New Villages – Components.
For a long time it has been my view that the construction of new ‘Villages’ has been a way of exploring new ways for the development of homes, for the extension of major urban areas, for the exploitation of ‘Brown Field Sites’ or areas otherwise difficult to redevelop.
They provide the opportunity for new concepts of community to be examined, new forms of tenure and governance to be evolved, new challenges like responsiveness to climate change or sustainability to tackled. Without the built in inertia of existing communities.
The scale of smaller new communities – say around 5,000 people means that major infrastructural budgets, existing community responses or availability of large sites such as for New Towns do not have to be identified.
However the principles learned from such ‘New Village’ developments can be applied to much larger areas such as the extension of expanding existing metropolitan areas, or major city scale proposals.
Linking ‘New Villages’ into groups via rapid public transit enables the benefits of areas which have considerable local identity of place to become integral parts of a much greater urban whole.
This document evolved over a number of years presents both my personal viewpoint and my conclusions arising from many years work on both existing and new cities.
What I have attempted to do is briefly to outline the components needed to create ‘New Villages’ which are inspired by a need for a lighter footprint on our planet, for the regulation of such a community to be responsive to changing circumstances and the healthy life of the community to be sustainable for years to come.
The study had its beginning in 2000. Forecasts of a rapidly increasing population growth of Greater Auckland, New Zealand were published. My proposal suggested an alternative to the environmentally wasteful, community anonymous and culturally bland spread of the suburbs. The opportunities provided by the upgrading of the North West rail line, the Auckland Central transport network and land availability were seen as practical and do-able. A UK alternative is shown relating to the rail line from Aylesbury to the West Coast main line at Cheddington. (This had its starting point in much earlier work in the 1960s)
There are many forms of partnerships and agencies which could be used to bring such initiatives about, but first comes a vision and will to plan and build with imagination, foresight and respect for people and the environment. One model for this is represented by the ‘Co-Housing’ movement and this particular way of operation is illustrated in this document by ‘Earth Song’, Eco-Community, Swanson, Auckland, New Zealand.