The conference on Garden Cities/ Towns / Suburbs and Villages at Letchworth on 22 February 2017 has signalled the next phase of the new Garden City movement. We have a resolution from this gathering of enthusiasts, cooperatives, towns and villages starting on the next wave of Garden village developments and economists refining the expression of land value capture.
Garden City Declaration
We believe that a Garden City should be focused on successful outcomes rather than the use of specific techniques or methods. We would expect that successful outcomes are achieved through a land value capture system, and also with strong and effective participation and accountability in both the design and development and future governance of any Garden City.
This conference resolves that the outcomes that a Garden Town\Village\City should aim for and be judged against should be that it creates a place that is
Why capturing land value has never been so relevant
The pioneering principles of Ebenezer Howard included health and citizenship, as well as an understanding of the role people who live in a new place play in creating its attractiveness and value. We are now looking at the role of public investment and why this should also result in people owning the uplift in land value that is the consequence. A paper on this is to be published and I will be reviewing it, but it starts with a very relevant story: the taxpayers of London invested 3.5 billion pounds sterling in the 1990s to improve the underground and build the Jubilee Line, property values in 1000 yards of each station jumped but the rents went to the landlords.
But this story continues…
A 1990s shiny and still newish entrance hall to the Jubilee Line North Greenwich station is on such valuable land that it is to be torn down and replaced by a shopping centre and towers above the station. Greenwich Peninsula is to be home to more than 10,000 new residents. and therefore says the Evening Standard on 22 February 2017 “spending 1 billion pounds on a single glass building to hold the futuristic new North Greenwich Tube Station with new flats, hotel, shops and offices seems to fit the bill. Its three towers will each rise more than 30 stories above the station.”
The community of course has not received any of the land value uplift that has tempted this cycle of redevelopment after 25 years to be proposed. To add insult to injury the vicar of this new Greenwich Peninsula community is told there is not sufficient viability to afford a community space and hall in the development for this new congregation. As a Fellow of the RSA and part of the local Greenwich branch, we have received an appeal for help from the vicar. Had a mechanism to capture some land value for the community here this modest request could have been met.