In this lecture, there were several areas that were covered. It covered neighbourhood design which included concepts related to site analysis, transport, clustering, centres & use, open space design and network of streets. The session also covered the ‘origins of the idea’ where the lecture looks at the origins of ideas and concepts about neighbourhood design ideas. The lecture covers, origins such as the ancient cities, renaissance cities, and the trends of anti-urbanism and urbanism. Renaissance cities, Victorian cities, new age cities, and their pollution are all covered. In the section about Garden Cities, Ebenezer Howard’s garden cities are discussed, and images reviewed to show the examples. In the section of New Towns, the lecture covers the post-war new towns and their characteristics. There are many examples including Telford, Washington, Runcord, and Redditch. These are classified in their corresponding classes such as First and Second-Generation cities. In the section about New Urbanism, the focus is on the concept of urbanism and how it influences the spaces created. The issues of civic and commercial aspects of neighbourhoods are discussed. Several examples are provided including Florida. In the last section about the future of the idea, the lecture covers several aspects including garden cities, increasing demand for housing, eco-towns, and urban villages. The main focus is to examine the current and future trends in the design of neighbourhoods.
One of the most interesting themes in this lecture is that of Garden Cities. In the lecture, there is a lot of discussion about garden cities and how they were designed. Ebenezer Howard’s designs of the garden cities are discussed, and this creates an interesting opportunity to understand how modern ones can be developed. Bigon & Katz (2014, p. 45) defined garden cities as new towns that are designed with a lot of greenery/vegetation and open spaces. In the lecture, there is a case study/example of the garden cities designed in China as shown below.
Figure 1: Example of a garden city design concept in China (Ames, 2014)
From the environmental problems that are being experienced today, it is notable that the concept of garden cities can play an important role in helping the world reduce environmental degradation or improve the natural environment (Bigon & Katz, 2014, p.39). From the case study of China, it is evident that such a concept or design is possible today.
Figure 2: Roof Gardens in Singapore can help achieve garden cities. (Suriyaarachchi, 2015)
A case study of Singapore also shows the concept has been accepted and implemented in several areas. In the above image, it shows an example roof garden approach that can help provide a lot of greenery in modern cities.
From the concepts displayed above, it emerges that it is possible to achieve garden cities in existing cities (Corbett & Corbett, 2000, p.118). The cities do not need re-planning or full redesign to ensure that sustainability is achieved. All that is required is increased effort in putting more greenery in the existing buildings. From the look of the situation in Singapore, it is clear that authorities in cooperation with other stakeholders can increase greenery to achieve garden cities. It means that the concept of garden cities is important, and it can be achieved today without redesign of existing towns. It is also good to achieve it with minimum effort to reduce the amount of resources required by property owners in cities (Bigon & Katz, 2014, p.77). Achieving such a concept is critical in modern cities to ensure that there are sustained efforts being made to achieve sustainability (Lye & Chen, 2010, p.21). If this is achieved in cities, it creates better neighbourhoods where the quality of life is better. When new cities and neighbourhoods are being planned, it is important that planners and designers consider the approach of garden cities to improve the quality of modern neighbourhoods.
Ames, D. (2014). Taking Letchworth to Chengdu: can garden cities work in China? [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2014/dec/02/garden-cities-china-chengdu-letchworth [Accessed 31 December 2017].
Bigon, L. and Katz, Y. (2014). Garden Cities and Colonial Planning: Transnationality and Urban Ideas in Africa and Palestine. Oxford University Press.
Corbett, J. & Corbett, M. (2000). Designing Sustainable Communities: Learning From Village Homes. Island Press.
Lye, L.F. & Chen, G. (2010). Towards a Liveable and Sustainable Urban Environment: Eco-Cities in East Asia. World Scientific.
Suriyaarachchi, R. (2015). 9 BREATHTAKING ROOFTOP GARDENS AROUND THE WORLD. [Online] Available at: http://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/rooftop-gardens/#.WktcANKWat8 [Accessed 31 December 2017].