Local Distinctiveness Rules

Fight for AUTHENTICITY and integrity. Keep places lived in, worked in and real.

Demand the BEST of the new.

Value the COMMON place. Our Cultural Landscapes are our ordinary history and everyday nature intertwined.

CHANGE things for the better. Not for the sake of it!!

Let the CHARACTER of the people and place express itself. Kill corporate identity before it kills our high streets. Give local shops precedence.

Defend DETAIL. Respond to the local and the vernacular. No new building or development need not be bland, boring or brash.

Local DIALECT should be spoken, heard and seen.

ENHANCE the natural features – rivers and brooks, hills and valleys, woods and heaths. Never let a stream be culverted: out of sight and open to abuse.

We need ENCHANTMENT, clear streams as well as clean water in our daily lives.





Take the place’s FINGERPRINT. Forget words such as resource, site, customers and the public. Abstractions lead us astray. Think and talk about places and people.

Get to know your GHOSTS. The hidden and unseen stories and legends are as important as the visible.

Don’t fossilize places. HISTORY is a continuing process, not just the past. Celebrate time, place and the seasons with Feasts and Festivals.

Our IMAGINATION needs diversity and variegation. We need standards not standardisation.

Work for local IDENTITY. Oppose monoculture in our fields, parks, gardens and buildings. Resist formulaic and automatic ordering from pattern books which homogenise and deplete.


JETTISON your car whenever you can and go by public transport. Places are for people and nature not cars. Cars can detach us from places and unwittingly allow their destruction.

Know your place. Facts and surveys are not the same as KNOWLEDGE and wisdom. Itinerant expertise needs to meet with aboriginal, place based knowledge so we can make the best of both worlds.

Buy things that are LOCALLY DISTINCTIVE and locally made – such as food and souvenirs. Resist the things that can be found anywhere.

The LAND is sacred in many cultures. Why have we put a protective noose around the spectacular and the special and left the rest? All of our surroundings are important to someone.

Places carry MEANING in their associations and symbolisms. Don’t plough through significance, it cannot be recreated. The well or tree maybe the reason why a place is where it is.

Bring the countryside to the town. Keep the fruit, vegetable and local produce MARKETS open and alive. We should be able to buy Norfolk Biffins in Norwich and James Grieves in Edinburgh.

NAMES carry resonances and secrets. Respect local names and add new ones with care. It is not good enough to call a new estate ‘Badger’s Mead’ when the badgers have been destroyed.

Let NATURE in. Encourage the plants that want to grow in your locality. You ‘ll find a succession of good and diverse neighbours that bring richness to your doorstep.

Champion the ORDINARY and everyday.

Get to know your place intimately. Search out PARTICULARITY & PATINA help add new layers of interest.

QUALITY cannot be quantified. You know when something is important to you – make subjective and emotional arguments. Don’t be put off because the professionals have marginalised all the things they can’t count. Make them listen and look.

REVEAL the geology. Use the brick and stone of the locality. Reinforce the colour, patterns, craftsmanship and work of the place.

REMEMBER the depth of people’s attachment to places. Do not undermine local pride and rootedness with insensitive change.

REVEAL the past! Decay is an important process. Don’t tidy things up so much that the layers of history and reclamation by nature are obliterated. Let continuity show.

Personality often resides in SUBTLETY and idiosyncrasy. Look closely and often. Get things in proportion and in SCALE. Every place has its own distinctive dimensions.

THWART the urbanization of the countryside. Fight the kerbstones and other roadside paraphernalia.

USE old buildings again. Find new functions for them. Accretion is better than demolition.

VALUE your own values! Democracy thrives on discussion about things that matter to us. Let the experts in on your terms.

Slowdown, wisdom comes through WALKING, talking and listening.

Exile XENOPHOBIA which fossilizes places and peoples. Welcome cultural diversity and vive la difference.

Make an alphabet of YOUR own place. Work to reinforce local distinctiveness. Play your part, celebrate your differences.

Y FILLTIR SGWAR – that place which you own through familiarity and which ‘owns’ you needs your vigilance.


Introduce ZEITGEIST to genius loci. Don’t let the signs of the times destroy the power of the place.

ZONING and segregation kill places! If industry is bad enough to be hidden should it exist at all?