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The Guardian: "Britain’s housing crisis: are garden cities the answer?"

"They’re billed as an idyllic alternative to generic commuter towns. But the first of a new generation of garden cities, in Ebbsfleet, Kent, has run into controversy. Will the end result be bog-standard suburban housing blighting the green belt?"

Link to web site

"Welcome to Britain’s newest garden city. Ebbsfleet, the name of the high-speed Eurostar railway station squeezed on to waste ground between Dartford and Gravesend, is the first of the government’s new generation of garden cities: low-density communities with generous green spaces and good local facilities.

"Garden cities are an idea whose time has come (again), enjoying the support of George Osborne, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. They are seen as a way to persuade not-in-my-backyarders to tolerate urgently needed new housing estates. Are garden cities the solution to Britain’s housing crisis? Or are they a sham – the same-old suburbs smothering precious green belt?

"Garden cities were the vision of a shorthand typist called Ebenezer Howard who worked in parliament and, in 1898, outlined his utopian alternative to industrial slums, combining the best of town and country. Howard’s vision of self-sufficient local communities of affordable homes built at a low density with green spaces and jobs nearby was realised through first Letchworth and then Welwyn Garden City. Letchworth offered affordable renting and home ownership (a three-bedroom house cost £175 in 1906), leisure facilities such as a nine-hole golf course and innovations including Britain’s first roundabout.

"Lenin is rumoured to have stayed the night in the town in 1907 and the garden city ideals were exported abroad, to Soviet cities including Stalingrad, and other new cities such as Canberra, Australia."

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