Endorsements supporting the 250 New Towns Club
Solly Angel, Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at New York University, and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at The Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
'The containment policy of the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act was certainly successful in limiting urban expansion in Britain. It was also successful in ensuring that home values have soared, to the merriment of homeowners and mortgage banks, and much to the chagrin of the increasing number of families who are shut out of the housing market. The 250 New Towns Club seeks to break the stranglehold on urban expansion by sprouting new settlements in the British countryside, in a contemporary synthesis of town and country, vastly increasing the supply of residential land, and thus making both land and housing more affordable. This is a revolutionary and a welcome change, but not one likely to take hold unless many of you join together to make it a reality.'
Robert Bruegmann, Professor of Art History, Architecture, and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of the excellent Sprawl: A Compact History, 2005
'Individuals and families across the economic and social spectrum all over the world are eager to gain as much control as they can over the place where they live. Residential real estate plays a huge and increasingly important role in the economy of every nation. Nothing in the world today affects citizens more directly than the home in which they live. Britain pioneered many of the most important and beneficial planning techniques used around the world. But today, with the planning system so often deployed to fight any change or progress, it is time for some new ideas. This is the goal for the 250 New Towns Club. For the sake of people everywhere, let's hope it is successful.' www.robertbruegmann.com
Ross Elliott is concerned with urban affairs, was the Executive Director of the Residential Development Council of the Property Council of Australia, and edited Residential Developer Magazine
'Congratulations on the 250 New Towns initiative. Australia is currently struggling with its own set of self-manufactured problems in terms of housing supply and affordability. Despite being a country with so much habitable space we have fallen victim to planning ideology which suggests weve run out of room. Planning schemes deny developers opportunity to supply low cost, affordable land. Instead, they are increasingly pressured to operate in niche high density markets which are both expensive to build, and for which there is limited demand. If Britain can conceive of ways to create new places to live, but not just for elites, Id like to think we can do the same in Australia. I hope the industry, the regulators and the general public get behind your initiative and explore the possibilities, away from dogma and failed ideology.' The Pulse
David Ellison, architect, is a Labour Councillor in the Didsbury West ward of Manchester, and is the Deputy Chair of the Planning and Highways Committee at Manchester City Council
'I support the initatives that the 250 New Towns Club are taking in talking about the needs for new ways of thinking about housing and communities in the future. There is the space and opportunity for more housing and development for jobs in the North of England that doesn't exist in the South East. I would like to see new ideas for towns and communities developed in our existing urban centres in the North, with different forms of housing tenure creating models for sustainable communities that will regenerate brownfield sites and little used land within and in the edge of existing towns, providing new homes and jobs. This will not happen without new ways of thinking and funding, and a new generation to start to take this forward.' www.davidellisonarchitecture.com
Tony Pierce has made a career as director or head of service in planning, property, engineering, surveying and housing services in various councils in London and the South-East of England
'An astounding number of new towns, or their equivalent, should be constructed, if Britain's next generation is to be housed as well as, or better than, the current one. More people bring more brains and hands to produce future research, innovation, technology and wealth, but we need big thinking, imagination and determined action now to achieve it all. Capturing some of the spirit shown by politicians, civil servants, architects, planners and builders in the post-war New Towns movement, and giving it a 21st century twist would not go amiss. The New Towns and Town Expansion Schemes are still the largest building programmes ever achieved in the Western world, so we need to celebrate their successes and learn from their failures. More recent attempts at intensification on brownfield sites, in existing city centres, and proposals for "smarter" or "compact" cities have proven limited and ineffective in the face of demand for decent housing, jobs and transport.'
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