The New Towns book explores the first wave of New Towns near London. These towns were built in England immediately after the Second World War to relocate populations who lost their homes. They aimed to create a welcoming space, with walkable distances between homes, work, shops, cultural offerings and green spaces. Construction had to progress quickly and needed to stay affordable.
The book starts with scenes from traditional city centres. While the original architecture is mostly preserved here, contemporary chains and smaller independents shops feature widely throughout.
In the traditional residential neighbourhoods contemporary elements are rarer. The houses show the marks of their history. I enjoyed seeing the DIY home improvements that pop up in several pictures.
The series then transitions to the more recent residential developments and finally over to newly-built city centres.
Over seven decades the economic climate has fluctuated, political ideas have changed and new social aspirations have superseded the dreams of previous generations.
Today, while the New Towns preserve some of their initial character, their identity is nonetheless shifting in favour of more and more national and international elements.