Celebrating 70 Years of the New Towns Act

2016 marked the 70th anniversary of the 1946 New Towns Act, and of the designation of the first New Town at Stevenage. It also marked 500 years since the publication of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (a publication which itself proposed 54 new towns as a means of preventing ‘suburban sprawl’ and which was referred to by Lewis Silkin, as Minister of Town and Country Planning, in the Second Reading of the New Towns Bill).

As a new programme of Garden Cities and new towns in England looks increasingly likely (and as Scotland and Wales explore the opportunities for new communities to help meet their housing needs), the anniversaries of the New Towns Act and More’s Utopia offer a good opportunity to reflect on the lessons of what has been done before – both good and bad.

Spurred on by the 70th anniversary of the New Towns Act 1946, in 2016 the TCPA organised a number of events and activities, including a study tour, a conference and a short film which takes its name from Stevenage’s motto, ‘The heart of the new town lies in its people’, and can be viewed here:

Stevenage’s 70th birthday marked the start of a series of opportunities to celebrate the New Towns as they reach significant milestones. In 2017 Milton Keynes will be 50, while Crawley, Hemel Hempstead, Harlow, Newton Aycliffe, and East Kilbride will turn 70. The TCPA, once instrumental in helping to shape these places, will continue to support them and seek out and disseminate lessons from the New Town experience, while campaigning for a new generation of new communities today.

Clarification: In error, the provider of the clips for this video was credited as ‘Lennart Blakey’ rather than ‘Lennard Blakey’ – we offer our apologies for this mistake and are working to have it rectified.