Wolfson Economics Prize – Uxcester Garden City
Our essay draws upon URBED’s experience over many years designing neighbourhoods and working to improve the quality of development in the UK. Through this debate we have come to the fundamental conclusion that it is probably impossible to create a Garden City of any scale from scratch in the current economic climate. The first part of the essay describes why this is and why we have concluded that it is better to graft a Garden City onto the strong root-stock of an existing city. Through the essay, we address the fundamental questions posed by the competition: vision, popularity and economic viability and governance.
We illustrate how the city of Uxcester could double its size by adding three substantial urban extensions each housing around 50,000 people.
Extending an existing city solves some problems but creates others. We suggest a ‘Social Contract’ that would address the concerns of the community.
Economic Viability and Governance
In the absence of large scale subsidy the only solution to the economics of the Garden City is what Ebenezer Howard called the ‘unearned increment’. We propose a deal for landowners, selling sites to developers at a fixed price and providing infrastructure collectively. The process would be managed by a Garden City Trust that would be owned jointly by the local councils, central government, the local community and land owners.