Rogers rejects call for more garden cities
Richard Rogers has hit out at a new report recommending Britain builds a new generation of garden cities.
The report, released by the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) and developer Land Securities, said the country should tackle the housing crisis by taking inspiration from Ebenezer Howard’s garden city movement in order to build high-quality, beautiful and inclusive developments.
But Rogers, whose Urban Task Force report recommended a focus on brownfield development in and around well-connected urban areas a decade ago, said the growing threat of climate change meant this approach remained the right way forward.
“I’m shocked by this,” he told BD. “The concept of an eco new town is an oxymoron…so I’m totally against this idea.”
“Garden cities were a fantastic idea 150 years ago but it’s time that the TCPA woke up to today and to today’s crisis. If Ebenezer Howard was alive today, I’m sure he wouldn’t be doing [garden cities].”
Rogers added that city development was the best way to build new homes because of their jobs, infrastructure and public transport systems with garden cities and new towns far more car-based.
“Cities are the most efficient thing,” he said.
The TCPA’s report suggests that learning the lessons of garden cities is key to overcoming the “stigma” of new communities being ugly and synonymous with inadequate provision of infrastructure.
TCPA chief planner Hugh Ellis said: “Today’s housing challenge is compounded by a financial crisis and an ageing population, as well as new global pressures from climate change and economic restructuring. We must find a way to move forward into a new era of building attractive, resilient and sustainable places.”