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Archive for September, 2011

I have great respect for Mary Portas, she has a good eye for retail, understands fashion and style. But maybe she doesn’t have a grasp on successful town planning, and liveability. To give up on the notion of successful, vibrant Town Centres and High Streets is to give up on the sociability of mankind. 2008 was the year that a significant tipping point was reached whereby more people lived in towns and cities than in rural locations. For the overwhelming majority this is a lifestyle choice. One of the reasons that mankind has moved out of caves and developed a sophisticated society is because, on the whole, we get on with each other. Towns and cities give us easy access to being able to “get on”, access to employment, culture, services, shopping and in well planned places, well maintained and useable green space. (more…)

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There are a number of historical social housing estates, built philanthropically that I have had the pleasure to visit, Lever’s (as in soap) Port Sunlight, Joseph Rowntree’s (as in sweets) New Earswick Estate in York and Bournville (as in chocolate) in Birmingham.

All are wonderfully liveable estates that have stood the test of time, been well maintained and are without doubt desirable.

They show how it is possible to do “social housing” and to avoid the pitfalls that result in vast sums being spent on regeneration. Housing providers and planners need to regularly visit these precedents to remind themselves to stop delivering the dross that has become commonplace over the past few decades.

It was heartening to hear that Kraft (the new American owners of Cadbury) have understood Cadbury’s heritage an decided to make its “global chocolate centre” at its historical home, Bournville.

Great decision and I am sure that the Cadbury employees are going to enjoy working in this environment that the founders of the brand left as a wonderful housing legacy…

For more information on Bournville click here
And here are some pics…

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