- From Garden Cities to New Towns - an Integrative Movement   click here to open paper content302 kb
by    Gossop, Chris | chris.gossop@pins.gsi.gov.uk   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
From Letchworth to Milton Keynes, Britain's new towns are a key part of planning history. This paper explores their legacy. It also looks at the ways in which the new town idea has been taken forward, including plans for more new settlements.
Through their foundation in the form of the two garden cities of Letchworth and Welwyn, the British new towns are now a well established part of planning history. It is perhaps surprising, though, to realise that the last and biggest of these places, Milton Keynes, was designated 40 years ago, and that the legislation behind them has not been used since. So are the new towns just history or do they have a continuing relevance?

This paper attempts to trace the main lessons that have been learned from this massive investment. Did the new towns deliver Ebenezer Howard's vision set out in 'Garden Cities of Tomorrow' and the wider regional development aims of Government? Or were they just an experiment that has had its time? What has been their legacy?

The paper concentrates first upon the record of the new towns in socio-economic terms. Have they become successful places in which to live and work? Has Howard's inclusive vision been realised or has the widespread social polarisation of established areas merely been transplanted into the new towns?

It then explores the ways in which the new town idea has been taken forward. After decades in the wilderness, the regional planning - of which the new towns were a product - is once more a priority. In the southeast of England, four major growth areas are being pursued through a range of mechanisms. One of these will involve a doubling in the size of Milton Keynes which will house some 350,000 people by 2031.

Finally, the paper will describe how some further new settlements are now emerging. What do these tell us about the continuing relevance of new towns as an integrative planning mechanism?
New towns
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