masterplan will address sustainability in its broadest sense.

The development will reflect local identity.

The use of local resources will be preferred.

The primary purpose of the development is to meet local needs.

The new development will forge a strong relationship with Newquary.

The aim will be to minimise or mitigate the environmental impact of the development.

As a diminishing resource, land must not be wasted.

The development will have commercial viability.

The local authority invited The Duchy of Cornwall to make a 50-year plan for Nansledan. This long term approach empowered the community to help shape the future of Nansledan. The Prince of Wales has always advocated that good planning depends upon community engagement.

Nansledan is being built in eight key phases or ‘quarters’. Each quarter will have its own character while clearly being part of the whole. The first phase is called Trewolek and was started in 2014. The second phase is called Kosti Veur and is now well underway.

Tregunnel Hill
Tregunnel Hill is a Duchy of Cornwall development on the edge of Newquay town centre, where many of the sustainability principles for Nansledan have been tested and proved. The 10-acre development of 174 dwellings includes 48 affordable homes and employment space to accommodate around 30 jobs.

Tregunnel Hill was designed by Hugh Petter of ADAM Architecture, and built by the consortium builders CG Fry & Son and Morrish Builders. It was completed in 2016 and to date 90% of the purchasers are local, many of them young families.

According to ADAM Architecture, the aspiration for Tregunnel Hill was: "to create an exemplary, dense, mixed use, sustainable development within this North Cornish coastal town that will, with Nansledan, also act as a catalyst to diversify and regenerate the area."

The development is designed to enhance quality of life, strengthen bonds of community and place, and give people a sense of pride in where they live.

The development mirrors Newquay’s established architectural style, incorporating key themes of the town and its location. The use of local materials and craftsmanship was also seen as vital to both the aesthetic and the local economy.

The site provides 174 homes, with 48 affordable units. There is no distinction between affordable and private housing – both are designed with the same external specification, which helps to create an inclusive community.

Small commercial units are provided at ground floor level within key buildings.

At the heart of the development, King Mark Square is a sheltered lawn area for picnics, informal play and games, which provides a community focal point.

The streets also feature edible planting, including trees that produce apples, pears, plums, nuts and cherries in line with the Duchy of Cornwall’s broader local food strategy.

Highbury Gardens
Highbury Gardens provides high density housing in a London architectural style. The building mixes affordable housing with open market housing, and provides a communal open green space for residents to use.

Highbury Gardens is a mixed-use scheme designed by world renowned architects, Porphyrios Associates.

The development blends traditional architecture with contemporary design and consists of 119 one, two and three bedroom homes, built around a new landscaped courtyard.

Highbury Gardens is in Islington's trendy Highbury & Islington area, offering access to great public transport, a fantastic array of bars, cafés and shops, as well as being on the doorstep of the much loved Highbury Fields.

In line with The Prince's vision, Highbury Gardens was designed to be a "lasting new place that marries the best of classical architecture and modern design".

As an attractive addition to London's Highbury area, Highbury Gardens merges the tradition of the Highbury Fields location with the buzz of nearby Upper Street.

Embracing elements from the past, it is a place which has a human scale and character. The Highbury Gardens design concept is focused on being a design for people, rather than simply another building.

The central, communal courtyard fulfils The Prince's vision of integrating green space. Described as: "a private sanctuary with trees, benches and flowers", the courtyard occupies in the enclosed space within the Highbury Gardens development.

Features include low-level planting, to provide privacy for ground floor apartments, and bench seating for residents to enjoy the green space throughout the year.

Highbury Gardens, seen from Holloway Road, on Google Street View.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital
The redevelopment of Alder Hey Children's Hospital was a Prince's Foundation project, in collaboration with the local NHS Trust, to demolish the old Victorian hospital building and reclaim it as parkland, creating the innovative new Alder Hey Children's Health Park. "The hospital was getting old, and we realised we couldn't keep it going," David Houghton, estates manager for Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, told The Guardian in 2013. "We had a park next door and wondered about using this space – initially the city council said 'go away, you're not using our park', as you would expect. But what grew from that was this idea of creating a children's health park."

Incorporating suggestions from children who were patients at the hospital, the final design came from a consortium comprising John Laing, Laing O'Rourke and Interserve, with architects BDP.

"We quite quickly recognised that not only did the design have to provide the best environment for the patients and their families, but it also needed to be identifiable and iconic", Peter Ward, John Laing's director of healthcare projects, told The Guardian.

The 270-bed children’s hospital features open space in wards, en-suite rooms, and views of the park and green landscaped areas for every child.

It also features a giant indoor tree-house, outdoor play decks featuring fish tanks on each of the seven wards, a relaxation garden, and interactive screens in patient waiting areas.

The tree-house gives an outdoor feel, whilst providing fun, and playful giant mobiles hanging from the hospital's ceiling make it feel less institutional.

"We wanted a hospital that felt so different to visiting a 'normal hospital', to look like a really exciting building, as well as integrating with a park in a way that no other hospital has ever done," Ward said.

"The first decision was to put all the 'hot' stuff – accident and emergency, surgery departments and so on, on the lower floors, leading into an atrium that forms the heart of the hospital, which is a big open space, full of visually interesting things for children like a tree-house and beams like the ribs of a dinosaur."

"Our new Alder Hey in the Park has been designed to meet the expectations of patients, who wanted to be looked after in a state-of-the-art facility that was fun, helped them recover quickly and, most importantly, didn’t look like a hospital," Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children's Hospital, told healthcare construction provider Laing O'Rourke.

Terraced gardens let light into the lower levels of the hospital, including operating theatres and recovery rooms.

Access to the garden is important for patients, families and staff, and there are many seating areas for everyone to enjoy the space.

Garden roof terraces and balconies are connected by overhead walkways.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital on Google Street View.

The Prince's Terrace, Adelaide
The Prince’s Terrace Adelaide was a collaboration between Defence Housing Australia, The Prince's Trust Australia, and the State Government’s Urban Renewal Authority (Renewal SA). The Terrace takes a classic Australian design and identity, and adapts it to meet contemporary expectations.

Located in the revitalised urban precinct of Bowden in South Australia, The Prince’s Terrace Adelaide provides 12 high-quality homes—a mix of eight terraced houses and four flats built as mews behind the terraces.

"It shows that you can take a small plot, get quite dense development on it, but that still offers a really great quality of life," says Dominic Richards, Trustee of Prince's Trust Australia.

"We've taken elements of traditional architecture, that respects Adelaide's heritage, and we've shown you can look at the past as well as the future."

"We had another property that's an 1820s townhouse. The doors on the townhouse were solid wood, and the doors here have that same feeling. I know it's only a door, but it looks like it has character, it looks like it's been here for a long time, but it's also very, very modern," says Terrace resident Sarah.

"We're both still relatively young, so we really enjoy the community atmosphere. You meet people that you wouldn't normally meet."

As the first residential project to receive a ‘6 Star Green Star’ design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, the Terrace encapsulates innovation and world leadership in sustainable design.

Homes on the development use 50 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less potable water than a typical urban townhouse, with a carbon footprint also reduced by more than 40 per cent when compared to a standard house.

This project demonstrates the benefit of well-located and sustainable living, with a vision to not only influence DHA’s future projects, but to become a benchmark for residential development in Australia.

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