Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia

New town

(Redirected from New Towns)

A New town or planned community or planned city is a city, town, or community that was designed from scratch, and grew up more or less following the plan. Many of the world's capital cities are planned cities, notably Washington, DC in the United States, Brasília in Brazil, Canberra in Australia, and New Delhi in India and Islamabad in Pakistan. It was also common in European colonization of the Americas to build according to a plan either on fresh ground or on the ruins of earlier Amerindian cities.



A program of new towns (French villes nouvelles) was developed in the mid-1960s in France. Nine villes nouvelles were created.


The very diverse layouts in Poland's planned cities is the result of the different aesthetics that were held as ideal during the development of these planned communities. Planned cities in Poland have a long history and fall primarily into three time periods during which planned towns developed in Poland. These are the Nobleman's Republic (16th-18th c.), the interwar period (1918-1939) and Socialist Realism (1944-1956).

Nobleman's Republic

The extreme opulence that Poland's nobility enjoyed during the Renaissance left Poland's elites with not only obscene amounts of money to spend, but also motivated them to find new ways to invest their hefty fortunes away from the grasp of the Royal Treasury. Jan Zamoyski, Great Crown Chancellor and Hetman whose financial empire within the Polish Republic was known as the "Zamoyski Ordinate" spanned 6400 km˛ with 11 cities and over 200 villages, in addition to the royal lands he controlled of over 17 500 km˛ with 112 cities and 612 villages. The "Zamoyski Ordinate" functioned as a country with in a country, and Zamoyski founded the city of Zamość in order to circumvent royal tariffs and duties while also serving as the capital for his mini-state. Zamość as he named his city was planned by the renowned Paduan architect Bernardo Morando and modelled on Renaissance theories of the 'ideal city'. Realizing the importance of trade, Zamoyski issued special location charters for representatives of peoples traditionally engaged in trade, i.e. to Greeks, Armenians and Sefardic Jews and secured exemptions on taxes, customs duties and tolls, which contributed to its fast development. Zamość was so successful that 11 years after its construction began it had only 26 empty lots left. During the following years Zamość Academy and numerous churches were built as well as fortifications were completed. Zamość Zamoyski's success spawned numerous other Polish nobles to found their own "private" cities such as Bialystok and many of these towns survive today, while Zamość was added to the UN World Heritage list in 1992 and is today considered one of the most precious urban complexes in Europe and in the world.

Interwar Period

The Preeminent example of a planned community in Interwar Poland is Gdynia. After World War I when Poland regained its independence it lacked a commercial seaport, making it necessary to build one from scratch. The extensive and modern seaport facilities in Gdynia, the most modern and extensive port facilities in Europe at the time, became Poland's central port on the Baltic. In the shadow of the port, the city took shape mirroring in its scope only the rapid development of 19th century Chicago, going from a small fishing village of 1,300 in 1921 into a full blown city with a population over 126,000 less than 20 years later. The City's Central Business District that developed in Gdynia is a showcase of Art Deco and Modernist architectural styles and predominate much of the cityscape. There are also villas particularly in the the city's villa districts such as Kamienna Góra where Historicism inspired Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque architecture

Socialist Realism

After the destruction of most Polish cities in World War II, the Communist regime that took power in Poland sought to bring about architecture that was in line with its vision of society. Thus urban complexes arose that reflected the ideals of Socialist Realism. This can be seen in districts of Polish cities such as Warsaw's MDM. The City of Nowa Huta was built as the epitome of the proletarian future of Poland.

United Kingdom

The term is used in the UK, in the main, to refer to the towns developed after World War II under the New Towns Act of 1946 . Following the war, a number of towns (eventually numbering 28) were designated as New Towns and were developed to house the large numbers of people who had lost homes during the War. The idea in the UK grew from the earlier attempts at a Garden City in Letchworth and Welwyn in Hertfordshire, England following on the ideas of Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes. In the 1960s a number of New towns were built in the Southeast of England including Milton Keynes, famous (or perhaps infamous) for its car oriented layout featuring many roundabouts and grid based road system (unusual in the UK). Washington was another, contrasting with the planned city of Washington, DC. In the 1990s an experimental "new town" developed by The Prince of Wales was started at Poundbury in Dorset.

However the building of new towns in the UK is not purely a modern occurrence. The town of Winchelsea is said to be the first new town in Britain, constructed to a grid system under the instructions of King Edward I in 1280, and largely completed by 1292.

There are five post-war new towns in Scotland: Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Irvine and Livingston.

See New Towns in the United Kingdom for the full list.

United States

Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959
Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959

In the early history of America, planned communities were quite common: Jamestown, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, and Annapolis are examples of this trend. Washington, DC and Austin, Texas are unique, having been carved out of the wilderness to serve as capital cities. ( Other cities with this distinction are Brasília in Brazil, Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Canberra in Australia.

Pullman, now incorporated into Chicago's Southwest side, was a world renowned company town founded by the industrialist George M. Pullman in the 1880's. Greenbelt, Maryland, which was built in the 1930s, was one of a series of planned communities built during that era. The Levittowns - in Long Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - typified the planned communities of the 1950s and early 1960s. The era of the modern New Town began in 1963 with the creation of Reston, Virginia, which was begun just a year before Columbia, Maryland.


Borrowed from New Town movement in the UK, Japan has built some 30 new towns all over the country. Most of them are located near Tokyo and Kansai regions. These towns, unlike those in the UK, do not provide employments. Much of the residents commute to the nearby city. These towns fostered the infamous congestion of commuter trains.

Japan has also developed the concept of new towns to what Manuel Castells and Sir Peter Hall call technopole .

In the past, the Japanese government had proposed relocating the capital to a planned city, but this plan was scratched.

See also

External links


Last updated: 11-10-2004 16:06:50