England “Eco Towns”: Housing Development Introduction One of the end products of urbanisation is the emergence of megacities mainly in developed and developing countries. Overcrowding has raised numerous constraints to public life as well as to the successful operation of risk management in megacities…
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As the preliminary step, Department for Communities and Local Government announced a project to build up 10 eco-towns. This project proposal was duly supported by organisations such as Town and Country Planning Association. However, some institutions are sceptical about the success of the proposed project. Although the government got many suggestions on the proposed eco-towns, none of the plans was worth enough to ensure the effectiveness of the project framework. Subsequent to the long term discussions and consultation, the government published a new planning policy statement in 2009 that contained the basic ideas for the eco-towns. This paper will explore the sustainability of England’s eco-towns from a planning perspective. Features of England’s eco-town project England’s eco-town project is an innovative idea as it is highly relevant to the modern concept of infrastructural development. One of the objectives of eco-town project agreement is to build up 5,000 to 15,000 low carbon homes. The most significant feature of this project is that it would sharply comply with the framed set of environmental criteria; and hence the whole town under this plan would be carbon neutral (Eco-Town Report). This fascinating feature of the new project would assist the nation to mitigate its energy consumption rates. Similarly, the infrastructural facilities designed for this project ensure the public access to adjacent towns and cities in order to satisfy their requirements including jobs, transport, and services. Hopefully, a fixed percentage of new homes under this project would be affordable to all people. However, other varieties such as larger houses would also be available under this plan so as to meet the requirements of families with children and poor economic status. In short, the concept of eco-towns addresses the needs of different classes of the society by offering them diverse ranges of lifestyle facilities. In addition, the eco-towns will be leveraged with schools, shops, business space, and other modern facilities within the vicinity. The concept of eco-towns is a modified version of “green towns in Hammarby in Stockholm, Sweden and Vauban in Freiburg, Germany” (Q & A: Ecotowns, 2008). At the initial stage of the project, the government declared 15 locations across the England as the potential area for the project. In order to focus on each project effectively, the government has whittled down the 15 locations to10 after a three months’ local consultation phase. Among the 10 shortlisted locations, the government has decided to build 5 eco-towns by the end of 2016. The construction of remaining half portion of eco-towns has put off to 2020. In order for formulating an effective plan for these towns, some most celebrated architects are still working on this project. As some other notable features, the homes will be south-facing as it enables the ease capture of heat energy from the sun with the application of photovoltaic panels. “There will also be plenty of green spaces, ample cycle lanes, and fewer roads for cars” (Q & A: Ecotowns, 2008). This expansional concept can be attributed to the developmental notions of Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of UK. Housing and environment were the two basic requirements according to Brown’s agenda. By designing this project, he thought to achieve both these
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