Response: Wolfson Economic Prize

By: Toby Lloyd  Published: June 2014

The second annual Wolfson Economics Prize, launched on 14th November 2013, will be awarded to the entrant who offers the best answer to the question “How would you deliver a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?”. Shelter has been shortlisted as a finalist for the competition and our full submission can be downloaded from this page. Shelter entered the Prize to show that it is possible to build a new garden city that will provide genuinely affordable, good quality homes, and also benefit the local community. Too often, building the homes we need seems like an impossible task. Our entry shows that it isn’t.


England desperately needs more homes. But our supply system is locked into a low output, low quality and high cost paradigm. Our New Garden City model transforms this dysfunctional system by delivering: 

  • Pension funds supporting large scale house building.
  • 1,000+ homes built out per year per site.
  • A viable, large scale off-site residential construction industry.
  • A small and medium house builder renaissance.
  • Quality homes affordable to the builders and architects who create them.
  • Substantial self-build contribution to supply.
  • A self-funding mechanism for transport infrastructure upgrades.
  • Local people having vested interests in supporting development.
  • Community ownership of assets funding exemplary local services.
  • Zero public finance for development.
Our submission sets out how to make this vision a reality by building a New Garden City with a population of 150,000 on the Hoo Peninsula, Medway. With detailed analysis of Stoke Harbour - a self-sufficient town of 35,000-48,000 people that will be the seed settlement in a polycentric city - we show how our model can leverage massive new private investment into the provision of high quality homes, jobs, services and infrastructure.


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