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Now more 100 years after the founding of the first garden city, with history and experience of town design, community development and application of the garden city model, we ask what lessons can be learned? What should the principles of a 21st century garden city be? We believe that many of Howard's original instincts to be correct, but how can these be delivered in a modern setting? 

The former Mayor of Letchworth Garden city, Philip Ross in collaboration with Prof. Yves Cabannes of UCL have established the New Garden City Movement as a network with the aim to define and justify the principles that should underpin a Garden City in the 21st century. The ideas come as a result of a meeting of minds and ideas sparked discussing issues with people from Lisbon, Colombia, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London and subsequently meeting and speaking with people from Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela.

  • In May 2012, Prof Cabannes, Philip Ross and John Lewis from Letchworth Heritage Foundation visited Chengdu in China to discuss the 12 principles. Chengdu aims to become a garden city. They also delivered their presentation to the Academy of Sciences at Beijing.
  • In September 2012, the Habitat World forum in Naples held a fringe meeting on the subject of community land trusts at which Prof. Cabannes and Philip Ross also spoke.
  • In April 2013, Michael King (an energy expert) and David Ames from the Letchworth Foundation followed up on the previous visit to Chengdu by visiting again to discuss sustainability in the context of garden cities.
  • In May 2013 the revised pamphlet - The Garden City Manifesto - has been prepared for publication this builds on the work around the 12 principles with further examples and discussion.
There are plans to translate the works on the 12 principles into Chinese for distribution in China.

Philip Ross
Philip Ross was Mayor of Letchworth Garden City from 2007-9 and an outspoken advocate and defender of Garden City values and principles. In 2009 he won a landmark High Court battle that ensured that the Letchworth Heritage Foundation - who manage the garden city estate - remained accountable to the people of the town.

He has spoken and written on the issue of Garden Cities and sustainable development in both the UK and China. In 1999 he was one of the founders of the Professional Contractors Group, Britain’s first on-line trade association. Among the achievements of the Group was the presentation of the first ever ePetition to Parliament and one of the first ever uses of crowd funding on the internet to raise over half a million pounds to fund a court case against the Government’s IR35 tax. As well as reforming the tax, Philip also successful led the campaign to stop the fast track visa scheme that was costing UK freelancers their jobs. Philip has also worked in Parliament as an MP’s Senior Researcher and head of his Parliamentary Office. He is Chartered Engineer and has worked as an IT and business specialist at many of the UK’s leading software companies and major banks. He served for seven years as a trustee of the British Computer Society the chartered body for IT professionals. He currently works in London for a small specialist business consultancy.

Prof. Yves Cabannes
Urban Planner and activist specializing in urban and municipal governance. Visiting post-graduate scholar in European and Latin American universities and lecturer in Urban Planning, Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2004-2006). Long experience coordinating research programmes on urban and municipal governance, including on participatory planning and budgeting, and innovative municipal poverty reduction practices. In 1997-2003 was Regional Coordinator, UN Habitat/UNDP Urban Management Program for Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently convener for UN Advisory Group on Forced Evictions. Was senior advisor to the International Centre for Urban Management, CIGU, Ecuador, and the Municipality of Porto Alegre, Brazil (International Network on Participatory Budgeting and Municipal Finance).