Page 1

Garden Cities of ‘To-morrow’: A Manifesto for the UK’s Garden Cities of 2050 Joanne Preston The proposal  for  adopting  garden  city  principles,i  as  a  means  of  tackling  the  ongoing  UK  housing  shortage,  has  gained   significant  momentum  in  recent  years.  In  the  current  political  debate  resurgence  in  Howard’s  ideals  is  been  used  to   suggest  social  progress  with  the  garden  city  model’s  practice  of  the  private  financing  and  community  stewardship  of   assets  used  to  support  the  Coalition  Government’s  ‘localism’  rhetoric.  A  manifestation  of  this  can  be  seen  in  the  2012   National  Planning  Policy  Framework,  which  explicitly  recommends  that  local  planning  authorities          ‘consider  the   application  of  garden  city  principles’.ii     A  thesis  has  uncovered  how  the  adoption  of  the  garden  cities  low-­‐density,  suburban  typology  into  historic  national   housing  policy,  has  led  to  social  inequalities  by  disproportionately  advantaging  those  members  society  in  a  ‘nuclear’   family.    Through  history,  this  has  resulted  in  a  set  of  social  ideals  relating  to  domesticity  and  family  life  been   embedded  in  the  architecture  of  Howard’s  model.iii     Examples  from  the  enforcement  of  the  Estate  Management  Scheme  in  Welwyn  Garden  City,  aimed  at  preserving  key   garden  city  ‘values’  by  regulating  appearance  of  individual  properties,  has  shown  how  this  typology  encourages  an   emphasis  on  community  vigilance,  thus  the  vilification  and  exclusion  of  those  who  do  not  comply  with  the  aesthetics   of  the  garden  city  typology.  These  findings  reinforce  the  contemporary  critique  that  the  garden  city  through  denying   the  existence  of  anything  other  than  the  status  quo,  encourages  the  middle  classes  to  live  in  ‘private  residential   clubs’.iv  The  current  revival  of  Howard’s  Garden  City  Model  is  a  movement  towards  the  privatisation  of  the  public   realm.     Garden Cities of To-morrow 2050 imagines an alternative typology for the proposed future generation of UK Garden Cities. Based on a more transient idea of ‘home’, the project envisages a future where everyone can have a place to call home in the city, greenbelt and suburb. The new housing typology is formed from an infrastructure, which is linked with existing rail networks and made habitable by kinetic walls and furniture modules. Heavily influenced by Howard’s Cul-de-Sac formations the tessellation of the proposed typology forms a patchwork landscape of contained gardens and terraces. The dwellings are designed to accommodate a community rather than a ‘nuclear family’ with the paternation allowing for a continual densification and growth of the typology as required and also encouraging neighbourly interaction by ensuring that divisions between one dwelling and the next are unclear. The typology challenges the recent drive towards homeownership and its association with financial gain and social mobility and instead suggests a beneficial lifestyle, which results from a shared and more flexile approach to ‘home’.

                                                                                                               Howard,  E.  ‘Garden  Cities  of  To-­Morrow’  (London:  1898).    DCLG,  National  Planning  Policy  Framework  (March  2012).  P.19.   iii  Davidoff  et  al.  (1976)   iv  Webster  E.  ‘Gated  Cities  of  Tomorrow’  (London,  Routledge:  2002).   i


Project Description  

Term 2-3 Project Introduction