Wolfson Prize Finalists Show Emerging Consensus On How to Do Garden Cities

Many of the Wolfson Prize Finalists are uncannily similar. It may be hard to pick a winner.  The picture they paint is of an innovation led and nationally facilitated approach to building garden cities – not in that mangling of the English Language ‘locally led’.  The entries are also uncannily similar on the issue of land value capture and compensation.  None of this would be doable without primary legislation, if only to modify the New Towns Act and Leasehold law.

Sadly on the same day as the Queens Speech they got little publicity.

Barton Willmore entry is interesting but has the feeling of being written by a committee.  IT has a good GIS analysis of potential locations.

Chris Blundell’s entry is much less visual than the others but surely got in the final for bothering to do a discounted cash flow analysis on how a Garden City could cover its face.  CHris would be wise I think to throw in his expertise with one of the other finalists.

The URBED entry is impressive as you would expect from David Rudlin and Nicholas Falk. Correctly they identify that a Garden City will financially struggle if not an extension of an existing town.  A lesson hard learned oin Lethworth and Welwyn.  It is very much about learning from European best practice.

Shelter has had the balls to suggest an actual site – the Hooe Peninsula -just South of where Boris wants his airport. The Masterplanning and Fincial Modelling is very impressive and much less sketchy than other proposals, its weakness is the lack of Garden City vision and design innovation compared to 0ther finalists.

The Wei Yang proposal is my favorite in terms of the logic of its proposal, set out just as I would have done it.  Its even suggests locations, such as the HSR2/EWR intersection I suggested in this blog. It is weaker though on the specific design and needs to work one up in the next round.

Bad luck to Peter Hall who was one of the highly commended entries.



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