Garden villages: a vision of future housing?

Garden Village architect

Garden villages: a vision of future housing?

Posted by AFL in Residential Projects

Last July the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs stated that 300,000 homes are required each year to meet demand and address the housing crisis. In this month’s headlines the government approved 14 new ‘garden villages’ to partly address these targets.

£7.4 million is to be invested to support the delivery of the new settlements, each with between 1,500 and 10,000 homes and a total of 48,000 units. Additionally 3 garden towns at Harlow & Gilston, Aylesbury and Taunton will be supported.

As envisioned by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898, garden cities are the historical inspiration for garden villages. They were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts of residences, industry, and agriculture.

The proposed garden villages are to be established in new greenfield and brownfield sites, are not on the door step of existing towns reducing local objections. However they still need to work as successful communities with infrastructure, community services, schools and jobs.

Architecture for London’s research on the ‘London Village’ imagines a future when private cars have been excluded from towns and cities. The government’s pledge to support infrastructure to these new villages could allow for the first steps in this direction. High speed trains, ride sharing and support for autonomous vehicles could lead to residents connecting to neighbouring cities without a car culture taking over.

The challenges faced by garden villages are many, but importantly to maintain the ‘garden’ name local authorities must engage with designers and futurists to avoid rushing ill-considered schemes through planning.

26 Jan 2017