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Garden Cities

Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today

Over the past four years the TCPA has been leading a campaign for a new generation of Garden Cities as part of a portfolio of solutions to meet the nation’s housing needs. The creation of 21st Century Garden Cities should supplement the continuing task of urban regeneration and renewal of older towns (which may, in part, involve the creation of Garden Suburbs which borrow from Garden City ideals). 

Over the last century the garden city ideals have proven to be outstandingly durable. Today, we still face the primary challenges confronted by Howard and his followers: meeting our housing shortage, generating jobs and creating beautiful and inclusive places. However, we have also the new challenges of globalised markets and the urgent need to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

New settlements provide the opportunity and the economies of scale to truly fulfill the ambitions of sustainable development  by delivering multiple benefits including social housing, zero carbon design, sustainable transport and local food sourcing. New communities also offer a powerful prospect to put in place new governance structures that put people at the heart of developing new communities and owning community assets.

The TCPA has produced a number of documents as part of its a re-invigorated campaign in support of a new generation of beautiful, inclusive and sustainable Garden Cities and Suburbs. The suite of documents listed to the left of this page sets out the practical actions needed to make 21st century Garden Cities and Suburbs a reality and provide detail and case studies on a wide range of key issues, including planning, investment, land assembly, delivery, and longterm stewardship

Garden City Principles

The Garden Cities were underpinned by a famously strong vision developed by the TCPA’s founder, Ebenezer Howard, who in his seminal text of 1898, To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, described how ’the advantages of the most energetic and active town life, with all the beauty and delight of the country, may be secured in perfect combination’.

The Garden City principles are a distillation of the key elements that have made the Garden City model of development so successful, articulated for a 21st century context. Modern Garden Cities should be predicated on a fusion of the very high social and environmental standards of Gardens Cities with the highly effective delivery mechanisms of the post-war New Towns, combining the best of both approaches and learning the lessons of what has worked in the past and what has not.

A Garden City is a holistically planned new settlement which enhances the natural environment and offers high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible work in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities. The Garden City principles are an indivisible and interlocking framework for their delivery, and include:

  • land value capture for the benefit of the community;
  • strong vision, leadership and community engagement;
  • community ownership of land and long-term stewardship of assets;
  • mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are affordable for ordinary people;
  • a strong local jobs offer in the Garden City itself, with a variety of employment opportunities within easy commuting distance of homes;
  • Beautifully and imaginatively designed homes with gardens, combining the very best of town and country living to create healthy homes in vibrant communities;
  • generous green space linked to the wider natural environment, including a surrounding belt of countryside to prevent sprawl, well connected and biodiversity rich public parks, and  a mix of public and private networks of well managed, high-quality gardens, tree-lined streets and open spaces;
  • opportunities for residents to grow their own food, including generous allotments;
  • strong local cultural, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable neighbourhoods; and
  • integrated and accessible transport systems – with a series of settlements linked by rapid transport providing a full range of employment opportunities (as set out in Howard’s vision of the ‘Social City’).

Download further details on the Garden City Principles here.

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