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Has anyone bothered to look where the population is growing, for a change? Fastest growing areas of the UK include Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Coventry, Manchester, etc. They do include some suburban areas, especially around London, but cities are now growing far faster than suburbs on an overall basis. Needless to say, developments in cities will probably not be individual houses, rather apartments.
 

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I think there were national planning guidance changes in the 1970s, which did this.

Curvy cul-de-sacs and so on provided more variety, less speedy traffic and allegedly less burglary.

But it also provided more social isolation.
The 1970's planning changes you mentioned, is this the Parker Morris minimum space standards that Thatcher got rid of?

The curvy cul de sac thing never really made sense to me. It is against the interests of developers to waste their land this way, it merely gives them the incentive to cram shoebox homes into their design as a last minute effort to make up for the profits lost due to the design quirks of their master plan. Hence the iconic Chafford Hundred photo that started this thread. If they are so keen on these weird estate layouts then there has to be a reason for it. Either government planning policy is foisting it upon them or this is actually what the customer wants (or it's what estate agents think the customer wants). Anyone got some insider knowledge of this process?

If I remember rightly the curvy cul de sac layout has a name, I think it is something like 'tree route'. Very different to the Radburn principle, which was an effort to reconcile cars & pedestrians. British but more commonly Irish planning doesn't have the same concession to pedestrians, much more car based albeit pissing drivers off with traffic calmed totally non-legible routes= no one really happy.
 

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It would be interesting as to how individuals would prioritise their desires. Would people prefer larger internal spaces above a garden for example? Islington council did an interesting door to door survey a few years back with this sort of prioritisation of residential features that makes far more sense than a dogmatic worship of the good life (the 1970s sitcom). Back gardens are good for urban wildlife especially insects but that doesn't mean they are the only solution.
 

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The 1970's planning changes you mentioned, is this the Parker Morris minimum space standards that Thatcher got rid of?

The curvy cul de sac thing never really made sense to me. It is against the interests of developers to waste their land this way, it merely gives them the incentive to cram shoebox homes into their design as a last minute effort to make up for the profits lost due to the design quirks of their master plan. Hence the iconic Chafford Hundred photo that started this thread. If they are so keen on these weird estate layouts then there has to be a reason for it. Either government planning policy is foisting it upon them or this is actually what the customer wants (or it's what estate agents think the customer wants). Anyone got some insider knowledge of this process?

If I remember rightly the curvy cul de sac layout has a name, I think it is something like 'tree route'. Very different to the Radburn principle, which was an effort to reconcile cars & pedestrians. British but more commonly Irish planning doesn't have the same concession to pedestrians, much more car based albeit pissing drivers off with traffic calmed totally non-legible routes= no one really happy.


I think Parker Morris was at the beginning of the 1960s. (I always thought it was two people, like Duckworth Lewis in one-day cricket, but I think it was a Mr Parker Morris.

It must have consolidated what was already the case with most post-war housing, before the bean counters took charge.


One thing I always notice about proposals from that time is the INTERNAL plans of the homes - room sizes and functions and so on. The EXTERNAL shape of the blocks and units were merely a result of that.

Nowadays it is the other way round. It is always an outside view of some stack of rabbit hutches that appears in the papers.
 

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One thing I always notice about proposals from that time is the INTERNAL plans of the homes - room sizes and functions and so on. The EXTERNAL shape of the blocks and units were merely a result of that.

Nowadays it is the other way round. It is always an outside view of some stack of rabbit hutches that appears in the papers.
Which might explain the estate agent phrase 'has to be seen to be appreciated'. Plenty of people have turned up to a showing thinking "Christ what a utilitarian Brutalist piece of shite". Step through the front door and they realise "****, the room sizes and natural light is way better in this ex council flat than what you'd get in most new builds".

If I remember rightly in the latter days of mass council flat building (the 70's I guess) in some cases the space standards started to fall below Park Morris. Don't know of any specific examples to prove this point, might not have been London, but it is mentioned somewhere in the 400page 'tower block' non fiction book that is legally available free here
http://fields.eca.ac.uk/gis/TowerBlock.pdf

or you could buy it for several hundred pounds. Probably the most in depth book of it's kind and brilliant photos.
 

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Which might explain the estate agent phrase 'has to be seen to be appreciated'. Plenty of people have turned up to a showing thinking "Christ what a utilitarian Brutalist piece of shite". Step through the front door and they realise "****, the room sizes and natural light is way better in this ex council flat than what you'd get in most new builds".

If I remember rightly in the latter days of mass council flat building (the 70's I guess) in some cases the space standards started to fall below Park Morris. Don't know of any specific examples to prove this point, might not have been London, but it is mentioned somewhere in the 400page 'tower block' non fiction book that is legally available free here
http://fields.eca.ac.uk/gis/TowerBlock.pdf

or you could buy it for several hundred pounds. Probably the most in depth book of it's kind and brilliant photos.
Beyond just talking of room sizes, I think it was always assumed that there would be a certain level of maintenance and supervision of large council developments.

However, the residents would not have been skilled at constantly lobbying within town halls for their interests, like middle-class suburbs do, and little by little, over years, costs were cut.

By the 1970s, councils were also trying system-built housing that was really designed for Mediterranean climates, not the weather we get. Quality control was often rubbish too. That meant damp was a problem from day one in some cases.
 

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I think the windy layouts are a biproduct of trying to look like naturally evolved villages rather than planned streets. My estate is windy because the existing roads were already windy country lanes, and many new estates try and recreate that, especially with the new (good) trend for village greens and parks. And while it takes up more room it can make places look nicer (subjectively). Not being able to see a hundred houses ahead of you makes a place feel cosy and friendly, and cul-de-sacs mean no unsolicited traffic. There are reasons people prefer them. Straight roads also mean faster speeds drivers are able to reach, a lot of curviness is to try and stop that. It's not the best use of land perhaps, and developers often go too far, but there are reasons people like that.
 

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I think the windy layouts are a biproduct of trying to look like naturally evolved villages rather than planned streets. My estate is windy because the existing roads were already windy country lanes, and many new estates try and recreate that, especially with the new (good) trend for village greens and parks. And while it takes up more room it can make places look nicer (subjectively). Not being able to see a hundred houses ahead of you makes a place feel cosy and friendly, and cul-de-sacs mean no unsolicited traffic. There are reasons people prefer them. Straight roads also mean faster speeds drivers are able to reach, a lot of curviness is to try and stop that. It's not the best use of land perhaps, and developers often go too far, but there are reasons people like that.
Some of that makes sense. What I would love to know though is whether the developers have focus group tested whether people actually want this, or whether they buy into it as it's all there is on offer. Because to me these layouts usually lead to 5 minute as the crow fly walk to the shop/ bus stop taking three times longer than they should. I wonder if people would vote for that if they knew that was the reality in these new estates. And I doubt a planning authority in the country has a written down planning policy that pedestrians must be treated like shit as their house is designed for car users only- and yet that's what has happened in hundreds of thousands maybe millions of homes up & down the land.

@Jon. Funny you post an article which has the Heygate estate in the photo. The man in your British love affair with the garden BBC iplayer video, Michael Collins, actually grew up there and really liked it. You are right that a lot of the system built stuff was experimental nonsense that cost too much to maintain things that would never have broke if they'd used traditional building methods. As far as I know this didn't happen at the Heygate as it was well built and liked by the residents. It's closure was more down to crime. Always thought the sunken garages looked intimidating though.
 

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This discussion illustrates what is often wrong in town planning. Too many individuals with a particular vision or agenda.

What good planning provides is a mix of housing choices for every requirement. Chafford Hundreds is not to my taste, but I do know people who love living there. And given the cost they are certainly not forced to do so.

I like being in a village near a town and having a garden with patio doors open in the summer, even if there is rubbish among the child's toys. Others prefer dockside apartments with a balcony.
 

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European (and some Scottish Cities) traditionally built low to moderate rise apartment blocks with courtyards. These seem to deliver a good mix of shared space and private space. I was impressed with the concrete rebuild of le havre after the war, for example, which by sticking to traditional layouts has not had the problem that such estates in the UK had. I also think ownership is an issue - where we have these in England, leasehold is common and exploitative landlords. Good case for cooperative ownership perhaps?
 

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This discussion illustrates what is often wrong in town planning. Too many individuals with a particular vision or agenda.

What good planning provides is a mix of housing choices for every requirement. Chafford Hundreds is not to my taste, but I do know people who love living there. And given the cost they are certainly not forced to do so.

I like being in a village near a town and having a garden with patio doors open in the summer, even if there is rubbish among the child's toys. Others prefer dockside apartments with a balcony.
Rubbish. Town planning is based on research. Unlike your estate agent marketing slogans borrowed from daytime TV. Research is a learning process and responds to problems.

Town Planning was also liberty from the tyranny of the land owner. You and others talk of life style choices as if you are doing online shopping and expect to pick and chose from every possible configuration possible from an infinitely sized warehouse somewhere in China. Confusing consumer choice with freedom like 1950s America.

Town planning originally had to respond to the realities of industrialisation and anarchy because the macro-problems were growing exponentially. "Town planning" is now concerned with a myriad more interwoven issues such as environmental pressures eg those caused by the very suburb that you worship, responding to urban regeneration and the economic models that drive it as well as well as numerous social issues that appear to spring from how we structure and legislate the physical world (a bit more anarchy please Westminster council).

This feeling of control and dictate that some seem to be sensitive to all ultimately came about from public action not some middle aged geek overlord with a cardboard masterplan. Although Abercrombie was close (I say half jokingly, to be fair he was responding to the issues of the day with all the knowledge they had, we would all be better off if he got his idea to electrify and bury all railways coming into London to fruition, yet his road building plan was highly disruptive and ultimately led to public backlash some decades later). As ever it is the execution that sometimes falters through lack of foresight and ultimately poor understanding. Again this comes back to research.

Put up a photo of an ugly post war estate that was built after a slum clearance programme 60 years ago and so what? We have learnt the lessons and moved on. To argue otherwise is simply ignorant hysterics. You talk of enjoying living in a village near a town with all the mod cons and yet do not admit to the expense of such a set up and the hidden subsidies involved. I'm sure the ex-villagers from 100 years ago who fled the poverty there are stunned by your amazing foresight.
 

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Just as a matter of interest, why was it called "Great Western" Road?

Brunel?? :)
Absolutely no idea I'm afraid, I'm an east-coast boy so won't pretend to be an expert on Glasgow history! I'm sure someone'll know.

I'm not aware of any connection with Brunel. As a totally uninformed guess, I would guess it's more likely that it got its name because it's a big long straight road to the west of Glasgow city centre. :dunno:
 

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Great Western Road runs from the 'centre' of Glasgow out to the west, becoming the A82 which then winds up the West Highlands to Fort William and thence to Inverness. If it had run to another city it would have been named after it. Brunel had nothing to do with it, I'm afraid. It's also important to remember that these developments you're salivating about are also some of the most expensive property in the city and to be perfectly honest I don't think anyone would be surprised. Glasgow suffers greatly from having a large population that was spread out far and wide with the slum clearances after WWII, meaning that rapid transit fell to the wayside while heavy rail commuter services and cars have flourished.
 

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Great Western Road runs from the 'centre' of Glasgow out to the west, becoming the A82 which then winds up the West Highlands to Fort William and thence to Inverness. If it had run to another city it would have been named after it. Brunel had nothing to do with it, I'm afraid. It's also important to remember that these developments you're salivating about are also some of the most expensive property in the city and to be perfectly honest I don't think anyone would be surprised. Glasgow suffers greatly from having a large population that was spread out far and wide with the slum clearances after WWII, meaning that rapid transit fell to the wayside while heavy rail commuter services and cars have flourished.
I don't pretend to know Glasgow as well as I know Edinburgh, but I thought I'd include some Glasgow tenements too. Having been to a few gigs at Oran Mor I had it in my mind that there were plenty of tenements on Great Western Road and it was easy to find and zoom into on google maps.

Happy to accept that the townhouses on the north side of the street look quite fancy, but are the tenements on the other side of the road particularly expensive?

Marchmont's quite nice, but it wouldn't be student central if it was a particularly expensive place to stay.
 
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