Greening the urban future - Black Country Garden City

Announced on Tuesday 15 March at MIPIM, the international property festival, the Black Country Garden City will be Britain's biggest garden city with the building of 45,000 homes over 1,500 hectares of brownfield land to encourage investment, economic growth and transform the area as a place to live and work.

The idea originated in a submission, Albion: A garden city, for the Wolfson Economic Prize which posed the question of "How would you deliver a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?",

"Garden city thinking should not be trapped in the 1920s. All that we have learnt in the late 20th century and since about urbanism, city living, street design, urban regeneration, the property market, localism, development trusts, and sustainable transport and energy should inform the 21st century garden city. That is what we have done with Albion" David Tittle MADE CEO 
"We believe that our location gives us massive advantages in terms of existing infrastructure, public service, parks and green spaces, access to employment and a history of co-operation between public and private bodies that translates into big savings in the costs of development"

The Albion plans which were submitted sought to transform the Black Country's four boroughs, 30 towns and 300 villages building on strong infrastructure from the area's manufacturing past and looking forward to the potential held by urban regeneration of the area.

Artists impression of the Garden City, plans for Dudley Port and Greater Lye earmarked for housing, reproduced from

While the proposal was unsuccessful in the competition,, the idea was developed and has been brought to MIPIM 2016 to seek £6bn of investment to build the 45,000 homes for the Garden City.

What the region’s famously phlegmatic inhabitants make of such hubris remains to be seen. But their long-held reticence to talk themselves and their region up may be misplaced. The Black Country is the fastest growing area within the Midlands and attracted record levels of foreign business investment last year. The region boasts thriving automotive, aerospace and construction sectors that contribute more than £1bn to the UK economy.

 I recently attended the Big Midlands Meet, Design and the Midlands Engine, on Tuesday 15th March and this bold ambition was discussed and the ability to meet housing needs but also the aspirations of those who already live in the post industrial future.  It's a really bold and exciting vision that can utilise strong transport and services infrastructure, a rich mix of water and green spaces and development sites that can add density to support public transport and meet not only local but regional housing needs.

While some will question this Garden City in keeping with other examples, this could be a fantastic idea to regenerate and transform the area both in form and for the people who live here and will be drawn to this exciting future.

You can read the prospectus below:

Reproduced from:


Shane said…
Great post Simon, thanks for sharing

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