Monday, 17 October 2016

Green cities, garden cities @ Radio 4

Two years ago, the idea of the 'garden city' resurfaced:
Futures Forum: Garden cities and greenfield sites

And earlier this year, we had the 'garden town' and 'garden village' concepts:
Futures Forum: Locally-led garden towns and villages

Meanwhile, we have had the 'first garden city' for a hundred years:
Ebbsfleet: Britain’s first new garden city - Telegraph
UK's first garden city in 100 years at Ebbsfleet in Kent 'scrapped' | Daily Mail Online

And another town is being rebranded:
Bicester chosen as new garden city with 13,000 homes - BBC News
Bicester is angry Cameron and Clegg want to turn it into a garden city | The Independent
Britain’s first garden town: housing crisis solution or 'dog's breakfast'? | Cities | The Guardian

Meanwhile, there is East Devon's experiment:
Cranbrook a good example of housing investment says Government | Western Morning News
Garden city will double the size of Exeter, claims leading economist | North Devon Journal
Government offers support for locally-led garden cities - Press releases - GOV.UK
​Garden Cities: a panacea for the housing crisis? | Design Council

Which this blog has looked at:
Futures Forum: Cranbrook: What's the difference between a housing estate and an eco newtown?
Futures Forum: Cranbrook: where's the 'good design'?
Futures Forum: Cranbrook: an 'eco-town' no more

This evening, Radio 4 looked at the phenomenon:

Green cities built of bricks and mortar

Historian Dan Cruickshank discovers whether the governments proposed new Garden Cities programme - hailed as an idyllic alternative to generic commuter towns - is the answer to our housing crisis or a toxic blight on lifestyle and landscape.

Pioneered in Letchworth, Hertfordshire by Ebenezer Howard in 1898, garden cities were originally imagined as a philosophy as much as a plan for urban development.

Initially aimed at addressing the problems of an increasingly urban and dysfunctional society and offering an antidote to an overcrowded and polluted Victorian London, Howard's dream was to create "planned, self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture with a cluster of nearby cities linked by road and rail".

His vision of the way people should live - by combining the best aspects of both cities and the countryside - gave birth to the Garden City Movement which set the standards and principles of housing for the 20th century.

He interviewed Katie Locke of the Town and Country Planning Association, who are very keen on the idea:
Town and Country Planning Association | Garden City Principles

The TCPA is very keen, though, that these be 'genuinely affordable' garden cities, which means tackling the issue of 'capturing Land Value', to 'give people a stake in the profits of development':
Value capture - Wikipedia
Futures Forum: A solution to our housing problems >>> a land value tax ... rather than gentrification

Finally, Dan interviewed John Davis who presents lessons from the United States: - and the Community Land Trust model: 
Futures Forum: A solution to our housing problems: community land trusts in Devon
Futures Forum: Community Land Trusts and affordable housing: part two: taking control

John Davis believes that any such development has to be both equitable and sustainable: he was involved in the Burlington project in the States:
Bernie Sanders made Burlington’s land trust possible. It’s still an innovative and effective model of affordable housing today.
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: ideas for 'mixed use' projects >>> >>> Burlington's Lake Champlain

His three principles for a Garden City are:
> You don't have to start with 5,000 acres of land: you can weave Garden City principles into the existing urban fabric.
> It's very important to involve people from the community from the beginning.
> You have to think about the affordability of the buildings.

BBC Radio 4 - Green Cities from Bricks and Mortar

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