Land-mark Publication Reveals the Forgotten Hope of the New Towns

**The official launch of this book and TCPA Spring Party has been postponed until further notice**

Land-mark publication reveals the forgotten hope of the new towns – RIBA Books’ New Towns: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth calls for a new start in UK housing policy

Solving the housing crisis has proved to be one of the most difficult challenges of our generation. But while successive governments have failed to tackle the problem, the solution has been in our hands all along, argue Katy Lock, TCPA Director of Communities, and Dr Hugh Ellis, TCPA Director of Policy, in their new book New Towns: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth.

The solution lies in the rich legacy of our new towns – in what they can teach us about how to secure the highly sustainable and affordable places we so desperately need.

One of the most extraordinary and misunderstood programmes of urban development in UK history, these 32 new towns built after the New Towns Act of 1946 brought the promise of a new beginning for millions of people across the country.

The book, the second in a series on new communities, examines the motivations, execution and successes of the new towns project, and the vital lessons that should be learnt from them, that could transform the quality of what we build now.

The authors position the principle of these new settlements not simply as part of the solution to the housing crisis, but as example of the extraordinary things that can be achieved by having a national vision for decent homes and the right kind of public bodies to deliver them.

At a time where the government has yet to make much tangible progress to solve the housing crisis, this is a milestone book with a critical lesson for our future.

Available now from RIBA Books online or at RIBA Bookshops, the official launch of New Towns: The Rise Fall and Rebirth will be celebrated at Mall Galleries, London SW1 on March 18th 2020, from 6pm. Register your attendance as soon as possible to avoid disappointment here.

About the TCPA

The Town and Country Planning Association campaigns for the reform of the UK’s planning system to make it more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and to promote sustainable development.

About RIBA Books

With over 35 years’ experience, RIBA Books publish authoritative and practical information for the market, from good practice, legal and management guides to technical design guides, and anything in between.

For all press enquiries, please contact Isaac LeQuesne at [email protected] or +44 20 8132 5455

Notes to editors

1. On new towns: The UK’s new towns not only met the huge demand for both new homes and new jobs after World War II, but were affordable, well-designed and provided all the social facilities people needed to thrive—a stark contrast to many of the homes built recently or which are in planning today.

They have seemingly been all but forgotten by both the public and politicians of today, have suffered ridicule in the media and are often regarded as a curious past experiment by the building industry.

“If their ambition was monumental, their fall from grace was equally spectacular,” the authors say in their introduction, raising the critical point: “…despite their obvious relevance in dealing with our housing crisis… new towns have been thoroughly misunderstood and disregarded.”

With homes becoming ever smaller and further away from amenities, while house prices climb ever higher, what does the future hold for younger generations priced out of cities but facing limited viable alternatives?

Addressing the myths and realities of the New Towns programme, the book uses in-depth case-studies and the latest TCPA research to inform valuable lessons and recommendations for practitioners, politicians and communities to help renew existing new towns and create sustainable new communities for the 21st century.

“This book sets out what can be achieved through brave, compassionate leadership and calls for a new start in UK housing policy,” says Katy Lock.

“Government asset-stripped the new towns leaving them without the resources to look after the world-renowned public art, architecture and greenspace they provided…if we fail to learn the lessons from the new towns we risk repeating mistakes of the past and missing the opportunity to create ambitious affordable and climate resilient new places today” Lock added.

2. Katy Lock is an urbanist and campaigner for social justice and the environment. She is a Chartered Town Planner and currently Director of Communities and Frederic Osborn Fellow at the TCPA:

3. Dr Hugh Ellis is a playwright and planner and has worked on policy development, briefings and engagement with central government and politicians. He is currently Policy Director at the TCPA:

4. The cover art was created for the book by Paul Catherall. Prints of the cover image, among other examples of the artists’ work will be available for purchase at the launch. Find out more about the artist here:

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