Planned community

Planned community
Navi Mumbai, India is the world's largest planned city.

A planned community, or planned city, is any community that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are less frequent in planned communities since they are planned carefully. New towns can apply to specific communities especially in the United Kingdom where they are created under the New Towns Act 1946.

Navi Mumbai, a planned city near the Indian city of Mumbai, is the largest planned township in the world. It was also common in the European colonization of the Americas to build according to a plan either on fresh ground or on the ruins of earlier Amerindian cities.


Planned capital cities

Several of the world's capital cities are planned cities, including Washington, D.C., in the United States, Canberra in Australia, Brasília in Brazil, Belmopan in Belize, New Delhi in India, Abuja in Nigeria, Astana in Kazakhstan and Islamabad in Pakistan.


Mainland China

Many ancient cities in China, especially those on the North China Plain, were carefully designed according to the fengshui theory, featuring square or rectangular city walls, rectilinear road grid, and symmetrical layout. Famous examples are Chang'an in Tang dynasty and Beijing.

In modern China, many special economic zones are developed from the sketch, for example, Pudong, a new district of Shanghai.

South Asia

Ancient history

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization which thrived in present-day Pakistan and western parts of the modern day Republic of India from around 2600 BC. The quality of municipal city planning suggests knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene. The streets of major cities in present day Pakistan such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, the world's earliest planned cities, were laid out in a perfect grid pattern comparable to that of present day New York City. The houses were protected from noise, odours, and thieves.

As seen in the ancient sites of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, this urban plan included the world's first urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes.

The ancient Indus systems of sewage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus Valley were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in some areas of modern South Asia today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls.

Medieval history

A number of medieval Indian cities were planned including:

Modern history

The period following independence saw India being defined into smaller geographical regions. New states such as Gujarat were formed with planned capital cities. The major planned cities of India include:

In Pakistan, the most notable planned city is the capital Islamabad, whose first foundations were laid during the 1950s. Sargodha, Faisalabad, Gwadar Chenab Nagar and D.G.Khan are also planned cities.


In the period of the Persian Safavid Empire, Isfahan, the Persian capital, was built according to a planned scheme, consisting of a long boulevard and planned housing and green areas around it.

In modern day Iran more than 20 planned cities have been developed or are under construction, mostly around Iran's main metropolitan areas such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz. Some of these new cities are built for special purposes such as:

  • Pardis, which is built as a scientific city.
  • Poulad-Shahr, which is an industrial city built for the housing of Isfahan's steel industry workers.
  • Shirin Shahr which is to provide housing for the sugar industry personnel.
  • Tehranpars which was built to house Tehran's additional population.
  • Shahrak-e Gharb, built as a massive project of modern apartment buildings.
  • Parand which is intended to provide residences for the staff of Imam Khomeini International Airport.
  • Shushtar New Town which was built to provide housing for the employees of a sugar cane processing plant.

576,000 people were been planned to be settled in Iran's new towns by the year 2005.

For a list of Iran's modern planned cities see: List of Iran's planned cities.


A planned community in the Negev

According to politics of country settlement a number of planned cities were created in peripheral regions. Those cities also known as Development Towns. The most successful is Ashdod with more than 200,000 inhabitants, a port and developed infrastructure. Other cities that were developed following lineation plan are Karmiel and Arad. Modi'in has been another of the country's most successful planned cities, construction began in 1994, it now has a population of over 67,000. Modi'in also rates higher in terms of average salary and graduation rates than the national average, Israeli architect Moshe Safdie designed and planned the city. Many Israeli settlements characteristically follow this model, including towns like Modi'in Illit and Betar Illit.


Kyoto was built on a grid system, starting in 794.

The city of Kyoto was developed as a planned city in 794 as a new imperial capital (then called Heian-kyō), built on a grid layout modeled after the Tang dynasty capital of Chang'an (modern day Xi'an), and remained the capital for over a millennium. The grid layout remains, reflected in major east-west streets being numbered, such as 4th street (四条 shi-jō?). In modern times, Sapporo was built from 1868, following an American grid plan, and is today the fifth-largest city in Japan. Both these cities have regular addressing systems (following the grid) unlike the usual subdivision-based Japanese addressing system.



In the West Bank, the city of Rawabi has been under construction since January 2010.


Quezon City was the planned city of President Manuel L. Quezon. He proposed a new city to be built northeast of Manila. Carefully planned districts include the Santa Mesa Heights (part of the original Burnham plan), Diliman Estate (includes the University of the Philippines), New Manila, Cubao Commercial District, South Triangle, Housing Projects 1 (Roxas district), 2 & 3 (Quirino District), 4, 5 (Kamias-Kamuning District), 6, 7, and 8. President Elpidio Quirino proclaimed Quezon City as capital of the Philippines on July 17, 1948. President Ferdinand Marcos restored Manila as capital on June 24, 1976. He then created a metropolitan area called Metro Manila. Due to the failed plan execution, Metro Manila remains congested.

Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah Economic City, a future planned city along the Red Sea located in Saudi Arabia.

In 1975, Jubail Industrial City, also known as Jubail, was designated as a new industrial city by the Saudi government. It provides 50% of the country's drinking water through desalination of the water from the Persian Gulf.

South Korea

New Songdo City is a planned international business centre to be developed on 6 square kilometres of reclaimed land along Incheon's waterfront, 65 kilometres west of Seoul and connected to Incheon International Airport by a 10 kilometre highway bridge. This 10-year development project is estimated to cost in excess of $40 billion, making it the largest private development project ever undertaken anywhere in the world.

Since the 1990s, several planned communities were built in the Seoul Metropolitan Area to alleviate housing demands in Seoul. They include:

  • Several ongoing developments in Hwaseong,including Bongdam, Dongtan, and Hyangnam
  • Bundang, Seongnam City
  • Ilsan, Goyang City
  • Pangyo, Seongnam City




Louvain-la-Neuve, built for the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Slobomir is a new town in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its name means: "the city of freedom and peace". It is located on the Drina river near Bijeljina. It was founded by Slobodan Pavlović, a Bosnian philanthropist. It aims to be one of the major cities of post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, the city will be located in two countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, although majority of it will be in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city is named after its founder, Slobodan Pavlović, and his wife, Mira.


The cities of Stara Zagora and Kazanlak, in central Bulgaria, were rebuilt as planned cities after they were burnt to the ground in the 1877-1878 Russia-Turkey War. Also the city of Dimitrovgrad in south Bulgaria, that was planned as a key industrial and infrastructure center.


Fredericia was designed as a combination of town and military fortress following the devastation caused by the Thirty Years' War. A more recently example is Ørestad planned and built to strengthen development in the Copenhagen/Malmö region.


The city of Helsinki, previously just a small village, was rebuilt on a rocky peninsula near the sea in 1812 by decree of Alexander I, Grand-duke of Finland. The new town was to become the capital for the new Grand Duchy of Finland. The planner of the new town was Carl Ludvig Engel.

However, the last city in Finland that was ordered to be built on a previously completely uninhabited land was Raahe, founded by governor general Per Brahe the Younger in 1649.

Finland also has various "ekokyläs" or "ecological villages". For example, Tapiola is a post-war garden city on the edge of Espoo.

The city of Vaasa was rebuilt about seven kilometers northwest of its original location in 1862, after a fire which destroyed the city in 1852. The new town was planned by Carl Axel Setterberg. The disastrous consequences of the fire were considered as the design included five broad avenues which divided the town into sections and each block was divided by alleys.


Many new cities, called bastides, were founded from the 12th to 14th centuries in southeastern France, where the Hundred Years War took place, in order to replace destroyed cities and organize defence and growth. Among those, Monpazier, Beaumont, Villeréal are good examples.

In 1517, the construction of Le Havre was ordered by Francis I of France as a new port. It was completely destroyed during the Second World War and was entirely rebuilt in a modernist style, during the Trente Glorieuses.

Cardinal Richelieu founded the small Baroque town of Richelieu, which remains largely unchanged.

A program of new towns (French ville nouvelle) was developed in the mid-1960s to try to control the expansion of cities. Nine villes nouvelles were created.

La Défense, in the greater Paris area, could also be considered a planned town, though it was not built all at once but in successive stages beginning in the 1950s.


Planned cities in Germany are:


All Hungarian planned cities were built in the second half of the 20th century when a program of rapid industrialization was implemented by the communist government.

  • Dunaújváros, built next to the existing village Dunapentele to provide housing for workers of a large steel factory complex. Once named after Stalin, the city maintains its importance in heavy industry even after the recession following the end of Communist era.
  • Tiszaújváros, built next to the existing village Tiszaszederkény and was named after Lenin for decades. A significant chemical factory was built simultaneously.
  • Kazincbarcika, created from the villages Sajókazinc, Barcika and Berente (the latter has become independent since then) in a mining area. The city and its population grew fast after the founding of a factory.
  • Tatabánya, created from four already existing villages was developed into a mining town and industrial centre and shortly after its elevation to town status became the county seat of its county, a status it still maintains despite the presence of historically more significant towns in the area.
  • Beloiannisz (although not a town, only a village) was planned and built in the 1950s to provide home for Greek refugees of the Civil War.


In the Republic of Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, the term "new town" is often used to refer to planned towns built after World War II which were discussed as early as 1941. The term "new town" in Ireland was also used for some earlier developments, notably during the Georgian era. Part of Limerick city was built in a planned fashion as "Newtown Pery".

In 1961 the first new town of Shannon was commenced and a target of 6,000 inhabitants was set. This has since been exceeded. Shannon is of some regional importance today as an economic centre (with the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon International Airport), but until recently failed to expand in population as anticipated. Since the late 1990s, and particularly in the early 2000s, the population has been expanding at a much faster rate, with town rejuvenation, new retail and entertainment facilities and many new housing developments.

It was not until 1967 that the Wright Report planned four towns in County Dublin. These were Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Lucan and Tallaght but in actuality this was reduced to Blanchardstown, Lucan-Clondalkin and Tallaght. Each of these towns has approximately 50,000 inhabitants today.

The most recent new town in Ireland is Adamstown in County Dublin. Building commenced in 2005 and it is anticipated that occupation will commence late in 2006 with the main development of 10,500 units being completed within a ten year timescale.


In the past centuries several new towns have been planned in Italy. One of the most famous is Pienza, close to Siena, a Renaissance city, also called The Ideal Town or Utopia Town. Between 1459 and 1462 the most famous architects of Italy worked there for the Pope Pius II and built the city centre of the small town.

Another example of renaissance planned cities is the walled star city of Palmanova. It is a derivative of ideal circular cities, notable Filarete's imaginary Sforzinda.

In early 20th century, during the fascist government of Benito Mussolini, many new cities were founded, the most prominent being Littoria (renamed Latina after the fall of the Fascism). The city was inaugurated on December 18, 1932. Littoria was populated with immigrants coming from Northern Italy, mainly from Friuli and Veneto

The great Sicilian earthquake of 1693 forced the complete rebuilding on new plans of many towns.

Other well known new cities are located close to Milan in the metropolitan area. Crespi d'Adda, a few kilometres east of Milan along the Adda River, was settled by the Crespi family. It was the first Ideal Worker's City in Italy, built close to the cotton factory. Today Crespi d'Adda is part of the Unesco World Heritage List. Cusano Milanino was settled in the first years of the 20th century in the formerly small town of Cusano. It was built as a new green city, rich in parks, villas, large boulevards and called Milanino (Little Milan). In the 1970s in the eastern metropolitan area of Milan a new city was built by Silvio Berlusconi. It is called Milano Due. It is a garden city designed for families of the upper middle class, with peculiarity of having pedestrian paths completely free of traffic. In the 1980s another two similar cities were built by Berlusconi, Milano 3 and Milano Visconti. Each of them has around 12,000 inhabitants.


The fortified cities of Senglea and Valletta were both built on a grid plan by the Knights of Malta in the 16th century.


One province of the Netherlands, Flevoland (pop. 370,000 (2006)), was reclaimed from the IJsselmeer.

After a flood in 1916, it was decided that the Zuiderzee, an inland sea within the Netherlands, would be closed and reclaimed. In 1932, a causeway (the Afsluitdijk) was completed, which closed off the sea completely. The Zuiderzee was subsequently called IJsselmeer and its previously salty water became fresh.

The first part of the new lake that was reclaimed was the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder). This new land included, among others, the former island of Urk and it was included with the province of Overijssel. After this, other parts were also reclaimed: the eastern part in 1957 (Oost-Flevoland) and the southern part (Zuid-Flevoland) in 1968. The municipalities on the three parts voted to become a separate province, which happened in 1986. The capital of Flevoland is Lelystad, but the biggest city is Almere (pop. 183,500 in February 2008). Apart from these two larger cities, several 'New Villages' were built. In the Noordoostpolder the central town of Emmeloord is surrounded by ten villages, all on cycling distance from Emmeloord since that was the most popular way of transport in the 1940s (and it's still very popular). Most noteworthy of these villages is Nagele which was designed by famous modern architects of the time, Gerrit Rietveld, Aldo van Eyck and Jaap Bakema among them. The other villages were built in a more traditional/vernacular style. In the more recent Flevolandpolders four more 'New Villages' were built. Initially more villages were planned, but the introduction of cars made fewer but larger villages possible.

New towns outside Flevoland are Hoofddorp and IJmuiden near Amsterdam, Hellevoetsluis and Spijkenisse near Rotterdam and the navy port Den Helder.

The cities of Almere, Capelle aan den IJssel, Haarlemmermeer (also a reclaimed polder, 19th century), Nieuwegein, Purmerend and Zoetermeer are members of the European New Town Platform.


Oslo: After a great fire in 1624, it was decided by the then King Christian IV that the city would be moved behind the Akershus fortress. The new town, named Christiania, was laid out in a grid and is now the downtown area known as "Kvadraturen". The original town of Oslo was later incorporated into Christiania, and is now a neighborhood in eastern Oslo; Gamlebyen or "The Old City".

The city of Kristiansand was formally founded in 1641 by King Christian IV. The city was granted all trade privileges on the southern coast of Norway, denying all other towns to trade with foreign states. As Oslo/Christiania before it, the city was behind a fortress, with a grid system allowing cannons to fire towards the two ports of the city and the river on the eastern end.


Three cities stand out as examples of planned communities in Poland: Zamość, Gdynia, and Nowa Huta. Their very diverse layouts is the result of the different aesthetics that were held as ideal during the development of each of these planned communities. Planned cities in Poland have a long history and fall primarily into three time periods during which planned towns developed in Poland and its neighbors that once comprised the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. These are the Nobleman's Republic (16th-18th c.), the interwar period (1918–1939) and Socialist Realism (1944–1956).

The Nobleman's Republic of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The extreme opulence that Poland's nobility enjoyed during the Renaissance left Poland's elites with not only obscene amounts of money to spend, but also motivated them to find new ways to invest their hefty fortunes out of the grasp of the Royal Treasury. Jan Zamoyski founded the city of Zamość in order to circumvent royal tariffs and duties while also serving as the capital for his mini-state. Zamość was planned by the renowned Paduan architect Bernardo Morando and modeled on Renaissance theories of the 'ideal city'. Realizing the importance of trade, Zamoyski issued special location charters for representatives of peoples traditionally engaged in trade, i.e. to Greeks, Armenians and Sephardic Jews and secured exemptions on taxes, customs duties and tolls, which contributed to its fast development. Zamoyski's success with Zamość spawned numerous other Polish nobles to found their own "private" cities such as Białystok and many of these towns survive today, while Zamość was added to the UN World Heritage list in 1992 and is today considered one of the most precious urban complexes in Europe and in the world[citation needed].

Interwar period

The preeminent example of a planned community in interwar Poland is Gdynia. After World War I when Poland regained its independence it lacked a commercial seaport (De iure Poles could use Gdańsk, which was the main port of the country before the War and is again today, but de facto the Germans residing in the city made it almost impossible for them), making it necessary to build one from scratch. The extensive and modern seaport facilities in Gdynia, the most modern and extensive port facilities in Europe at the time, became Poland's central port on the Baltic Sea. In the shadow of the port, the city took shape mirroring in its scope the rapid development of 19th century Chicago, growing from a small fishing village of 1,300 in 1921 into a full blown city with a population over 126,000 less than 20 years later. The Central Business District that developed in Gdynia is a showcase of Art Deco and Modernist architectural styles and predominate much of the cityscape. There are also villas, particularly in the city's villa districts such as Kamienna Góra where Historicism inspired Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque architecture.

Socialist realism

After the destruction of most Polish cities in World War II, the Communist regime that took power in Poland sought to bring about architecture that was in line with its vision of society. Thus urban complexes arose that reflected the ideals of socialist realism. This can be seen in districts of Polish cities such as Warsaw's MDM. The City of Nowa Huta (now a district of Kraków) and Tychy were built as the epitome of the proletarian future of Poland.


Vila Real de Santo António was built after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, on the model which served to rebuilt the capital city of Portugal and on a similar orthogonal plan.


The city of Victoria, located in the Braşov County, was built by the communist government in the beginning of the second half of the 20th century.

Roman Empire

Although Rome itself is not a planned settlement, the Romans built a large number of towns throughout their empire, often as colonies for the settlement of citizens or veterans. These were generally characterised by a grid of streets and a planned water-supply; and many modern European towns of originally Roman foundation still retain part of the original street-grid. The most impressive Roman planned town was the city of Constantinople from around the 4th century. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great chose the site for the new metropolis and began construction. His plans quickly fell into place. The modern city (now known as Istanbul) has changed much since then, but it must be remembered that the city did not develop due to simple human migrational patterns nor pure military advantage. Constantine wanted a city to mark his magnificence and Constantinople fulfilled the desire.


Saint Petersburg was built by Peter the Great as a planned capital city starting in 1703.

Magnitogorsk is an example of a planned industrial city based on Stalin's 1930s five-year plans.

The Avtozavodsky district of Tolyatti is a planned industrial city of Soviet post-war modernism.


Nova Gorica, built after 1947 immediately to the east of the new border with Italy, in which the town of Gorizia remained.


During the 16th and 17th centuries the population of Spain declined due to emigration to the Americas and later kings and governments made efforts to repopulate the country. In the second half of the 18th century, king Charles III implemented the so-called New Settlements (Nuevas Poblaciones) plan which would bring 10,000 immigrants from central Europe to the region of Sierra Morena. Pablo de Olavide was appointed superintendent and about forty new settlements were established of which the most notable was La Carolina, which has a perfectly rectangular grid design. [1]

Later kings and repopulation efforts led to the creation of more settlements, also with rectangular grid plans. One of them was the town of La Isabela (40.4295 N, 2.6876 W) which disappeared in the 1950s submerged under the waters of the newly created artificial lake of Buendía but is still visible just under the water in satellite imagery. PDF

Under Franco, the Instituto Nacional de Colonización (National Institute of Colonization) built a great number of towns and villages.

Tres Cantos, near Madrid, is a good example of a successful new town design in Spain. It was built in the 1970s.

Newer additional sections of large cities are often newly planned as is the case of the Salamanca district or Ciudad Lineal in Madrid or the Eixample in Barcelona.


Novi Beograd, meaning New Belgrade in Serbian, is a municipality of the city of Belgrade, built on a previously undeveloped area on the left bank of the Sava river. The first development began in 1947, the municipality has since expanded significantly and become the fastest developing region in Serbia.

Drvengrad, meaning Wooden Town in Serbian, is a traditional village that the Serbian film director Emir Kusturica had built for his film Life Is a Miracle. It is located in the Zlatibor District near the city of Užice, two hundred kilometers southwest of Serbia's capital, Belgrade. It is located near Mokra Gora and Višegrad.


Göteborg was planned and built as a major fortified city from nothing in the 17th century.

Karlskrona was also planned and built as a major city and naval base from nothing in the 17th century.

Vällingby, a suburb, is an example of a new town in Sweden from after 1950.

Kiruna was built because of the large mine.


  • Odesa was built as a planned city according to 18th-century plans by the Flemish engineer Franz de Wollant (also known as François Sainte de Wollant, or in Ukrainian: Франц Павлович де Воллан, Frants Pavlovych de Vollan, and in Russian: Франц Павлович де Воллан, Frants Pavlovich de Vollan)[2]

The same engineer also planned the following municipalities in Ukraine in the late 18th century:

  • Voznesens'k (Ukrainian: Вознесенськ), in Mykolayiv Oblast
  • Ovidiopol' (Ukrainian: Овідіополь), in Odesa Oblast

United Kingdom


The Romans planned many towns in Britain, but the settlements were changed out of all recognition in subsequent centuries. The town of Winchelsea is said to be the first post-Roman new town in Britain, constructed to a grid system under the instructions of King Edward I in 1280, and largely completed by 1292. Another claimant to the title is Salisbury, established in the early 13th Century by the then Bishop of Sarum. The best known pre-20th century new town in the UK was undoubtedly the Edinburgh New Town, built in accordance with a 1766 master plan by James Craig, and (along with Bath and Dublin) the archetype of the elegant Georgian style of British architecture.

However, the term "new town" is now used in the UK, in the main, to refer to the towns developed after World War II under the New Towns Act 1946. These grew out of the garden city movement, launched around 1900 by Ebenezer Howard and Sir Patrick Geddes and the work of Raymond Unwin, and manifested at Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire.

Following World War II, several towns (eventually numbering 28) were designated under the 1946 Act as New Towns, and were developed partly to house the large numbers of people who had lost homes during the War. New Towns policy was also informed by a series of wartime commissions, including:

  • the Barlow Commission (1940) into the distribution of industrial population,
  • the Scott Committee into rural land use (1941)
  • the Uthwatt Committee into compensation and betterment (1942)
  • (later) the Reith Report into New Towns (1947).

Also crucial to thinking was the Abercrombie Plan for London (1944), which envisaged moving a million and a half people from London to new and expanded towns. A similar plan was developed for the Clyde Valley in 1946 to combat similar problems faced in Glasgow. Together these committees reflected a strong consensus to halt the uncontrolled sprawl of London and other large cities, under the axiom if we can build better, we can live better. This consensus should probably be viewed in conjunction with emerging concern for social welfare reform (typified by the Beveridge Report).

The first of a ring of such "first generation" New Towns around London (1946) was Stevenage, Hertfordshire and Basildon, Essex along the Thames being the nearest to East London, both after Borehamwood, Middlesex. Hertfordshire actually counts four of eight London new towns where three of these four form a group. The group consists of Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City (in corporation with adjacent Hatfield) and Letchworth, though standing apart, is an active part of the group. (Hall 1996: 133) New Towns in the North East were also planned such as Newton Aycliffe (which Beveridge wanted to be the "ideal town to live in") and Peterlee. Two new towns were also planned in Scotland at East Kilbride (1947), and Glenrothes (1948). Bracknell in Berkshire, was designated a new town in 1949 and is still expanding. Later a scatter of "second-generation" towns were built to meet specific problems, such as the development of the Corby steelworks. Finally, five "third-generation" towns were launched in the late 1960s: these were larger, some of them based on substantial existing settlements such as Peterborough, and the most famous was probably Milton Keynes, midway between London and Birmingham, known for its huge central park and shopping centre, designed from the outset as a new city – though in law it is a 'New Town'. Other towns, such as Ashford, Kent, Basingstoke and Swindon, were designated "Expanded Towns" and share many characteristics with the new towns. Scotland also gained three more new towns, Cumbernauld in 1956, famous for its enclosed 'town centre', Livingston (1962) and Irvine (1966) (see Film- New Towns in Scotland).

After a partial success within the London Metropolitan green belt New Towns Basildon and Borehamwood and expansion of these areas combined with still chronic housing shortages in south-east London another small New Town Thamesmead was developed adjacent to the Thames in the early 1960s but suffered from poor transport links that a few small adhoc developments today suffer from, though transport links have improved due to inward investment.

All the new towns featured a car-oriented layout with many roundabouts and a grid-based road system unusual in the old world. The earlier new towns, where construction was often rushed and whose inhabitants were generally plucked out of their established communities with little ceremony, rapidly got a poor press reputation as the home of "new town blues". These issues were systematically addressed in the later towns, with the third generation towns in particular devoting substantial resources to cycle routes, public transport and community facilities, as well as employing teams of officers for social development work.

The financing of the UK new towns was creative. Land within the designated area was acquired at agricultural use value by the development corporation for each town, and infrastructure and building funds borrowed on 60-year terms from the UK Treasury. Interest on these loans was rolled up, in the expectation that the growth in land values caused by the development of the town would eventually allow the loans to be repaid in full. However, the high levels of retail price inflation experienced in the developed world in the 1970s and 1980s fed through into interest rates and frustrated this expectation, so that substantial parts of the loans had ultimately to be written off.

From the 1970s the first generation towns began to reach their initial growth targets. As they did so, their development corporations were wound up and the assets disposed of: rented housing to the local authority, and other assets to the Commission for the New Towns (in England; but alternative arrangements were made in Scotland and Wales). The Thatcher Government, from 1979, saw the new towns as a socialist experiment to be discontinued, and all the development corporations were dissolved by 1990, even for the third generation towns whose growth targets were still far from being achieved. Ultimately the Commission for the New Towns was also dissolved and its assets - still including a lot of undeveloped land - passed to the English Industrial Estates Corporation (later known as English Partnerships).

Many of the New Towns attempted to incorporate public art and cultural programmes but with mixed methods and results. In Harlow the architect in charge of the design of the new town, Frederick Gibberd, founded the Harlow Art Trust [2] and used it to purchase works by leading sculptors, including Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth . In Peterlee the abstract artist Victor Pasmore was appointed part of the design team resulting in the Apollo Pavilion. Washington New Town was provided with a community theatre and art gallery. The concrete cows in Milton Keynes resulted from another 'town artist' commission and have gone on to become a recognised landmark. Glenrothes led the way in Scotland being the first new town to appoint a town artist in 1968. A massive range of artworks (around 132 in total) ranging from concrete hippos to bronze statues, dancing children, giant flowers, a dinosaur, a horse and chariot and crocodiles, to name but a few, were created. Town artists appointed in Glenrothes include David Harding and Malcolm Roberston.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, building of Craigavon in County Armagh commenced in 1966 between Lurgan and Portadown, although entire blocks of flats and shops lay empty, and later derelict, before eventually being bulldozed. The area, which now has a population exceeding 80,000 is mostly a dormitory town for Belfast.

Derry was the first ever planned city in Ireland. Work began on building the new city across the River Foyle from the ancient town of Derry (Doire Cholm Chille or Doire) in 1613. The walls were actually completed five years later in 1618. The central diamond within a walled city with four gates was thought to be a good design for defence.[3] In 1963 under the Matthew Plan the new city of Craigavon was founded out of the original towns of Portadown and Lurgan. This town today lies mostly incomplete as the troubles halted construction. The plan initially was to construct a relief settlement to take people out of the crowded city of Belfast.


In the late 1950s and early 1960s Scotland saw a creation of several "post-war new towns". These were; Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Irvine and Livingston. Each of these towns are in Scotland's list of 20 most populated towns and cities. East Kilbride is the second largest town in Scotland, or the 6th largest settlement with a population of over 73,000 and Livingston with a population of 76,000. The other three towns are not as big with populations between 30,000 and 50,000. Livingston is seen by some[weasel words] as "Scotland's town of the future". This is due to its large, increasing population and its healthy economic status[citation needed].


The only new towns in Wales have been Newtown and Cwmbran. Cwmbran was established to provide new employment in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield. The town is perhaps most widely known now for its international sports stadium and shopping centre.

In the 1990s an experimental "new town" developed by The Prince of Wales to use very traditional or vernacular architectural styles was started at Poundbury in Dorset.

North America


When Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald began to settle the West in Canada, he put the project under the command of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The CPR exercised complete control over the development of land under its ownership. The federal government granted every second square mile section (totalling 101,000 km²) along the proposed railway line route to the CPR. The CPR decided where to place railway stations, and thus would decide where the dominant town of the area would be. In most instances the CPR would build a station on an empty section of land to make the largest profit from land sales — meaning that the CPR founded many of the Canadian West's towns, such as Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw, from scratch. If an existing town was close to the newly constructed station but on land not owned by the CPR, the town was forced to move itself to the new site and reconstruct itself, essentially building a new town. Calgary and Yorkton, Saskatchewan, were among the towns that had to move themselves.[citation needed]

After the CPR established a station at a particular site, it would plan how the town would be constructed. The side of the tracks with the station would go to business, while the other side would go to warehouses. Furthermore, the CPR controlled where major buildings went (by giving the town free land to build it where the CPR wanted it to go), the construction of roads and the placement and organization of class-structured residential areas.

The CPR's influence over the development of the Canadian west's communities was one of the earliest examples of new town construction in the modern world. Later influences on planned community development in Canada were the exploitation of her mineral and forest wealth, usually in remote locations of the vast country. Among numerous company towns planned and built for these purposes were Corner Brook and Grand Falls in Newfoundland, Témiscaming and Fermont in Quebec.

In the modern suburban context, several "New Towns" were established in the suburbs of large cities. Early examples include Leaside in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal. Both were planned and developed by the Canadian Northern Railway as middle class suburbs, though both, Leaside in particular, featured large industrial tracts. Leaside had its own municipal government until 1967, while Mount Royal continues to enjoy autonomy from the City of Montreal[citation needed].

In the post-war period, new corporate new towns were developed. Bramalea, located in Brampton, Ontario and Erin Mills, located in Mississauga, Ontario, were both developed in phases. Both included residential, commercial and industrial components. Development in Erin Mills continues to this day.

More recently, the Cornell development in Markham, Ontario, was built as a new town, using the concepts of New Urbanism.


Tenochtitlan (Nahuatl pronunciation: [tenotʃˈtitɬaːn]) was the capital of the Aztec empire, which was built on an island in Lake Texcoco in what is now the Federal District in central Mexico. The city was largely destroyed in the 1520s by Spanish conquistadores. Mexico City was erected on top of the ruins and, over the ensuing centuries, most of Lake Texcoco has gradually been drained.

Puebla was built because of the need of a Spanish settlement in the route between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz


Although Panama City itself is not planned, certain areas are such as Costa del Este, an exclusive high density residential and business area, very close to downtown Panama City. The project combines many skyscrapers with beautiful green areas, and it is close to a highway that connects it to the city center. Other planned areas, but in a lesser degree, are Punta Pacifica and the former Canal Zone.

United States

The original plan for Memphis, Tennessee, as surveyed in 1819

In the early history of the USA, planned communities were quite common: St. Augustine, planned in 1565, Jamestown, New Haven, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Annapolis, and Savannah are examples of this trend. Washington, D.C.; Jackson, Mississippi; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Salt Lake City, Utah; Tallahassee, Florida; and Austin, Texas are unusual, having been carved out of the wilderness to serve as capital cities.

Pullman, now incorporated into Chicago's South Side, was a world-renowned company town founded by the industrialist George M. Pullman in the 1880s. In Beaver County, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, American Bridge Company founded Ambridge, Pennsylvania in 1905 as a company town for American Bridge; American Bridge is still based near Ambridge today in nearby Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Riverside, Illinois, Radburn, New Jersey, and Kansas City, Missouri's Country Club District are other early examples of planned communities. Established in 1912, Shaker Heights, Ohio, was planned and developed in by the Van Sweringen brothers, railroad moguls who envisioned the community as a suburban retreat from the industrial inner-city of Cleveland.[3] Kohler Company created a planned village of the same name west of the company's former headquarters city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which incorporated in 1912. In 1918, the Aluminum Company of America built the town of Alcoa, Tennessee for the employees of the nearby aluminum processing plant.

During the Florida land boom of the 1920s in Southern Florida, the communities of Coral Gables, Opa-Locka, and Miami Springs, now suburbs of Miami, Florida, were incorporated as fully planned "themed" communities which were to reflect the architecture and look of Spain, Arabia, and Mexico respectively, and are now considered some of the first modern planned communities in the United States. In 1928, San Clemente, California was incorporated by Ole Hanson who designated that all buildings must be approved by an architectural review board in order to retain control over development and building style.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, several model towns were planned and built by the Federal government. Arthurdale, West Virginia, a federally funded New Deal community, was Eleanor Roosevelt's project to ease the burden of the depression on coal miners. The Tennessee Valley Authority created several towns of its own to accommodate workers constructing their new dams; the most prominent being Norris, Tennessee. Three "Greenbelt Communities", Greenbelt, Maryland, Greenhills, Ohio, and Greendale, Wisconsin, built by the Federal government during the 1930s were planned with a surrounding "belt" of woodland and natural landscaping.

During World War II, the Manhattan Project built several planned communities to provide accommodations for scientists, engineers, industrial workers and their families. These communities, including Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Richland, Washington and Los Alamos, New Mexico were necessary because the laboratories and industrial plants of the Manhattan Project were built in isolated locations to ensure secrecy. Even the existence of these towns was a military secret, and the towns themselves were closed to the public until after the war.

Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959

The Levittowns -- in Long Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey (now known as Willingboro, New Jersey) -- typified the planned suburban communities of the 1950s and early 1960s. California's Rohnert Park is another example of a planned city (built at the same time as Levittown) that was marketed to attract middle-class people into an area only populated with farmers with the phrase, "A Country Club for the middle class."

Many other places, such as Orange County, California, the Conejo Valley in Ventura County, Valencia in Los Angeles County, as well as Phoenix, Arizona and Northern Arizona also have many master planned communities following the housing boom in the 1960s, which is when the fathers of Scottsdale, Arizona foresaw a huge amount of growth in Arizona. Some of those communities include Anaheim Hills, Rossmoor, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo, and Talega, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Valencia in California, and Marley Park, Talking Rock Ranch, McCormick Ranch, Rio Verde, Tartesso and Verrado in Buckeye, Arizona. The neighborhood of Warren in the city of Bisbee has the distinction of being Arizona's first planned community. In the Conejo Valley, which is the in East County Area of Ventura County, all cities were master planned. Most notably, the Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, and Westlake Village area was master planned by the Janss Investment Company, which was also responsible for the development of Westwood Village, part of the Westside in Los Angeles. Valencia is an area that is a master planned community that incorporated into the City of Santa Clarita, developed and planned by the Newhall Land and Farming Company. About 25% of Orange County is composed of various master planned communities, much of which was done by the Irvine Company, and since 1990, 85% of all developments in Orange County and a slightly smaller amount of communities in Arizona were part of a master planned community. 75% of all resales today in the Phoenix area are homes in master planned communities, and 80% of all new home construction permits issued by Arizona building departments are master planned communities. These communities provide functionality to the precious land left in the area, as well as the ability to create a housing-business-transportation-open space balance.

The graphical scheme of the Detailed Urbanist Plan for a settlement within the Municipality of Aerodrom within the City of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.

The era of the modern planned city began in 1963 with the creation of Coral Springs, in western Broward County, Florida, which was begun just a year before Reston, Virginia and Columbia. In more recent years, New Urbanism has set the stage for new cities, with places like the idyllic Seaside, Florida, and Disney's new town of Celebration, Florida.

In the United States, suburban growth in the Sunbelt states has coincided with the popularity of Master Planned Communities within established suburbs. Texas was at the forefront of this trend. Las Colinas, established in 1973, was one of the first such examples and is still growing. Las Colinas is a 12,000 acres (4,900 ha) master planned community within the Dallas-area city of Irving. In 2006, residents approved changes to deed restrictions to allow greater density of urban mixed-use and residential construction.

In recent years, new towns such as Mountain House, San Joaquin County, California, have added a new wrinkle to the movement: to prevent conurbation with nearby cities, they have imposed strict growth boundaries, as well as automatic "circuit breakers" that place moratoriums on residential development if the number of jobs per resident in the town falls below a certain value. Centennial new town part in Tejon Ranch halfway between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, will incorporate such restrictions in order to minimize the commuter load on severely congested I-5. With energy prices steadily increasing and anti-sprawl sentiments gaining currency, it is likely that most future new towns will be along smart growth and New Urbanist lines. Coyote Springs, Nevada, Destiny, Florida and Douglas Ranch in Buckeye, Arizona are amongst the largest communities being planned for the 21st century.

South America


La Plata was planned in 1880 to replace Buenos Aires city as the capital of the Buenos Aires province.

Urban planner Pedro Benoit designed a city layout based on a rationalist conception of urban centers. The city has the shape of a square with a central park and two main diagonal avenues, north-south and east-west. (In addition, there are numerous other shorter diagonals.) This design is copied in a self-similar manner in small blocks of six by six blocks in length. Every six blocks, one finds a small park or square. Other than the diagonals, all streets are on a rectangular grid, and are numbered consecutively.

The designs for the government buildings were chosen in an international architectural competition. Thus, the Governor Palace was designed by Italians, City Hall by Germans, etc. Electric street lighting was installed in 1884, and was the first of its kind in Latin America.


The country's capital, Brasília, was a planned city built in the middle of the vast empty center of Brazil, at that time (1960) thousands of kilometers from any big city. It was built in four years and concrete needed to be transported occasionally by airplane.

The former capital of Brazil was Rio de Janeiro, and resources tended to be concentrated in the southeast region of Brazil. While the city was built because there was a need for a neutrally-located federal capital, the main reason was to promote the development of Brazil's hinterland and better integrate the entire territory of Brazil. Brasília is approximately at the geographical center of Brazilian territory.

Lúcio Costa, the city's principal architect, designed the city to be shaped like an airplane. Housing and offices are situated on giant superblocks, everything following the original plan. The plan specifies which zones are residential, which zones are commercial, where industries can settle, where official buildings can be built, the maximum height of buildings, etc.

Other notable planned cities in Brazil include Teresina (The first one, inaugurated in 1842), Belo Horizonte (The second, inaugurated in 1897), Petrópolis, Boa Vista, Goiânia, Palmas, Londrina, and Maringá (the latter two in the state of Paraná).


Guayana City


Australia has a proud history of Planned Cities, such as the original concept for Adelaide, and the Australian capital city Canberra.

Australia is still building planned communities with developers such as Delfin Lend Lease an S&P/ASX 50 company, that has been responsible for large master planned communities such as;

See also


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