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Nothing Gained by Overcrowding!

Nothing Gained by Overcrowding!

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This publication marks the centenary of the publication in 1912 of Raymond Unwin’s pamphlet Nothing Gained by Overcrowding! and is part of a resurgence of interest in one of the most successful stories in Britain’s social and architectural history, the Garden City movement. This re-examination of Unwin’s explanation of ‘how the Garden City type of development may benefit both owner and occupier’ is published as the TCPA embarks on a campaign to remake the case for comprehensively planned new communities as part of the solution to the chronic housing crisis in England. 

Action taken to meet the nation’s housing need must involve more than just delivering housing units; we need also to create a whole range of employment opportunities (through the delivery of development and the promotion of long-term business growth), deliver a complete mix of housing types, including social and affordable housing, and address concerns such as zero carbon design, sustainable transport, open space provision and local food sourcing – all of which new garden city development can help to deliver.

The first part of this publication discusses Raymond Unwin’s early influences, including Edward Carpenter, William Morris and John Ruskin, before highlighting some of the beautiful places he designed. Together with Barry Parker, Raymond Unwin drew up the masterplan for Letchworth, the world’s first Garden City, created as a solution to the squalor and poverty of urban life in Britain in the late 19th century. Based on the ideas set out by Ebenezer Howard in To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, published in 1898, Letchworth Garden City inspired town planning across the globe.

The second part of this publication is a reproduction of Nothing Gained by Overcrowding! itself. In the final part, ‘Everything to be gained!’, Patrick Clarke explores how the application of Garden City principles to layout design can help to unlock the delivery of sustainable neighbourhoods in the 21st century.


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