Vision from 2050
Each local area chose whether or not to accommodate their pro rata share of the growth. Those that chose to grant planning permission for more than their share were assisted with government funding raised from those that chose to provide less. Thus some localities experienced no or minimal growth by voting to assist those which wished to expand.
As a result, London and South East England have not experienced over-intense development, but now have an additional 5-6M people enjoying improved access to both Central London and the countryside. Job growth has mainly occurred in the new ConnectedCities, easing the pressure on commuting.
Prosperity has spread out from the South East to the Midlands and West. The North, united by greatly improved transport infrastructure, has again become a major economic driver.
There are ConnectedCities in all the main regions. Sustainable growth has occurred on both brownfield and greenfield sites, and full employment is now the norm.
Until about ten years ago the focus was on dealing with the housing shortage, and the growth occurred equally in new green quarters, new green towns and town growth zones, all served by frequent, popular and constantly improving rail services.
Now the economic drive of the construction surge is abating, but the commerce and manufacturing which grew in the ConnectedCities as small towns became more efficient and prosperous is enabling the focus to shift towards the provision of services and amenities.
Both the ConnectedCities and the large metropolitan cities have a balance of jobs and homes. Most people live and work in the same ConnectedCity or a neighbouring one. But they also have an easy journey to the cultural capital of the region, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and range of cultural, commercial and administrative facilities.
Longer-distance commuting has fallen. Those still obliged to commute into the metropolis often travel only on certain days, and work in local TeleCentres or at home on the other days.