First ConnectedCity

The study is of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, typical Home Counties under high development pressure. The methodology identifies nine potential Hub Towns for ConnectedCities, and the areas of search for development sites within a maximum of 15 minutes travel time from their Hub stations.

First ConnectedCity

The ‘First ConnectedCity’ (FCC) is in North Hertfordshire and East Bedfordshire on the East Coast Main Line. Its towns include Letchworth (the first Garden City), and Stevenage (the first New Town), the market town of Hitchin and adjacent small towns and villages.

The settlements and their rural hinterland currently has a total current population of 225,000. The towns are served by trains approx every 15 minutes 18 hours/day from Kings Cross to Peterborough and Cambridge.


The name ‘First ConnectedCity’ is used in this case study for reasons of democracy and historical precedent.

  • Democracy because the names of ConnectedCites will not be imposed from outside but decided by the inhabitants of the towns of which they are composed, and;

  • Historical precedent because First Garden City Ltd established and ran Letchworth, the first Garden City.


Both North and East Hertfordshire are in the lowest third of district population densities in England, with North Herts ranked as 211th of the 326 districts and an average density of 340 person/ and East Herts 224th with a density of 291 p/ The average for England is 395 p/

The now defunct East of England Plan proposed large-scale development to the west and north of Stevenage. North Herts council have recently published proposals for development there and in other areas, none of them well-served by inter-town transport.

FCC Even Growth Target Population

The population of the towns is around 225,000, which is 0.35% of the total UK population.

If the FCC is accommodate its pro-rate proportion of the national demand, it must provide housing for 0.35% of 20M by 2050, and 0.35% of 24M by 2080. Thus the ‘even growth’ scenario indicates that by 2050 the population of the towns of the First ConnectedCity would have increased by 71,000 to 295,000, and by 2080 it will have increased by 85,000 to 310,000.

The Existing Towns

Development Choices

Scenario 1 - No Greenfield Development

Scenario 2 - Fully developing the pedsheds of existing stations

Scenario 3 - New freestanding towns

Scenario 4 - Extending existing towns



Location of the First ConnectedCity