By Brian Human, HTF Vice Chair
5 May 2010
5 May 2010
Many historic towns and cities are environmentally attractive and offer a good quality of life. That’s the good news. The sometimes not so good news is that they are also facing unprecedented growth. They have to rise to the challenge of dealing with this in ways that both conserve the identity and sense of place of the existing town and nurture the creation of distinctive sustainable new communities within them. There are challenges of infrastructure, partnership working, dealing with major national developers, the tension between modernity and pastiche and how to learn from the past and the present when building on a large scale.
The ‘Managing Growth’ area of the HTF web site is being developed to help in this by sharing practice between everyone involved in historic towns and the growth agenda.
The papers presented at The HTF’s Historic Towns and Smarter Growth conference held in Cambridge in April 2009 have been brought together in a report ‘Capturing Quality in Our Time’, which distills out seven key themes in addressing the growth pressures effectively:
- Planning and process
- Finance and economics
- Climate change
- Community benefits and community engagement
- Learning from the past and present
The aim of the web site is to present examples of good practice and experience, both good and bad, in addressing these themes. The ‘learning from the past and present’ theme will include maps showing the historical growth of towns and cities.
The site has just five case studies and three historical maps so far and we need help from all HTF members to build it up into a first class resource. Case studies do not have to be long and can be linked to detailed information on other sites. Good practice is ideal; but we should also be prepared to learn from mistakes. And the experience being shared may relate to only one of the themes – it can still be really valuable.