Focusing on the key period between the late 18th century and 1914, this book provides the first comprehensive narrative account of radical and socialist texts and organised movements for reform to land planning and housing policies in Britain. Beginning with the early colonial settlements in the puritan and enlightenment eras, it also covers Benthamite utilitarian planning, Owenite and utopian communitarianism, the Chartists, late Chartists and the First International, Christian socialists and positivists, working class and radical land reform campaigns in the late 19th century, Garden City pioneers and the institutionalisation of the planning profession.
The book, in effect, presents a prehistory of land, planning and housing reform in the UK in contrast with most historiography which focuses on the immediate pre-World War I period. Providing an analysis of different intellectual traditions and contrasting middle class-led reform initiatives with those based on working class organisations, the book seeks to relate historical debates to contemporary themes, including utopianism and pragmatism, the role of the state, the balance between local initiatives and centrally driven reforms and the interdependence of land, housing and planning.
Duncan Bowie is a senior lecturer in planning and housing at the University of Westminster, where he is course leader on the MA Urban and Regional Planning. He has worked in senior posts in housing and planning for the Mayor of London, the Housing Corporation, the London Docklands Development Corporation and London boroughs. He is a member of the policy council of the Town and Country Planning Association, as well as the executive committees of the London Labour Housing Group, the Socialist History Society and the London Society.