Why a Garden Community?
The inventor of garden cities, Ebenezer Howard, published his vision of a fairer society back in 1899.
It was a uniquely practical idea based on sharing the values created from developing places. It proved to be the most influential and enduring examples of an alternative and sustainable way of living that the UK has ever produced. Despite its problems it still remains a powerful and hopeful blueprint for a humane future in an era framed by the health and climate crisis.
Town & Country Planning Association 2021.
Since the start of the 21st century, there has been a resurgence of garden city principles in urban design and planning across the country. This has been a reaction to decades of austerity in planning, semi-urban sprawl, poor design standards, housing inequality and environmental erosion. Architects and Planners began modernising the garden city model with citizen participation, fair trade, economic growth, energy efficiency and carbon reduction, to name just a few subjects at the forefront of urban development.
Recognising Ashford’s central economic and infrastructural role within Kent, an increasing demand for housing had been evidenced in and around the town. One of the largest sites allocated to meet this housing demand was Chilmington Green. From the word go this new community has been shaped using 21st century garden city principles. Early on it was clear that Chilmington Green would be unique, in particular because of its approach to governance and community-led stewardship as seen with the formation of the non-profit Chilmington Management Organisation.