Friday, 8 August 2014

You can't build Howardian Garden Cities under our planning system


They're all the rage - Ben Reeve Lewis lovingly describes:

Towns designed for living in where the mortgage and rental profits are ploughed back into the community. A socialist idyll without a donkey jacket or Tom Paxton fisherman’s cap to be seen anywhere.

The problem is that this 'ploughing pack' of profits from development was only possible because Ebenezer Howard could toddle out from London and buy agricultural land in Hertfordshire on which to build his city. There were no spatial plans, no 'National Planning Policy Guidance', no five-year housing supply requirements and no green belt. Above all there was no allocation of land for housing, a process that captures all the added value for the landowner rather than the developer.

And because Howard bought cheap land the organisation running Letchworth was well endowed with the profits from development allowing it to build libraries, parks and so forth without the need for taxation. Today - as we talk about a new generation of garden cities - we would do well to remember that Howard's model simply isn't possible under our planning system.


No comments: