The communities where neighbourliness is part of the design

Gillian Darley index

Gillian Darley hails a new generation learning from the Quakers

Back in another century, I wrote a book titled Villages of Vision about different versions of the planned community. I concentrated on places that had been built at a stroke and for a reason – be that aesthetics and expediency, expediency plus philanthropy, philanthropy laced with utopianism or, very rarely, sheer unadulterated utopianism.

Garden cities and new towns were there in the shadows, but only by association.

Now, several new ventures are under way, urgent measures of self-help at a time when wider society offers little. They include co-housing, different versions of self-build, varied funding arrangements, and help for different demographics, especially the shifting needs of an ageing population. And some have deep roots.

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