Letchworth Garden Cities’ Re-Imagining the Garden City design competition has announced the winning entry, which includes Self Build as part of its vision for the expansion of the UK’s original Garden City.
Launched in October 2018 by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, the competition called for masterplan design ideas for the 45 hectare residential expansion of Letchworth Garden City, the first such growth in a generation. The brief set out to find solutions that embrace the needs of the 21st Century while staying true to the original principles that inspired the Garden City movement.
Garden Cities stand out as designed spaces due to the large-scale placemaking principles that underpin them, creating homes around a station terminal, with work opportunities for the local populations and a focus on green spaces. As well as core values around landscaping, Garden Cities embrace urban agriculture, which was also core to the brief.
The winner, EcoResponsive Environments, put forward a vision that includes Self Build as part of its masterplan, that took its inspiration from the past while still being progressive, with the judges impressed by their innovative approach to systems thinking, technology and the social structure of place.
The judging panel included representatives from Homes England, Town & Country Planning Association, Building Research Establishment, University of Hertfordshire, Anglian Water, Cushman Wakefield and the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.
The Right to Build Task Force has been working with Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, providing early advice about the inclusion and delivery of Custom and Self Build into the expansion on the 45 hectare site in question.
“We are delighted that the winner, which has just been announced, includes a strong ‘self build’ housing theme as part of the vision, and look forward to seeing the route included as part of the growth of Letchworth Garden City,” said Mario Wolf, Right to Build Task Force Director.
“The homes and built facilities will be phased according to the evolving pattern of demand, to benefit the widest range of people, including those in neighbouring areas, from day one. Self-built housing will form an important part of this, and will capture economic value directly through sweat equity. A ShareApp will be used to bring participants together, to seek opportunities for mutual aid, and better deals through bulk purchase of materials and equipment hire, enabling affordable self-build models.
“The expectation is that, as the envisaged self-building processes are anticipated to be slower than the rest of the development, they will start before the rest of the development.”