New town

From Academic Kids

Template:Alternateuses A New town or planned community or planned city is a city, town, or community that was designed from scratch, and grew up more or less following the plan. Many of the world's capital cities are planned cities, notably Washington, DC in the United States, Abuja in Nigeria, Brasília in Brazil, Canberra in Australia, and New Delhi and Gandhinagar in India and Islamabad in Pakistan. It was also common in European colonization of the Americas to build according to a plan either on fresh ground or on the ruins of earlier Amerindian cities.


Ancient Rome

It is historically known that the city of Constantinople was a planned city. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great chose the site for the new metropolis and began construction. His plans quickly fell into place. The modern city (now Istanbul) has changed much since then, but it must be remembered that the city did not develop due to simple human migrational patterns nor pure military advantage. Constantine wanted a city to mark his magnificence and Constantinople fulfilled the desire.


The country's capital, Brasília was a planned city built in the middle of the vast empty center of Brazil, at that time (1960) thousand of kilometers from any big city. It was built in four years, and to fulfill that task there were times when concrete was transported by airplane.

The former capital of Brazil was Rio de Janeiro, and the resources tended to center around the southeast region of Brazil. While in part the city was built because there was the need for a neutral federal capital, the main reason was to promote the development of Brazil's hinterland and better integrate the entire territory of Brazil (although some say the real reason was to move the government to a place far from the masses). Brasília is approximately at the geographical center of Brazilian territory.

The city is designed in the shape of an airplane, despite the fact that Lúcio Costa insists he shaped it like a butterfly. Housing and offices are situated on giant superblocks, everything following the original plan. The plan specifies which zones are residential, which zones are commercial, where industries can settle, where official buildings can be built, the maximum height of buildings, etc.


When Prime Minister John A. MacDonald began to settle the west in Canada, he put the project under the command of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR exercised complete control over the development of land under its ownership. The federal government of Canada sold every second square mile section along the proposed railway line route to the CPR. The CPR decided where to place train stations, and thus would decide where the dominant township of the area would be. In most instances the CPR would build a station on an empty section of land in order to make the largest profit off sales - meaning that the CPR founded many of the Canadian west's townships, such as Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw, from scratch. If an existing town was close to the newly constructed station but on land not owned by the CPR, the town was forced to move itself to the new site and reconstruct itself, essentially building a new town. Calgary and Yorktown, Saskatchewan were among the towns that had to move themselves.

After the CPR established a station at a particular site, it would plan how the town would be constructed. The side of the tracks with the station would go to business, while the other side would go to warehouses. Furthermore, the CPR controlled where major buildings went (by giving the town free land to build it where the CPR wanted it to go), the construction of roads and the placement and organization of class-structured residential areas.

The CPR's influence over the development of the Canadian west's communities was one of the earliest examples of new town construction in the modern world.


A program of new towns (French villes nouvelles) was developed in the mid-1960s in France. Nine villes nouvelles were created.

Hong Kong

The area of Hong Kong is very mountainous and many places in the New Territories are remote to access by road transport. Hong Kong started developing new towns in the 1950s, to accommodate booming populations. In the early days the term "satellite cities" was used. The very first new towns included Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong. Wah Fu Estate was built in a remote corner on Hong Kong Island.

In the late 1960s and the 1970s, another stage of new town developments was launched. Nine new towns have been developed so far. Land use is carefully planned and development provides plenty of room for public housing projects. Roads and later rail transport are usually available. The first towns are Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun. Tuen Mun was intended to be self-reliant, but was not successful. Recent developments are Tin Shui Wai and North Lantau (Tung Chung - Tai Ho).


The period following independence saw India being defined into smaller geographical regions. New states like Gujarat were formed, hence their capitals were planned.


Derry was the first ever planned city in Ireland, it was begun in 1613, which is when the name was changed to Londonderry. The walls were actually completed 5 years later in 1618. The central diamond within a walled city with four gates was thought to be a good design for defence.[1] (

In Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, the term "new town" is often used to refer to planned towns built after World War II which were discussed as early as 1941. The term "new town" in Ireland was also used for some earlier developments, notably during the Georgian era. Part of Limerick city was built in a planned fashion as "Newtown Pery".

In 1961 the first new town of Shannon was commenced and a target of 6,000 inhabitants was set, this has been exceeded. Craigavon in County Armagh was also a successful town built in Northern Ireland and commenced in 1966 outside of Belfast and has a population exceeding 50,000. It was not until 1967 that the Wright Report planned four towns in County Dublin. These were Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Lucan and Tallaght but in actuallity this was reduced to Blanchardstown, Lucan-Clondalkin and Tallaght, each of these towns has approximately 50,000 inhabitants today. None of the Dublin towns were particularily successful this is partly due to their proximity to the city of Dublin and lack of services.

Craigavon and Shannon were the more successful towns but it took several decades for them to mature. Craigavon was somewhat less successful than Shannon, with entire blocks of apartments and shops lying empty, and later derelict, before eventually being bulldozed. The area is now mostly a dormitory town for Belfast. Shannon is of some regional importance today as an economic centre (with the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon International Airport), but until recently failed to expand in population as anticipated. Since the late 1990s, and particularly in the early 2000s, the population has been expanding at a much faster rate, with town rejuvenation, new retail and entertainment facilities and many new housing developments.

The most recent new town in Ireland is Adamstown in County Dublin. As of 2005, building has commenced and it is anticipated that occupation will commence later in this year with the main development being completed within a ten year timescale.


Borrowed from New Town movement in the UK, Japan has built some 30 new towns all over the country. Most of them are located near Tokyo and Kansai regions. These towns, unlike those in the UK, do not provide employments. Much of the residents commute to the nearby city. These towns fostered the infamous congestion of commuter trains.

Japan has also developed the concept of new towns to what Manuel Castells and Sir Peter Hall call technopole.

In the past, the Japanese government had proposed relocating the capital to a planned city, but this plan was cancelled.


One province of The Netherlands, Flevoland (pop. 330,000 (March 2002)), was reclaimed from IJsselmeer.

After a flood in 1916, it was decided that the Zuiderzee, an inland sea within the Netherlands, would be closed and reclaimed. In 1932, the Afsluitdijk was completed, which closed off the sea completely. The Zuiderzee was subsequently called IJsselmeer.

The first part of the new lake that was reclaimed was the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder). This new land included, among others, the former island of Urk and it was included with the province of Overijssel.

After this, other parts were also reclaimed: the eastern part in 1957 and the southern part in 1968. The municipalities on the three parts voted to become a separate province, which happened in 1986. The capital of Flevoland is Lelystad, but the biggest city is Almere (pop. 170.704 in January 2004).

New towns outside Flevoland are Hoofddorp and IJmuiden near Amsterdam, Hellevoetsluis near Rotterdam and the navy port Den Helder.


The very diverse layouts in Poland's planned cities is the result of the different aesthetics that were held as ideal during the development of these planned communities. Planned cities in Poland have a long history and fall primarily into three time periods during which planned towns developed in Poland. These are the Nobleman's Republic (16th-18th c.), the interwar period (1918-1939) and Socialist Realism (1944-1956).

Nobleman's Republic

The extreme opulence that Poland's nobility enjoyed during the Renaissance left Poland's elites with not only obscene amounts of money to spend, but also motivated them to find new ways to invest their hefty fortunes away from the grasp of the Royal Treasury. Jan Zamoyski, Great Crown Chancellor and Hetman whose financial empire within the Polish Republic was known as the "Zamoyski Ordinate" spanned 6400 km² with 11 cities and over 200 villages, in addition to the royal lands he controlled of over 17 500 km² with 112 cities and 612 villages. The "Zamoyski Ordinate" functioned as a country with in a country, and Zamoyski founded the city of Zamość in order to circumvent royal tariffs and duties while also serving as the capital for his mini-state. Zamość as he named his city was planned by the renowned Paduan architect Bernardo Morando and modelled on Renaissance theories of the 'ideal city'. Realizing the importance of trade, Zamoyski issued special location charters for representatives of peoples traditionally engaged in trade, i.e. to Greeks, Armenians and Sefardic Jews and secured exemptions on taxes, customs duties and tolls, which contributed to its fast development. Zamość was so successful that 11 years after its construction began it had only 26 empty lots left. During the following years Zamość Academy and numerous churches were built as well as fortifications were completed. Zamość Zamoyski's success spawned numerous other Polish nobles to found their own "private" cities such as Bialystok and many of these towns survive today, while Zamość was added to the UN World Heritage list in 1992 and is today considered one of the most precious urban complexes in Europe and in the world.

Interwar period

The preeminent example of a planned community in interwar Poland is Gdynia. After World War I when Poland regained its independence it lacked a commercial seaport, making it necessary to build one from scratch. The extensive and modern seaport facilities in Gdynia, the most modern and extensive port facilities in Europe at the time, became Poland's central port on the Baltic. In the shadow of the port, the city took shape mirroring in its scope only the rapid development of 19th century Chicago, going from a small fishing village of 1,300 in 1921 into a full blown city with a population over 126,000 less than 20 years later. The City's Central Business District that developed in Gdynia is a showcase of Art Deco and Modernist architectural styles and predominate much of the cityscape. There are also villas, particularly in the city's villa districts such as Kamienna Góra where Historicism inspired Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque architecture

Socialist realism

After the destruction of most Polish cities in World War II, the Communist regime that took power in Poland sought to bring about architecture that was in line with its vision of society. Thus urban complexes arose that reflected the ideals of socialist realism. This can be seen in districts of Polish cities such as Warsaw's MDM. The City of Nowa Huta (now district of Krakow) was built as the epitome of the proletarian future of Poland.


The new town planning concept was introduced into Singapore with the building of the first New Town, Queenstown from July 1952 to 1973 by the country's public housing authority, the Housing and Development Board. Today, the vast majority of the approximately 11,000 public housing flats are organised into 22 new towns across the country.

Each new town is designed to be completely self-sustainable. Helmed by a hierachy of commercial developments ranging from a town centre to precinct-level outlets, there is no need to venture out of town to meet the most common needs of residences. Employment can be found in industral estates located within several towns. Educational, health care, and recreational needs are also taken care of with the provision of schools, hospitals, parks, sports complexes, and so on.

Singapore's expertise in successful new town design was international recognised when the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) of the United Nations awarded the World Habitat Award to Tampines New Town, which was selected as a representative of Singapore's new towns, on 5 October 1992.

United Kingdom

The term is used in the UK, in the main, to refer to the towns developed after World War II under the New Towns Act 1946.

But the idea has a far longer history. The town of Winchelsea is said to be the first new town in Britain, constructed to a grid system under the instructions of King Edward I in 1280, and largely completed by 1292.

Around 1900 the garden city movement, following on the ideas of Ebenezer Howard and Sir Patrick Geddes and the work of Raymond Unwin, manifested itself at Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, England.

Following World War II, a number of towns (eventually numbering 28) were designated as New Towns and were developed partly to house the large numbers of people who had lost homes during the War. New Towns policy was also informed by a series wartime commissions, including:

  • the Barlow Commission (1940) into the distribution of industrial population,
  • the Scott Committee into rural land use (1941)
  • the Uthwatt Committee into compensation and betterment (1942)
  • (later) the Reith Report into New Towns (1947).

Also crucial to thinking was the Abercrombie Plan for London (1944), which envisaged moving 1.5 million people from London to new and expanded towns. Together these committees reflected a strong consensus to halt the uncontrolled sprawl of London and other large cities, under the axiom if we can build better, we can live better. This consensus should probably be viewed in conjunction with emerging concern for social welfare reform (typified by the Beveridge Report).

The first completed New Town (1946) was Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

In the 1960s a number of New Towns were built in the south-east of England including Milton Keynes, famous (or perhaps infamous) for its car-oriented layout featuring many roundabouts and a grid-based road system (very unusual in the UK). Washington was another, contrasting with the planned city of Washington, DC. In the 1990s an experimental "new town" developed by The Prince of Wales was started at Poundbury in Dorset.

Until the 1980s responsibility for developing the New Towns lay with New Town Development Corporations, under the umbrella of The Commission for the New Towns. From then, control was progressively repatriated to the local authorities, a process complete by 1992. Individual assets took longer to transfer.

New towns in Wales: Cwmbran, Newtown

There are five post-war new towns in Scotland: Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Irvine and Livingston.

See also: Town and Country Planning in the United Kingdom; New towns in the United Kingdom for the full list of post-war new towns.

United States

Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959
Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959

In the early history of America, planned communities were quite common: Jamestown, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, and Annapolis are examples of this trend. Washington, DC, Indianapolis, Indiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; Maidson, Wisconsin; Tallahassee, Florida; and Austin, Texas are unusual, having been carved out of the wilderness to serve as capital cities. (Other cities with this distinction are Brasília in Brazil, Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire, Canberra in Australia and Islamabad in Pakistan.)

Pullman, now incorporated into Chicago's Southwest side, was a world renowned company town founded by the industrialist George M. Pullman in the 1880's. Greenbelt, Maryland, which was built in the 1930s, was one of a series of planned communities built during that era. The Levittowns - in Long Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - typified the planned communities of the 1950s and early 1960s. California's Rohnert Park is another example of a planned city built at the same time as Levittown's which was marketed to attract middle class people into an area only populated with farmers with the phrase, "A Country Club for the middle class."

The era of the modern planned city began in 1963 with the creation of Reston, Virginia, which was begun just a year before Columbia, Maryland. In more recent years, New Urbanism has set the stage for new cities, with places like the idyllic Seaside, Florida and Disney's new town of Celebration, Florida.

See also

External links

de:Gartenstadt fr:Ville nouvelle id:Kota terencana ja:ニュータウン zh:新市鎮


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