Reusing redundant public institutions Renovating abandoned government sites
A proposal for 60 new settlements, using land occupied by former psychiatric hospital sites, began in the UK in 1985, following a competition supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and HRH The Prince of Wales. The concept is to make a new urban quarter within an existing built-up area with a target population between 8,000 and 15,000, sufficient to support a wide range of facilities and offering considerable scope for employment on the spot. There is the attraction of converting high quality (often listed) redundant buildings, mature landscaped grounds and, due to the fact that the hospitals were often built in prominent positions, offering the possibilities of re-making a compact "hill-town". Transport and other infrastructure already exists, and at some sites there is a theatre and sports fields. Primary and secondary schools, shops and health facilities would be provided, and housing would be divided between 60% family and 10% special needs, with low cost, self-build and other affordable alternatives for the remaining 30%. The architecture would take a formal, relatively dense form, relying a strong sense of the street, enhanced by landscaped courtyards and other urban spaces.
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