Planning for Prosperity

Globally we are equally at a crossroads. The UN predicts that, ‘By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, and 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in the developing world. The world’s cities today account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions. 828 million people live in slums and the number keeps rising.

ConnectedCities offers a route which directs this momentum towards locations and settlements which house people in a manner which allows them to live prosperous lives that are in contact with both the city and the countryside - without it costing the Earth.

It is not possible to accommodate all the predicted population growth on brownfield sites, so there has to be some greenfield development. But truly sustainable development requires that brownfield and greenfield development must be coherently integrated.

Using the ConnectedCities methodology development is not normally permitted unless it is both part of a ConnectedCity and is within walking distance of inter-town public transport with a high level of service. All undeveloped land is protected, including national and regional parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest. Without these criteria being satisfied any development will be evironmentally and socially unsustainable: it will generate private car usage with the assocated congestion and carbon footprint, and not be integrated into its host communities. Only within a pedsheds of a ConnectedCity is there a presumption in favour of development.

By utilising both brownfield and greenfield development in these sustainable locations ConnectedCities can accommodate all predicted growth to 2080 and beyond. Growth will only be encouraged in these federations of existing and new towns linked by existing permanent way public transport with a high level of service.

Concerns about the impact of development on historic towns and the countryside germinated the idea. Analysing the towns on the rail lines showed that densification around existing stations could accommodate a good percentage of the growth. However, other locations would be required to meet the shortfall. Hence the proposal for new stations with new settlements.

Ebenezer Howard, the garden city movement and the post-war policy-makers and planners who created both the green belt and the new towns, saw no inconsistency between properly located and planned new settlements and preserving the countryside. ConnectedCities continues this tradition.

It may be that some prosperous areas will choose to resist accommodating any of their pro-rata quota of the new population, but they are given the option of supporting expansion elsewhere.

ConnectedCities is a means of planning for future growth (whether high or low) in a manner that means people will not be dependant on cars, and does the least damage to the countryside we all love. It is a framework for defining sustainable development locations and allowing local decisions to guide it to the correct places.

The nation is about to enter a critical debate in the next few years. If we are to preserve our legacy and hand it on to future generations undamaged we must start planning now. 

Actions - The future is now

and later:

Todays's amous ive will inherit the planet we leave them.