Britain faces extraordinary challenges, from climate change to growing inequality and global economics, but as a nation it has no plan for the future. This unique book asks a simple question: how can Britain organise itself, not just for survival but to build a fairer and sustainable society? The arguments refer to the high ambitions of those who pioneered the planning movement and campaigned for a clear set of progressive values, but whose drive for utopia has now been forgotten.
The book takes a distinctive approach to exploring the value to society of social town planning and offers a doorway for how planning, both morally and practically, can help to meet key challenges of the 21st century. It challenges the widely held view that it’s impossible to achieve a better future by suggesting that there is real choice in how society develops and pointing to contemporary examples of utopia.
This accessible book makes essential reading for students in the built environment and the wider social sciences who have an interest in UK and European examples of sustainable communities.
Hugh Ellis joined the TCPA as Chief Planner in March 2009 where he is responsible for the Association’s work on climate change and planning reform. Prior to this, Hugh had been Planning Adviser to Friends of the Earth and held a teaching and research post at the University of Sheffield.
Kate Henderson is Chief Executive of Britain's oldest charity concerned with planning, housing and the environment, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). She is responsible for leading the Association’s efforts to shape and advocate planning policies that put social justice and the environment at the heart of the debate.
PART ONE: We are not a poor nation but we are badly organized;
How are we going to live?;
Why care about the future?;
A forgotten heritage of hope;
PART TWO: The lie of the land!;
The nature of the challenge;
A divided nation;
The housing crisis;
The climate change challenge;
A disconnected politics;
PART THREE: Practical steps to building a better society;
A fair and efficient society;
Building the communities we need;
Providing a resilient and low-carbon future;
Paying for Utopia;
PART FOUR: Tomorrow’s pioneers;
Utopia on your doorstep;
Too Late for Utopia?
"Elegant, pithy and well-written, the book is not just a passionate case for planning, but a useful summary of the history of the subject in Britain." - Housing Studies
"This is an important book which seeks to recapture, re-imagine and re-instate the social objectives and utopian thinking which are so badly needed in planning, if we are ever to get to grips with challenges that we currently face." Sarah Longlands, NewStart Magazine
"Loss of "strategic planning" is just one of the disconnects which Hugh Ellis and Kate Henderson point up in this powerful and provocative book, a call to arms to re-invigorate a planning system in crisis." PlanningResource
"A very welcome book. It is short, well written and relatively cheap. I have not yet seen it on the best seller lists – perhaps people are waiting for Christmas – but it deserves a wide readership." - Shaun Spiers, CPRE
"This is the right book at the right time, providing an eloquent and insightful analysis of the many challenges facing modern Britain. Kate Henderson and Hugh Ellis offer an ambitious formula for rebuilding the nation and a convincing restatement of the essential role of planning in that project, when underpinned by foresight and vision" Professor Nick Gallent, University College London
“Rebuilding Britain is a thought-provoking, engaging and accessible way of understanding the choices we face about what kind of country we want to live in and build for future generations. It’s a book which rightly prompts us to act.” Julia Unwin, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation