Visions, Strategies & Masterplans
Projects by service
RESEARCH FOR THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE COMMISSION
Supporting the Design Task Force in their objective to put designat the heart of the country’s future infrastructure planning
Design and Infrastructure - Sector Review of Attitudes, 2018Developing Design Principles for National Infrastructure, 2018
National Infrastructure Commission, Design Task Force
The Design Task Force has set out a broad definition for design that includes: thinking creatively about the process inherent to providing infrastructure; problem-solving at the outset of the project; ensuring infrastructure is human scale and user friendly; and enhancing the environment and quality of life for local communities to ensure quality design in major infrastructure.
Publica was commissioned to undertake two research studies: a targeted sector review of the current attitudes and perceptions towards design in infrastructure planning and delivery, and the scoping and development of an approach to the first ever design principles for national infrastructure. These studies formed part of the evidence base for the Design Task Force’s contribution to the first ever National Infrastructure Assessment.
Design and Infrastructure - Sector Review of Attitudes
The Design Task Force’s early analysis identified four perceived barriers to quality infrastructure design: a lack of champions in the way projects are governed; a lacuna in design knowledge among those running infrastructure projects; a failure to embed design in the day-to-day working practices of those responsible for programme delivery; and a deep-seated perception that good design adds cost and poses risk to delivering projects on time and on budget.
Publica carried out a sector review of attitudes to verify the Design Task Force’s early analysis of existing barriers to the quality of infrastructure design and to identify additional barriers as well as opportunities for new approaches.
The study focused on gaining insights from a broad cross section of non-design professionals within the infrastructure sector, including CEOs, directors, project managers, and engineers. A series of detailed one-to-one interviews were conducted alongside the design, dissemination and analysis of a survey, providing a mix of quantitative and qualitative findings.
Publica’s research findings confirmed the Design Task Force’s early analysis of the key barriers to improving the quality of infrastructure design and identified five additional challenges: multiple conflicting perspectives over the role of design in infrastructure and who should deliver it; cultural barriers between disciplines; a lack of infrastructure delivery experience among design teams; poor project briefs and short-sighted planning; and inflexible planning policies.
Publica also identified seven opportunities for new approaches. These opportunities include expanding the definition of design to include designing for the full lifecycle; setting holistic design visions and principles based on clear outcomes and a long-term view; appointing design panels and/or senior design champions; learning from best practice across the sector; making design an integral part of enabling solutions; building greater flexibility into the infrastructure planning consent system and infrastructure planning process; and increasing trust and respect across disciplines.
Read the full report here.
Developing Design Principles for National Infrastructure
The Design Task Force has identified the need to provide design principles for national infrastructure – a benchmark for all national infrastructure projects. Publica produced a scoping report that sets out a rationale for and an approach to the first design principles for national infrastructure, and how they should be developed.
The findings from this report are the result of a research methodology that included desk-based research, sector interviews and a workshop with design and infrastructure professionals, including members of the NIC’s Young Professionals panel. Eight semi-structured interviews were carried out with stakeholders working in design in infrastructure at a senior level to inform the scope and development of principles. Existing examples of international, national and regional infrastructure design principles were also identified to understand how a programme for the development of national infrastructure design principles could be set out.
Based on a thorough analysis of the findings of the research, the report sets out a summary of recommendations for ensuring quality design in future major infrastructure and next steps for developing design principles. The report is being taken forward following publication of the National Infrastructure Assessment with design principles expected to be developed for publication in 2019.
Read the full report here.