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Wolfson Prize Garden Cities: Chris Blundell's Chartwell scheme

A city where the car is ‘tolerated’ and design is led by the ‘guiding ideals’ of a garden city lead Chris Blundell’s submission to this years Wolfson Economics Prize

The proposal by Blundell, the director of regeneration at Golding Homes, is based on an ‘updated interpretation and reworking’ of the original Garden Cities model, with high-quality designs based on design codes approved by local people.

A key feature is the plan for competitions to award work, with the guiding ideals of the garden city ‘acting as a catalyst for good design’.

The set-up is being billed as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way that large-scale development is perceived through a new focus on design quality and sustainability, informed by engagement with the local community.

According to Blundell’s submission there is no attempt to dictate the design, which should be a product of ‘extensive and detailed engagement with local people’ through the Prince’s Foundation’s Enquiry by Design process. However, to demonstrate the vision for a new garden city in mid-Kent, key aspects of local character and distinctiveness will be identified to inform proposals which reflect and respect the best defining qualities of the area, forging a new vernacular looking forward as much as celebrating that which is familiar and comfortable.

The report states:‘This will be a new city with a diverse and talented population including young wealth creators, people who need rapid access to London for work, and experienced third age households.

‘Companies will be drawn here by the joint attractions of talented people, a high quality and sustainable community, affordability and access to London. To borrow a phrase, ‘If you build it they will come’. This will be an inclusive and sustainable mixed tenure development providing for the needs of a cross section of local people, including affordable rented, market rented, shared equity and self build options as well as a wide range of open market sale homes.’

These would be set within a series of interconnected walkable suburbs where the car is accommodated but public transport, cycling and walking celebrated.

Historic field patterns will shape the development into definable neighbourhoods.

 

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