The challenge of building places and communities extends beyond bricks and mortar logistics. Evidently, it’s a challenge that has been troubling architects and urban planners for the best part of a century.
Towns and cities have a purpose and their design should reflect this. But many of the new towns and garden cities built in the latter half of the 20th century have no heart - no reason to exist other than to supply housing for people.
People want value for money and quality of life, with engaging spaces and destinations. And it’s something that’s getting harder and harder to find in Britain’s big cities.
The conversation needs to move on from urban land use, architecture and design, and toward the idea of placemaking and, crucially, how it can deliver healthy, comfortable environments for the people who inhabit them.
Placemaking is not exclusively about the independent elements of landscaping, architecture or land use, but the combination of these fundamental principles working together. By uniting them in a purposeful way, we can create healthy mixed-use environments that balance everyday functionality with timeless appeal.
Those wanting to deliver high-quality environments for future generations should adhere to these principles. And some clear thinking is needed if this next phase of garden city development is to avoid the mistakes of its past.