Sunday, 24 November 2013

"To build up London solidly from Brighton to Northampton (which you appear to hanker after)"

This old non-argument against whatever-the-person-saying-it-wants-it-to-be-an-argument-against was thrown at me recently.

I have never suggested this, of course, and anybody with a grasp of numbers would know that no sane person would seriously suggest this.


Distance from Northampton to Brighton approx. 125 miles.

A circular city with a radius of 125 miles has a surface area of 13,000 sq miles, if we adopted the Scandinavian "green fingers" model and put aside one-third of that for open spaces and built up the rest to the same population density as Greater London, there'd be space for 120 million people.

That's twice the current UK population, not all of whom would want to live there anyway*, so there would simply be no demand. Whoever tried this would soon go bankrupt.

* In economic and environmental terms, and with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better for us to build and live in huge cities of tens of millions of people instead of being so sparsely scattered over large areas, but it didn't work out that way for historical reasons.


Bayard said...

"Whoever tried this would soon go bankrupt."

The Irish experience indicates that that wouldn't stop sundry developers trying, though. What would be the English equivalent of "Tiger Town", I wonder?

Kj said...

"If you build it, they will come".

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, they can try, but they'll have to stop after they've got more than half a mile outwards in any direction.

Kj, London's population went up from 1 million to 7 million between 1800 and 1900, since then, it has barely changed.

Lola said...

In re your last paragraph - not me! The idea of living in a human ants nest appalls...

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, hence and why the "green fingers" model works best (rather than the traditional English "blob" hemmed in by green belt), which I have previously referred to as "branches".

Those who like the "countryside" can live at the furthest scattered reaches of the town's "branches" and have fields and forests on two sides, but can also get into and out of town quickly along the main road/rail arteries.

DBC Reed said...

After saying he does n't hanker after a Brighton- Northampton megalopolis, MW suggests it would be better if we had always lived in huge cities of tens of millions so we could live in them without having to argue about them now.!!?!Ho hum.Big conglomerations like this are ideal as far as he's concerned but he resents anybody saying so.
( Can't see any other way to reconcile the irreconcilable).
A lot of this started off when I mentioned the Ribbon Development Act of 1935 passed by a National (right-wing coalition) government.
If we had n't had this act it is an absolute certainty that we would have had ribbon development Brighton to Northampton (by 1950?)
I do not see LVT and town planning as incompatible.There are anarcho-capitalists on this site who do and think that all problems can be sorted by laissez faire plus LVT (which are incompatible).That they can be sorted without intermediation by the political and democratic processes.

Kj said...

yes DBC, there are anarcho-capitalists, and there are those who believe in planning. There is no inbetween.