Can the British plan? Sometimes it seems unlikely. Across the world we see grand designs and visionary projects: new airport terminals, nuclear power stations, high-speed railways, and glittering buildings. It all seems an unattainable goal on Britain’s small and crowded island; and yet perhaps this is too pessimistic. for the British have always planned, and much of what they have today is the result of past plans, successfully implemented. Ranging widely, from London’s squares and the new city of Milton Keynes, to ‘High Speed One’, the motorways, and the secret first electronic computers, Ian Wray’s remarkable book puts successful infrastructure plans under the microscope. Who made these plans and what made them stick? How does this reflect the defining characteristics of British government? And what does that say about the individuals who drew them up and saw them through? In so doing the book casts refreshing new light on how big decisions have actually been made, revealing the hidden sources of drive and initiative in British society, as seen through the lens of ‘plans past’. And it asks some searching questions about the mechanisms we might need for successful ‘plans future’, in Britain and elsewhere. Includes foreword by the Right Honourable the Lord Heseltine CH.
Foreword by the Right Honourable the Lord Heseltine CH, Part I: Context, 1. Manoeuvre Well Executed? On Rational Plans and British Plans, Part II: Case Studies, 2. Landlords and Objectors: London's Roads and Squares, 3. The Making of an English Landscape: Capability Brown and the New Aesthetic, 4. Urban Pastoral: The Building of Birkenhead Park, 5. The Uses of Disorder: Bletchley Park and the World's First Computer, 6. The Cambridge Paradox: Phenomenal Growth; Planned Restraint, 7. Driving Ambitions: Engineering the British Motorways, 8. The City as Chessboard: Constructing the New City of Milton Keynes, 9. The Dream of Caligula: The Channel Tunnel and Its Rail Link, 10. The Pedaller's Tale: Pioneering the National Cycle Network, Part III: Explanations and Implications, 11. Common Threads: Drawing Together the Case Studies, 12. Who's in Charge? The British Government Machine, 13. How Britain Works: Pluralism, Autonomy and Individualism, 14. British Futures, British Plans: Conclusions and Implications
Planning - Great Britain, Urban & municipal planning, Human geography, Urban communities, Sociology, European history