Realising the economic viability and effectiveness of a design.




The overarching theme that always comes into mind when determining a design for an area is the economic viability and effectiveness of the proposal. Throughout various lectures, in particular the economics lecture, it was reiterated that a design and proposal has to be believable. In my opinion, to fully understand what is needed in the area is going out and speaking to local people. They will know exactly what they would like. Sometimes this is not what we as designers have in mind, however their knowledge can help adapt a design to meet their needs and having a compromise between our design and what they need. By incorporating this knowledge into a design, it can achieve a base plan. However, there are issues that need to be overcome, in order for the design to be economically viable certain factors need to be overcome.


Following from the lecture by Aiden Oswell (6/10/2014), he made it apparent that understanding the economics of a design can help is understand the worth of things and the economic analysis focuses on value. If the design does not meet the community needs, not economically viably and does not represent value, the final development will not be a success. The success of a development is apparent in the work by Vandell and Lane (1989), they highlight that the design needs to be sound so that it can be viable. Furthermore, they say that a good design will reduce vacancies, because if a development is always vacant it is a failure. This relates back to the engagement with the community, if a design and development does not meet their needs, is not within the price range, the development will be vacant.


The economic effectiveness and viability is something that had to be thought about within our South Shields project. It is possible to come up with the wildest and best looking design, but if it is not economically viable it will be a bad design. It needs to be realistic and actually have the potential to work in a place like South Shields. If the design that has been proposed costs to use, how much does it cost? Will it be within the price range for residents? Will it be something people are willing to spend money on? All of these factors need to be taken into consideration.


To conclude, using the lecture from Aiden Oswell and the literature within this text, it is clear that a good design needs to have a large emphasis on economics. It also needs to meet the residents’ needs. If the needs are met and the economics are sound, then that provides good foundations for the rest of the design to be finalised and for a development to be a success that provides value.



1) Oswell, A., 2014. Economics and Effective Urban Design. TCP: 8090 / 8091 Principles and Practice of Urban Design. [Lecture] 30/10/2104.

2) Vandell, K. D., and Lane, J. S., 1989. The Economics of Architecture and Urban Design: Some Preliminary Findings. Institute of Business and Economic Research. UC Berkeley: Fisher Centre for Real Estate and Urban Economics. Available at: <http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/4gt3951f> [Accessed 4th December 2014]


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One thought on “Realising the economic viability and effectiveness of a design.

  1. Hi Matt, this is great post. I would like to support your idea with some my opinion. I think that the study of social-economic is extremely necessary to provide a basis for the design of the scheme. Previously, my team always tries to create innovative and unique designs to revive South Shields but forget the economic viability of these designs. If we connect with the lectures of community engagement, the project is only possible after receiving the consent of the people, to meet their basic needs, what they are really need at that time, in case of South Shields, economic development is a prerequisite. So I think the first thing after the baseline analysis, we have to provide fundamental objectives, which can be developed in terms of economic, community and health in South Shield. Based on these objectives to develop and adjust the physical design will become more reasonable and appropriate.I expect the design for South Shields will be work well if we can meet their requirements.

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