“Garden Cities for Tomorrow” Competition Entry with Diverse Planners

guidance and support for:
holistic thinking
permaculture principles and ethics
integrated design approach

time taken: four hours

Back in March of this year, I made a presentation at University College London, to the Barlett Urban Planning Society about regenerative urban design and observing the patterns of nature. Subsequently, I was approached by some of the audience to give an appraisal of their entry for the 2013 IFHP Global Student Competition.

So I returned in May, when I met up with the talented bunch of student urban planners who have come together to form their group “The Diverse Planners”.

board 7

Story board 1

board 5

Story board 7











kevin coaching copy 3

Sharing observations

What I saw was a strong ability to communicate ideas effectively both in video and print media. So as the team took me through there story boards and each member presented their area of focus. I sought ways to tighten their presentation, to demonstrate holistic thinking, an integrated approach and using the ethics of permaculture to support solutions that could conceivably be embedded into the proposition. In doing so, we were working towards a resilient overall philosophy that could be sustained into the longer term solution.

This was an intense and sustained session and I literally took apart their presentation piece by piece – Kevin

to insert a deeper level of thinking around the provision of integrated design. I really enjoyed working with this group of dedicated and engaged people and it was an beneficial session for the team.


garden city inspirationThe Internation Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1813, are the visionary force behind the Garden City movement  out of which Welwyn Garden City was born. Part of the centenary celebration plans for 2013 was to launch a student competition titled  “Garden Cities for Tomorrow”. The IFHP challenged applicants to imagine what a 21st century garden city would look like and how it can meet today’s current urban challenges, including: changing demographics and migration; climate change; economic, technological and industrial transformation; and ensuring social justice.

The team targeted the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station area know as the Nine Elms on the South Bank redevelopment. So instead of the usual tired old redevelopment with mundane green spaces and shopping malls that we see everywhere we look, this group were aiming to present a more holistic solution, that local people can thrive in and develop a sense of place and pride about their neighbourhood. They needed to demonstrate an understanding of the garden city principles and show creativity in how its original concepts can be reapplied to meet the challenges we face today.

Winners – Second Prize International Student Competition 2013
award cert


In June, I received the great news that while the competition came from all over the world from as far away as South Africa and New Zealand, The Diverse Planners of UCL had secured a highly commendable second place in this global competition. There was a big celebration party at the IFHP Centenary Congress 2013 and this intrepid band of original thinkers collected a cash prize for their sterling efforts.

You can see the outline of their concept in this video.

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