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Neighbourhood design has become an important aspect during urban planning. The lecture presented by Professor Ali mainly talked about the principles of neighbourhoods, the origins and development of neighbourhood’s over different time periods. In this blog, I will mainly focus on the development and workings during the Garden City period.


  • The relationship between urban neighbourhoods and Garden City

Firstly, what is a neighbourhood plan? “A Neighbourhood Plan (sometimes called a Neighbourhood Development Plan) is a way of helping local communities to influence the planning of the area in which they live and work.”(Collinson, 2017) As Professor Ali states, it has five principles totally. It has a walking distance limit of 400m, a clear centre, identifiable edges, mixture of people and land use and street pattern.

Fig 1:Walkability and Public Transport

In terms of Garden City, there is an argument that “begins with a protest against urban overcrowding.”(Howard, 1898) Howard’s ideas of “the Garden City idea” become a base for the entire tradition for the new towns movement, even though there maybe a lack of society there is the beauty of nature.

Fig 2: The three magnets

Then Madanipour states, that when we got to the end of 19th century, the big cities were polluted, crowded and unhealthy because of the rapid industrialisation. Therefore, the neighbourhoods plan took inspiration from the Garden City, most of the European cities use it principles as a basis for development. Madanipour shown many pictures of the architectures and central garden which were constructed following the Garden City idea.

Furthermore, Madanipour mentioned that it is not possible to build “a Garden City” in a big scale, but we still have many cases where urban areas have been designed based on this idea.


  • Case study 1: Greenwich Millennium Village

Fig 3: Artist’s impression of completed village on Greenwich Peninsula

Fig 4: The model of Greenwich Millennium Village

Greenwich Millennium Village is in central London, which is a mentally sensitive project next to the Millennium Dome. Of course, it is not a real village but it has all the elements. “It is a showcase for innovations in sustainable and efficient construction.”(Hodkinson, 2000)

Hodkinson mentioned that the key aspect of the project is “the way in which these wide-scale innovations are being brought together within a single private development.” It contains conventional infrastructure and facilitites such as; schools, health centre and, ecological park, together with recreational areas which are all linked by circular paths and pedestrian routes.“The brief called for proposals that would both regenerate this derelict area and also show how similar developments could be executed to meet sustainable and efficient construction objectives.” (Hodkinson, 2000)


  • Case study 2: A planned Chinese garden city: Tianfu New Area

Fig 5: An artist’s impression of Tianfu New Area, a planned Chinese garden city.

This project is a kind of reminiscent of the British garden city in Letchworth as the planner wanted to bring this to Chengdu, which is an urban metropolis in China. Letchworth is where “the world’s first garden city was developed to overcome the pollution and squalor of Victorian industrial cities.” As we all know, most of Chinese cities have a similarity as they are all high density cities with pollution and poor health due to the development of industry. So the Chinese government is urgently seeking “resources to sustainable development”. (Ames, 2014).

While there is a striking difference between these two cities, the former has a population of 2 million, the latter has only 33,000. So there might be not enough areas in china to create such a project with that much green space, but it is still an important point for chinese urban designers to focus on which is efficient to reduce the air pollution and improve livability.


  1. Madanipour, A. (2016). Design of Neigubourhoods, [Lecture]
  2. Ames, D. (2014). Taking Letchworth to Chengdu: can garden cities work in China? [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan 2017]
  3. Howard, E. (1898). The Town-Country Magnet, London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co.
  4. Collinson, R. (2017). What is neighbourhood planning?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].
  5. Hodkinson, R. (2000). New technology and innovation at Greenwich Millennium Village,

Image References:

    Figure 1 : Walkability and Public Transport, taken from:;

    Figure 2 : The Three Magnets, Howard, E. (1898)Garden Cities of To-morrow,

    Figure 3 : Artist’s impression of completed village on Greenwich Peninsula, taken from:

    Figure 4 : The model of Greenwich Millennium Village, taken from:

    Figure 5 : An artist’s impression of Tianfu New Area, a planned Chinese garden city, taken from:

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