Over the past six years the TCPA has led a re-invigorated campaign for a new generation of beautiful, inclusive, and resilient new garden cities as part of a portfolio of solutions to address Britain's housing crisis. This has involved working cross-sector and at all levels of government to influence policy and legislation, raise awareness through guidance and training, and work with real places to explore the barriers, opportunities and practical solutions necessary to make new garden cities a reality. 

Why Garden Cities? 

Meeting the nation’s housing needs involves more than just delivering housing units – we need to create beautiful places which offer a wide range of employment opportunities (initially through the delivery of development, but in the long term through the promotion of lasting business growth); a complete mix of housing types, including social and affordable housing; zero-carbon design; sustainable transport; vibrant parks; and local food sourcing.

Comprehensively planned new Garden Cities and Suburbs can deliver all this, but they also provide a powerful opportunity to introduce governance structures that put people at the heart of new communities and give them ownership of community assets. Taken together, this approach provides a unique opportunity to encourage the emergence of more sustainable lifestyles.

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The case for new Garden Cities can be made in three parts:

  • Firstly, large-scale new communities are an important part of the portfolio of solutions that will be essential in tacking today’s acute housing shortage – a shortage which cannot be addressed exclusively on a plot-by-plot basis.
  • Secondly, well planned new communities provide an opportunity to create high-quality sustainable places, allowing for the highest sustainability standards, economies of scale, and better use of infrastructure. A holistic approach to designing new communities provides an opportunity to consider how homes and neighbourhoods can be made attractive places in which to live and work, in environments which are socially inclusive and resilient to climate change. In the words of Raymond Unwin, one of the Garden City pioneers, Garden Cities offer a ‘more harmonious combination of city and country, dwelling house and garden’ – the exact opposite of the ‘bolt-on estates’ so often seen today.
  • Thirdly, experience from the Garden Cities and New Towns shows that, properly managed and underwritten by the capture of land values, large-scale new developments can be good for business and society.

Garden City principles can be applied at a range of scales. For more on the benefits of different types of development see 'Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today - A Guide for Councils'

Making it happen: updating the New Towns Act

The most effective way to make new garden cities a reality is by combining the high ideals of the garden city movement with the practical delivery mechanisms of the new towns programme, learning the lessons about what has worked, and what has not. The New Towns Act led to the delivery of 32 New Towns in the UK which today provide homes for over 2.8 million people. This legislation is still on the statute books and with a few minor amendments could be made fit for purpose to deliver a new generation of garden cities. The TCPA has been at the forefront of exploring how to make it happen:

New Towns Act 2015? 

In February 2014 the TCPA published a landmark document into how the UK can deliver the beautiful, inclusive and sustainable communities of the future:

New Towns Act 2015? (2014)

Briefing on the Housing and Planning Bill (now Act)

New planning legislation provides an opportunity to update the New Towns Act. The TCPA has worked cross-party to promote amendments to the Act through recent legislation, resulting in some progressive parliamentary debate. This briefing, produced by the TCPA in 2016, makes the case:

TCPA Briefing Paper 50: Putting Garden Cities at the Heart of the Housing and Planning Bill (Revised Jan 2016)