Are Gar­den Com­mu­ni­ties the fu­ture?

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

space and lo­cal res­i­dents are be­ing giv­ing Fit­bits to en­cour­age healthy liv­ing.

But in the past year only 613 homes were built, bring­ing the to­tal to 1,464 com­pleted out of a planned 15,000 – although mo­men­tum is build­ing.

Ebb­s­fleet has fan­tas­tic con­nec­tiv­ity, an­other pre­req­ui­site for a Gar­den Com­mu­nity. It’s 17 min­utes by train to Kings Cross St Pan­cras and about two hours by Eurostar to Brus­sels and Paris; Ebb­s­fleet is two miles from the M25 and an hour’s drive from the fer­ries at Dover. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of Lon­don, has sug­gested that Cross­rail 2 could be ex­tended to the town.

The idea of the gar­den city is more than 100 years old, thought up by utopian philoso­pher Sir Ebenezer Howard, whose Gar­den City Move­ment ad­vo­cated what we now call sus­tain­able homes and life­styles. He was con­cerned with the “foul air”, “ex­ces­sive hours” and “clos­ing out of na­ture” of city life in 1898, and pro­posed com­bin­ing it with the best of coun­try liv­ing.

If you want a more es­tab­lished Gar­den Com­mu­nity, six al­ready ex­ist. Pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant Deb­o­rah Battsek grew up in Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb and fre­quently re­turns to the area. It is the best known of the orig­i­nal six, and ar­guably owes most out of all of them to Howard’s phi­los­o­phy.

“We lived in a close with all the houses around a cen­tral green, al­most like a pri­vate park. For spe­cial events like Guy Fawkes Night, all the fam­i­lies would get to­gether for a big party and fire­works dis­play,” she says. “The sub­urb was de­fined by a mix of wide tree-lined streets and at­trac­tive cul-de-sacs with ev­ery­thing from tiny cot­tages to huge mansions. That re­mains the same to­day.”

But have these orig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties, known as “green lungs” for larger ar­eas that were oth­er­wise of­ten builtup, stood the test of time? In some cases at least, the an­swer is yes.

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