The Letchworth Declaration

The Letchworth Declaration


We welcome the renewed interest in building new garden cities, which has seen increased momentum this year. The 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize question asks “How would you deliver a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?” The Department for Communities and Local Government published their Locally-led garden cities: prospectus in April 2014. The 2014 Budget saw the announcement of a ‘Garden City’ in Ebbsfleet.

The Cloisters - Letchworth Garden City
The Cloisters – Letchworth Garden City

Here in Letchworth, the home of the First Garden City, we have seen the International Garden Cities exhibition which tells the story of the original garden city movement and shows us how the garden city ideals spread and are still spreading across the world.

We believe, as did Ebenezer Howard – the founder of the Garden City movement – that communities are not made out of bricks and mortar but of values and principles – and, that this ‘invisible architecture’ of a city is as important as the visible one. These are the special ingredients that build a sense of place and citizenship that turn houses, factories, offices, shops and sources of produce into a community.

We resolve to come together as community organisations, activists, academics, learned institutions, planners, developers, public and private bodies to define the standards that must be met to be a garden city. A fundamental requirement is that all land in the city is owned by the community for its residents which locks the asset value to the community in perpetuity.

Our goal is to create definable and measurable definitions of practises, principles and standards that are required to be adopted by any settlement to allow them be accredited to use the suffix ‘Garden City’.

We will ensure that such work is complementary to that done by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and architectural and planning bodes. It will integrate best planning, design, social, economic and democratic governance practices.

We believe that the practices of a Garden City need to be Socially, Economically and Ecologically sustainable.

We resolve that the New Garden Cities Alliance will be an independent body for accrediting which settlements meet the standards of a Garden City. This will guide planners, developers and communities to work in partnership to build new and enhance communities to allow them all to truly share, enjoy and prosper.

This conference authorises those proposed to enact the following 10 point plan:

  1. Establish the New Garden Cities Alliance (NGCA) as a body
  2. Define the terms of reference for the NGCA
  3. Prepare a constitution for The New Garden Cities Alliance (NGCA) working in partnership with interested parties
  4. Ensure that the NGCA will give a voice fairly to local and national government, communities, academics, developers, planners and that it will be open to all
  5. Ensure that the NGCA is complementary to, and will work in partnership and not competition with existing institutions
  6. Organise the Garden City trademark in the UK to be owned by NGCA
  7. Reach out to international communities and invite their contribution to NGCA
  8. Facilitate the consensual compilation of a draft set of standards
  9. Finalise an accreditation mechanism that details who would assess, audit and award
  10. Develop a business and financial plan for the NGCA

The goal of the new Association will be to provide a community owned body that will safeguard and promote a community centred definition of garden cities.

Please sign the declaration and submit your details here:


NEW GARDEN CITIES ALLIANCE – Community Interest Company

contact us at:

We’re registered in England at 113 Guinness Court, Snowsfields, London SE1 3TA (company number 09182187).


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