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Planning Resource: "Stretching the city: how to build a new garden city"

Link to web site

"Having garden cities as the subject for a major national economics competition run by a Tory peer has focused attention on planning and the housing shortage. Lord Wolfson's economics prize was this year awarded to the best idea for a visionary, popular and economically viable garden city. The £250,000 prize went to planner David Rudlin, director of regeneration consultancy URBED, and his colleague Dr Nicholas Falk, an urban economist.

"Unlike most of the finalists, three of whom advocate stand-alone settlements, the winning entry does not propose a conventional garden city. The URBED entry instead argues for the expansion of existing settlements to double their size. A fictional town called Uxcester is used to show how this would work, increasing its population by 150,000 with the creation of three urban extensions.

"While for illustrative purposes Falk applies the ideas in detail to Oxford, the essay suggests the model could also be used to expand up to 40 towns and cities across the country, including Norwich and Reading.

"Rudlin asks why the UK no longer produces developments of the quality found on the continent. He argues that the UK housing market is dysfunctional, creating the priciest but also the smallest homes in Europe, often of poor quality. The 'fundamental issue' is land value, he writes, which rises hugely when allocated or granted permission for housing, and makes up most of the cost for developers. Speaking to Planning, Rudlin says:
"When permission is granted, the developer puts all the money into the land, and there is nothing left to build the sorts of places we admire in Germany and the Netherlands."

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