Context 162 - November 2019

30 C O N T E X T 1 6 2 : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 With the awards now in their fourth year, we are finding that developers are increasingly wanting to be shortlisted, thus fulfilling the original intention of the awards. In 2019, a third environmental award category has been introduced so that we can also encourage the best in environmental and landscape design as a fundamental principle of any development. In a wider context, in common with other early post-war new towns, Harlow faces a number of challenges, including ageing housing and infra- structure, and lack of public investment. Various initiatives have addressed these areas, from the short-lived Harlow Renaissance to the activities of Discover Harlow, a partnership between public, private and community organisations promoting Harlow as place to live and invest in; Harlow Civic Society is an active participant. Harlow and its surroundings are now on the brink of major developments under the banner of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, a partnership of five local authorities.There is the prospect that the proposed developments can help address the town’s housing, employment and regeneration needs. In our view it is now even more important that the principles under- pinning the Gibberd master plan are carried through in the new developments. The vision and high-level plans published by the garden town partnership to date give some cause for optimism, although we oppose one of the areas proposed for development as it goes over the ridge line forming Harlow’s southern boundary. Continuing engagement and vigilance will be needed. Given adequate investment, improved pub- lic transport and infrastructure, employment opportunities and vision, Harlow can become an exemplary green town of the 21st century, both in the colour of the landscape and in the environmental sense. Harlow Civic Society will be playing its part in trying to achieve this. Tony Evans is treasurer of Harlow Civic Society, www.harlowcivic society.org.uk . ‘Boar’ (1970) by Elisabeth Frink, at the Water Gardens (1960–3), designed by Frederick Gibberd and Gerry Perrin, photographed in 2008 (Photo: Steve Cadman, Wikimedia)

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