Name Re- imagining the garden city
Program 900 residential units
Client RIBA competitions / Letchworth City Council
Size 45 Ha
Location Letchworth, UK
Team Richard Breit – DUTCH urban solutions
Images DUTCH urban solutions
The urban competition for a new 900 unit neighbourhood in the city of Letchworth was initiated by the Letchworth City Council and the RIBA. The aim was to establish a new suburban design approach based on the original garden city design principles. The new neighbourhood was to include; urban food production, rainwater management and innovative mobility solutions.
Garden Living + Agro Living
Our proposal is based on a double face approach, the front side of each property follows the original design parameters and qualities of the garden city. With defined tree lined streets, public commons and small front gardens defined by green hedgerows. The backside of each property allows for the development of an agro-living community with maximum appropriation and adaptation by its residents. Each plot is defined by green hedgerows which provide for a unified urban character. However within the last 6 m of each plot a variety of units are allowed to be placed by their owners, varying from greenhouses, work sheds and elderly living units.
Biodiverse + Climate Responsive
The creation of the new neighbourhood provides the opportunity to reconnect natural systems and develop a community that contributes to an enhanced bio-diversity. Through the use of hedges, ponds, wadi’s and wild grass fields we aim to create an interconnected network of natural habitats that provide a home for a diversity of animals and plants. The properties are clustered around green community gardens. These gardens support urban food production and provide community garden houses for storage and greenhouse facilities. Each community garden has a pond that collects and filtrates rainwater to be used for the gardens and food production. The ponds and hedgerows collectively form a green interconnected network of natural habitats that provide a home for a diversity of animals and plants.
Mobility + Energy
Our plan aims to create a community that anticipates on the new developments in mobility while at the same time creating an environment that is designed around the needs of children and the elderly. On the front side no parking is allowed, parking is provided at the interior of each cluster. We anticipate that in the future less parking spaces will be needed and some of the parking spaces can be re-appropriated for community uses. The energy in the district is generated exclusively from renewable sources such as solar panels. In addition each house has a large conservatory which supplies energy and heat during the winter months. The aim is to create a fully self-sufficient living community, where each house is connected to a smart grid and where energy can stored and used efficiently.
Community + Engagement
Central to our approach is the digital living community which supports an active social network and facilitates the development of a food based living community. The app consists of 4 main elements; My profile, My budget, My house and My Neighbourhood. Each of these platforms allows the residents to place input and collect information on their own community. My profile provides information on what each resident needs and is will to offer in terms of support of skills. My budget is a personal budget aimed to support residents in sport, culture, care and community activities. My house is a full 3D digital environment where energy use, safety and care can be analysed by their residents. Homeowners can also develop future scenarios for home improvements and get a clear inside in cost, time, building regulations and visual impact. The last app My Neighbourhood provides an online neighbourhood app where residents can organise social events or provide informal care services to fellow residents.