Skip to content

Exploring the Historic Built Environment of New Towns

Stevenage Town Square, 1960

Stevenage Town Square, 1960

Stevenage was the UK’s first new town in 1946. Planners, architects, artists, and engineers designed a modern town with access to housing, employment, green spaces, shops, public services, and leisure and culture for all. It was planned as six neighbourhoods – each with a local centre – clustered around the world’s first pedestrian town centre of its kind and scale. Another first, 26 miles of safe cycle paths, joined it all up.

The town was filled with revolutionary architecture, designed to meet the needs of the residents, symbolising the New Town’s socially progressive values. This includes some of the earliest examples of Brutalism in the UK. The Development Corporation also integrated a town-wide public art programme from the beginning.