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Idea by

Joanne Preston

11 Kingsmead House, London, United Kingdom
Joanne is an architectural designer, writer and educator based in London. Her work looks at the (im)material culture of the home to explore relations between architecture practice and housing inequality. She holds a MArch and BSc in Architecture from the Bartlett and is the recipient of the Architects’ Journal/Hoare Lea research bursary. Her work has been published in the Architects’ Journal, RIBA Education Journal and Asymmetrical Labors: The Economy of Theory and Practice in Architecture.

Rethink Garden Cities of Tomorrow


Towards humane housing

Rethink Garden Cities of Tomorrow


Towards humane housing
Let’s use architecture to oppose the inhumane revisitation of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideas

A recomposition of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideal—promising the best of town and country—is being exploited by developers of high density new-builds on the outskirts of central London. These ‘urban villages’ operate on sites of ‘regenerated’ (demolished) modernist social housing estates. Blurring the urban and the rural, these developments mask the unprofitable byproducts of neoliberal city life while simultaneously profiting from their proximity to its inflated real estate market. Their construction is a composition of the physical and semantic—bricks and mortar hold equal significance to the careful curation of signs, gestures, and cultural and class signifiers. These developments increase their own capital value by reinforcing heteronormative, middle class ideas of domestic life; benefitting those who conform while othering less profitable ways of being. Let’s call for humane housing and use architectural practice not to construct, but to expose London’s new suburbs as harmful


Top: the Ferrier estate in Greenwich, London. Constructed in 1968, the Ferrier was ‘regenerated’ (razed to the ground) in 2012 and the area rebranded as Kidbrooke Village, London's new garden suburb (below)

Top: the Ferrier estate in Greenwich, London. Constructed in 1968, the Ferrier was ‘regenerated’ (razed to the ground) in 2012 and the area rebranded as Kidbrooke Village, London's new garden suburb (below)

Rethink Garden Cities of Tomorrow


Towards humane housing

Rethink Garden Cities of Tomorrow


Towards humane housing
Let’s use architecture to oppose the inhumane revisitation of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideas

A recomposition of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideal—promising the best of town and country—is being exploited by developers of high density new-builds on the outskirts of central London. These ‘urban villages’ operate on sites of ‘regenerated’ (demolished) modernist social housing estates. Blurring the urban and the rural, these developments mask the unprofitable byproducts of neoliberal city life while simultaneously profiting from their proximity to its inflated real estate market. Their construction is a composition of the physical and semantic—bricks and mortar hold equal significance to the careful curation of signs, gestures, and cultural and class signifiers. These developments increase their own capital value by reinforcing heteronormative, middle class ideas of domestic life; benefitting those who conform while othering less profitable ways of being. Let’s call for humane housing and use architectural practice not to construct, but to expose London’s new suburbs as harmful


Top: the Ferrier estate in Greenwich, London. Constructed in 1968, the Ferrier was ‘regenerated’ (razed to the ground) in 2012 and the area rebranded as Kidbrooke Village, London's new garden suburb (below)

Top: the Ferrier estate in Greenwich, London. Constructed in 1968, the Ferrier was ‘regenerated’ (razed to the ground) in 2012 and the area rebranded as Kidbrooke Village, London's new garden suburb (below)


Idea by

Joanne Preston
11 Kingsmead House
London
United Kingdom
Joanne is an architectural designer, writer and educator based in London. Her work looks at the (im)material culture of the home to explore relations between architecture practice and housing inequality. She holds a MArch and BSc in Architecture from the Bartlett and is the recipient of the Architects’ Journal/Hoare Lea research bursary. Her work has been published in the Architects’ Journal, RIBA Education Journal and Asymmetrical Labors: The Economy of Theory and Practice in Architecture.