New call for higher-density housing

16 March 2015

An influential think tank has called on the major political parties to drop their support for garden cities and to focus instead on inner-city regeneration.

The Future Spaces Foundation, whose board includes the Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute Trudi Elliot CBE as well as representatives from Savills and Housing Charity Shelter, published their ‘‘Vital Cities not Garden Cities’’ report last week.

The report claims that garden cities will only be able to deliver enough homes to meet a third of unmet housing need, meaning that another 500,000 homes will have to be delivered by other means by 2020.

Writing in the report Future Space Foundation Chair Ken Shuttleworth presented urban regeneration as an alternative, saying:

‘‘Our cities, and I include London in this, are, by global standards, sparsely populated, and as our report shows, still have ample possibilities for intensification. Before we even consider bulldozing greenfield sites we must explore every option possible to densify what we’ve already got.’’

With Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians arguing over which party is most committed to delivering a new generation of garden cities, the Future Spaces Foundation report is an early reminder of the opposition that such a programme would have to overcome.

As the last Labour Government found with eco-towns, arguments for major building projects, after flourishing in Westminster, can all too often wither on stony local ground.

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