Those involved in the design and planning of a new community are taking part in perhaps the most exciting yet challenging place-making endeavour. The Garden City approach provides an opportunity to create innovative, resilient and inclusive places that will stand the test of time. Planning at scale offers the chance to think holistically about how a place will work, and to understand what mechanisms need to be put in place to help turn an ambitious vision into a real place. The term ‘Garden City’ carries with it not just an opportunity but also a responsibility to create exemplar, world-class new communities.
The emphasis on design quality and wellbeing that underpinned the Garden City movement stands in stark contrast to the unimaginative standard housing types and poor-quality design that characterises many modern homes – which are also, on average, the smallest in Europe. Too often new developments are designed without any consideration of the character or vernacular of the locality, resorting to standard house types and street layouts which both encourage car use and result in ‘anywhereville’. This local insensitivity and lack of innovation has contributed to the negative perceptions of development in general, which in turn contribute to public resistance to many new housing developments.
New Garden Cities are unlikely to look like the originals at Letchworth or Welwyn; they should reflect their local context. But the principles underpinning the Garden City idea provide a useful framework for councils and delivery partners today. This Practical Guide brings together elements and standards set out in the other guides in this series. It is not a blueprint or detailed design guide for a new Garden City, but highlights the opportunities open to councils and delivery partners.
Published in 2017, this Practical Guide brings together elements and standards set out in the other guides in this series. It is not a blueprint or detailed design guide for a new Garden City, but highlights the opportunities open to councils and delivery partners.
This Practical Guide offers the following key messages:
- There are specific design opportunities and challenges when planning at scale, and each site is unique. The Garden City principles are an indivisible and interlocking framework for creating new places in this context. They should not be used as a blueprint but should be applied in a pioneering spirit of innovation and collaboration.
- Despite a confused policy environment, it is possible for councils to set high standards and increase expectations of quality in new Garden Cities and to create places to be proud of.
- A masterplan should be used as a flexible strategic framework on which a new community can grow over time.
- It is essential to invest in the right team with the right skills from across the disciplines to create exemplar new communities. A holistic approach and a long-term view are the keys to success.