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The building for life tool is a very useful tool to establish the sustainability of neighbourhood design, by breaking down places by 12 different design principles, we can establish what works and what doesn’t and find out what makes for good place design and what makes for bad design. The marking system of this follows a very simple traffic light system, with green being good, amber being average and red being bad.


  • 0.5 Miles to North Shields Metro.
  • Strong connection to the existing road infrastructure.
  • Less than a mile to North Shields ferry.
Fig 1. Authors Own

Facilities and services

  • 0.9 Miles to nearest primary school.
  • 0.5 Miles to North Shields town centre.
  • Not many facilities in walking distance.
Fig 2. Authors Own. Map Supplied by Google Maps

Public transport

  • 0.5 Miles to North Shields Metro.
  • Many bus links around the site.
  • Less than a mile to North Shields ferry.
    Fig 3. Authors Own. Map Supplied by Google Maps

Meeting local housing requirements

Strong diversity in building forms:

  • Fab Houses – 3 bed houses.
  • Town House – 3 Storey houses, modifiable wall partitions.
  • Smokehouse – 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.
Fig 4. Taken from Urban Splash


  • Diversity in character across the site.
  • Not locally suitable or inspired.
Fig 5. Authors Own

Working with the site and its context

  • Buildings utilise the waterfront views apart from the fab houses which are blocked from this view.
  • Town houses curve naturally across the site.
Fig 6. Authors Own

Creating well defined streets and spaces

  • Streets define themselves by creating a self-contained space within a triangle on the site.
  • Well-structured circulation across the site.
Fig 7. Authors Own

Easy to Find your way around

  • Simple layout makes it simple to navigate.
  • The 3 different building types are unique making it easy to identify where you are.
    Fig 8. Authors Own

Streets for all

  • Very poor green space, with the only green space in the site being surrounded by roads.
    Fig 9. Authors Own

Car Parking

  • Private parking for each house.
Fig 10. Authors Own

Public and private spaces

  • Very poorly defined public space, with little landscape design to support public use.
  • Private gardens not visible from the public eye.

External storage and amenity space

  • Fab and Town houses offer outside wooden bin storage.
  • Smokehouses offer underground bins and also cycle storage.



In conclusion Smiths dock is a strong place with many strong features to create a sustainable community, however finds itself lacking in some regards especially in its relation to public and private spaces, and creating streets for everyone. Which could potentially lead to the place feeling isolated and disconnected from the surrounding areas, despite supporting good connections to the surrounding area and good consideration for the context.


[1] Building for Life 12. (2018). [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 28 Feb. 2020].

[2] Smith’s Dock. (n.d.). About Smith’s Dock | Smith’s Dock. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Feb. 2020].

[3] Urban Splash. (n.d.). Smith’s Dock | Urban Splash. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 March. 2020].

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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