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Title: Political ideology and housing supply : rethinking New Towns and the building of new communities in England
Author: Rivera, H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 1085
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Throughout the twentieth century, England experienced a chronic problem of housing supply that persists to this day. In an attempt to manage it, philanthropists, policymakers and politicians have directed planning policies and legislation to build new planned communities: Howard’s town/country magnet; New Labour’s sustainable communities; and, the recent Coalition government’s initiatives in delivering locally-led garden cities. Problematically, this results in planning being trapped between political ideology and problems of housing supply. To examine this tension, the New Towns programme provides an important example of how goal-driven planning policy was used during the period 1946-1976 to address housing supply. This research focuses on the first wave (mark 1) of New Towns built as ‘balanced communities for working and living’ (Reith, 1944) between 1946-1955 in Southeast England, to decentralise London’s population and industry. Three critical lenses are employed to understand the development of mark 1 objectives: self-containment (Hall 1973, Ward 2004), newness vs. sameness (Clapson 2003) and governance (Aldridge 1979, Reade 1987). This research provides a different appraisal to the New Towns programme and makes a critical contribution to the meta-discourse of building new communities. A principal critique here is that the historiography of New Towns has been predominantly written by experts (academic and otherwise), providing a limited interpretation of the legacy of (living in) New Towns. To empirically rectify this, Sandercock’s (2003) suggestion of a narrative-led approach is employed in investigating two mark 1 case studies: Harlow and Hemel Hempstead. Perspectives of original New Town pioneers as well as planners/officials working in development corporations and local authorities/councils have been collected and analysed for a hitherto undocumented experience of planning, building, managing and living in New Towns. It thus provides not only valuable scholarship on New Towns, but also reinforces their contemporary relevance to the continued pursuit of building new communities in England.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available