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Urban Planning in the UK: A Brief History

Work stops at sunset. Darkness falls over the building site. The sky is filled with stars. "There is the blueprint," they say. - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Urban planning is best defined by scholars as a form of state intervention in a development process dominated by the private sector. Modern day town planning hinges on three central ideas; physical planning, the importance of design as crucial to town planning and lastly, the idea of following a ‘blueprint’ to the same degree of... Read More >

Recent Articles:

Chalk and cheese: Samuel Pepys at Ten Trinity Square MOLA archaeologists excavated Ten Trinity Square as part of the development of a luxury hotel and residential development
Our archaeologists excavated Ten Trinity Square beside the Tower of London, as part of the development of a luxury hotel and residential development by Reignwood Group. Occupied since the early Roman period, the site has a rich history Read More >
Joseph Chamberlain and Retailing Chamberlain combined social concerns to alleviate the sufferings of the poor with the need for urban development
Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) the radical nineteenth-century businessman and politician who terrified Queen Victoria and many others, is back in the news again. The man who broke not one but two political parties has been twice cited by Prime Read More >
History of Impact of Railways on communities in the World
Over the last 200 years railways have had a profound effect on the areas they serve – opening them up to trade and passenger transport. The busiest passenger station in the world is said to be Shinjuku in Tokyo where 1.26 bn passengers Read More >
A History of Land Registry and its Importance Today The HM Land Registry has moved in leaps and bounds from its origins in late nineteenth century
Recent data from the Office of National Statistics and HM Land registry show that house prices rose 3% in the year to May 2018, relative to a growth of 3.5 percent in the same period last year. This is the lowest annual rate of growth since 2013, Read More >
The Collapse of Carillion: What Can History Teach Us? Could we have learnt anything from the past with regard to perhaps averting the collapse of Carillion?
Recently, the giant British multinational facilities management and construction company Carillion recently faced compulsory liquidation- a court-based procedure through which company assets are realised for the benefit of creditors. A recent Read More >
Queensberry Rules of boxing: OK or KO? How the Queensberry Rules transformed bareknuckle fighting
John Shotto Douglas, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry, has two major claims to fame. First he was the nemesis of gay author Oscar Wilde who sued him for libel after he had publicly objected to the liaison that Wilde had with his son Lord Alfred Read More >
How roads transformed America The increase of interstate highways allowed for large department stores to flourish
In the latest in a series of extracts from America Inc: The 400-year history of American capitalism Bhu Srinivasan recounts how the transformation of American roads led to the development of department stores and the decay of cities. In the Read More >
Close up of carved stonework on a doorway From the Baring crisis to the global financial crisis: what can we learn? What the Panic of 1890 can teach us
Much like the world today, the period from 1870-1913 (known as the first era of globalisation) was marked by increased trade, significant cross-border financial flows, unrestricted migration and sophisticated financial markets. London was the Read More >
Close-up of golf ball with club during sunset Walter Hagen, golf and Florida real estate How the world's most popular golfer was implicated in the Florida land boom
Real estate, golf courses and Florida sunshine have long gone together, but not always happily. It is to a golf complex in Florida (the wonderfully-named Valhalla Village) that novelist John Updike, with his keen eye for the underlying dynamics Read More >
The first page of the first set of printed accounts for University College, Oxford, from 1883 Oxford colleges and their estates over seven centuries: part 3 How the colleges of Oxford adapted to changes in the 19th, 20th and now 21st centuries
Above: The first page of the first set of printed accounts for University College, Oxford, from 1883 © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford Read part 1 of this series Read part 2 of this series In 1850 the quiet Read More >
Extract for the 1680s from a register recording the payments of entry fines to University College, Oxford Oxford colleges and their estates over seven centuries: part 2 How colleges stabilised their income between 1500 and 1850
Above: Extract for the 1680s from a register recording the payments of entry fines to University College, Oxford © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford Read part 1 of this series In the early sixteenth century Read More >
The opening of the account roll of University College, Oxford, for 1383/4 Oxford colleges and their estates over seven centuries: part 1 How the colleges of Oxford managed their finances pre-1500
Above: The opening of the account roll of University College, Oxford, for 1383-4 © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford Few organisations, apart from cathedrals, can rival Oxford and Cambridge colleges for the length and Read More >
Cranes and buildings in construction silhouetted against sunset Historical patterns of housing tenure The context for the recent government housebuilding announcement
In a conscious echo of Harold Macmillan who oversaw the construction of more than 300,000 mostly local authority houses in 1953, the Prime Minister recently announced that her government is ‘getting back into the business of building houses’ Read More >
South east UK displayed on map Geographies of housing development The case of the interwar housing market
The interwar period witnessed an outstanding period of housing development - about 1.4 million houses were completed of which 865,000 or 62% were new dwellings in rural England and Wales. Amongst a wide range of factors supporting this boom, Read More >
Monopoly houses balanced on one pound coins Building the way out of the Great Depression How the rise of building societies in the UK contributed to economic recovery
The interwar period in Britain oversaw the boom in the housing sector which resulted in the construction of a significant three million houses. In my previous article I explained how it is this boom which, amongst other factors, has been Read More >
Vintage photograph of a stately home in the countryside The UK housing market in the interwar years: what can we learn? An historical look at how a housing boom rejuvenated the economy
Housing, an essential human need, forms a key sector of the economy. It forms a crucial component of investment and in many countries, makes up a large component of overall wealth. Taking the case of the United States, Zhu (2014) noted that real Read More >

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