British Landscapes -
A change for the better?
For masterplanner Raymond Unwin, landscape was not just a background to lives lived, it was a weapon of social change, says David Davidson, architectural adviser at Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust. Unwin’s vision was the communal landscape, one that promoted social interaction at every turn. In creating the Hampstead Garden Suburb, he realised the democratic landscapes the Garden City movement espoused. Davidson was the first speaker in the Landscape Institute’s autumn lecture series Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century. He is also the first of our essayists in this special edition of Landscape, which takes as its starting point the ideals of the Garden City and pits them against the great 21st cen-
tury challenge: realising the greencity. Programmed by Susannah Charlton of the Twentieth Century Society, the lecture series accompanies the Garden Museum’s From Garden City to Green City exhibition. The five speakers agreed to pen a series of essays for us, so, following a foreword from Christopher Woodward, director of the Garden Museum, we dedicate 15 pages to what we can learn from more than a century of urban landscapes. Projects adviser at the Prince’s Regeneration Trust Roland Jeffery tackles housing landscapes, and the new towns in particular. Their landscapes, he says, have still to find a comfortable role that is somewhere in between the private garden and the public highway.
Ken Wor pole, writ er a sor at the Cities Ins nd senior profestitute, su the Britis then why gge h still hav should w e a proble sts that e be surp ing about th ey act wit m in thin rised whe designed hout care k- is Sa n landscap of pleasu th e m r a s e h e s as re. lves?” Th Gaventa is writing in time for u He asks whether n places August’ the wake s riots as s to redis ow is the o s c f h o e asks ho of our le nities can isure land ver the purpose w commu p o s s ib ly be scapes. “If you le act when ave peop they have expected to interle to live unhealth n c o ommune where de in a lo y, u . cent to environm n-green and depr usy, A n d fi nally, Lan essing ent that in dscape’s dic at large, th editor Tim hon eir local a ates that society W a te rman exp orary uthority a governm o u r r e lor la ent don’t tionship nd the with food es care abou the urban t them, and la taste and ndscape. Are appetite our biggest barr i-
Urban Planning Ken Worpole, writer and senior professor at the Cities Institute, suggests that the British still have a problem in thinking about designed landscapes as places of pleasure. He asks whether now is the time for us to rediscover the purpose of our leisure landscapes. “If you leave people to live in a lousy, unhealthy, un-green and depressing environment that indicates that society at large, their local authority and the government don’t care about them, then why should we be surprised when they act without care themselves?” This is Sarah Gaventa writing in the wake of August’s riots as she asks how communities can
possibly be expected to interact when they have nowhere decent to commune. And finally, Landscape’s honorary editor Tim Waterman explores our relationship with food and the urban landscape. Are taste and appetite our biggest barriers to realising sustainable design? But just how relevant are the ideas of the Garden City to those nations currently in thrall to urban revolutions of their own? We asked Ruth Olden to get behind the images of verdant green cities and see what’s happening in India, China and Mexico.
Published on Oct 8, 2012