A better kind of Garden City
July 28, 2015 2 Comments
The study tour I recently did was based on Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism published by the late Prof Peter Hall with Nicholas Falk.
The book documents how major housing schemes in Northern Europe consistently produce better quality, more affordable housing, with higher environmental standards, and with far greater spending on infrastructure and public transport than we do in Australia or the UK. The response of many of us on the study tour was to despair that we could ever produce development of this standard.
Nicholas Falk recently sent me his most recent project on designing a garden city which demonstrates how to apply the best of Europe to a more Anglo context. While he writes about the UK his comments also apply to Australia and Perth:
“The ability of these [Northern European] countries to build to such high standards and to plan so effectively is not because they have better designers, planners and developers. It is rather because they operate with a different economic and regulatory framework. The quality of what we build is, at its heart, an economic rather than a design issue and is the focus for the first part of this essay. In the UK most of the money and talent in the housebuilding industry is focused on unlocking the land through a contested planning system; on the Continent it is focused on what is built on that land.
The Garden City extensions are based upon some simple geometry; tram stops that are within 20 minutes of the city centre, neighbourhoods that are within 10 minutes walk of these tram stops, each of which supports a secondary school and its feeder primary schools, and urban extensions made up of five neighbourhoods that have sufficient scale to support a district centre and employment uses. The overall plan is described in our Snowflake diagram which we have developed into a set of proposals to show how it would be applied ….”
Inspiring food for thought for the future of urban planning in Perth as we are putting in our submission on Perth and Peel @3.5 million.