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Planning the World’s New Towns – A Tale of Two Countries, 1975–2013

Abstract : Reflecting their extensive domestic programmes, the UK and France became major exporters of New Town planning expertise during the later twentieth century. Yet each country delivered its expertise in markedly different ways. Drawing on the UK’s own New Towns programme begun in 1946, a public-sector international New Town planning agency, the British Urban Development Services Unit, was created in 1975. However, it quickly proved unsuccessful and was abandoned in 1978. Instead, national expertise was exported by UK private planning consultants, with strong government encouragement. By contrast France, whose own Villes Nouvelles programme started in 1969, created a single public-sector planning agency, the Groupement d’intéret économique Villes Nouvelles de France, in 1984 that operated successfully overseas (latterly under a different name) until 2013. The chapter briefly considers the international efforts of the two countries, targeting oil-exporting countries, their respective former colonial empires and elsewhere. It also interprets their different approaches in light of their different political histories. Thus, the UK was much earlier affected by neo-liberal, pro-market political ideologies that instinctively favoured private- rather than public-sector approaches. This was especially so given the already established position of its private planning consultancies both in international work and in preparing the original master plans of many UK New Towns. In France, by contrast, the public sector remained strong and structured the export of planning expertise while private planning consultancies were much less important. The chapter ends by briefly considering the wider impacts of the two countries’ different approaches.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 9:05:23 PM
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Clément Orillard, Stephen V. Ward. Planning the World’s New Towns – A Tale of Two Countries, 1975–2013. Lessons from British and French New Towns: Paradise Lost?, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.129-142, 2020, ⟨10.1108/978-1-83909-430-920201009⟩. ⟨hal-03330462⟩



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