Are Garden Communities the future?
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.