Plenary Conference of the New Towns Heritage Research Network

Thursday 5th July 2018, 09:30 – 17:00

Coventry University, Technology Park, Coventry, UK

The increasing interest placed on the post-war architectural, design and planning heritage of UK and European New Towns engages urban and cultural researchers and practitioners, policy makers and civic society organisations to explore collaboratively the urban heritage in post-war new towns in the UK and mainland Europe.

The Plenary Conference in Coventry built on the exploration to date, the previous events in Milton Keynes, Harlow, Peterborough and Rotterdam, shared wider views and research on 20th century post-war New Town Heritage and developed a strategy for the continuation and further expansion of the network.

This event was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)


Wednesday, 4th July 2018

16.00 Pre-conference Tour of the pioneering post-war city centre development of Coventry; Jeremy Gould, Author of Coventry. The making of a modern city 1939-73; Meeting point: Broadgate, Lady Godiva Statue

Thursday, 5th July 2018

09:30 The New Towns Heritage Network: Genesis, Objectives, Considerations (PDF file) Sabine Coady Schaebitz, Coventry University

10:00 Case study 1: Milton Keynes (PDF file) Shane Downer, Milton Keynes Council

10:20 Case study 2: Harlow; Diane Cooper, Head of Planning, Harlow Council

11:10 Case study 3: Peterborough (PDF file) Stacey Kennedy, Vivacity Peterborough Culture and Leisure

11.40 Case study 4: Rotterdam (PDF file) JaapJan Berg, International New Town Institute

12:00 New Town Heritage Research and Policy Discussion; Convener Mike Taylor, Town Planner and Conservation Consultant

14:00 A Coventry Declaration? Towards a New Town Heritage Manifesto (PDF file)

14:30 Manifesto Discussion; Convenor JaapJan Berg, International New Town Institute

16.00 The French and British New Towns Experiments : Lessons for the Future? (PDF file) David Fée University of Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3

Forthcoming Network Activities: Paris, Rotterdam or anywhere? David Fée, University of Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris; Simone Rots, INTI; Shane Downer, MK Council; Bob Colenutt, Oxford Brookes University

17:00 Close of the Plenary Conference of the AHRC New Town Heritage Research Network + Drinks


  1. 13 forms collected
  2. Everyone happy with the venue
  3. Rating of the event in terms of content
  • 7 gave 10
  • 5 gave 9
  • 1 gave 8
  1. Most valuable thing you have learned
  • About the Manifesto
  • British New Towns face similar issues to New Towns elsewhere
  • New Colleagues identified
  • The quality of heritage in New Towns and the challenges
  • Capturing the essence of New Towns Heritage with good examples
  • Common interest and awareness among residents
  • Connecting to others in the field
  • Similarity of New Towns in England and the Netherlands
  • International nature of the New Towns movement
  • Other New Town initiatives
  • How to move the project forward and implementation
  • Networking potential
  • Awareness of New Town heritage and the challenges
  1. What would you suggest to improve the quality of future events?
  • Better communication – could not find it on the internet
  • Look at examples elsewhere in the UK; Failure is also an important lesson; engagement with communities
  • Broader group of participants
  • Bigger event
  • Workshop and group work
  • Go into greater depth in workshops
  1. How did you hear about the event?
  • University Tutor
  • RGS Planning and Environment Research network
  • Been to previous events
  • On Network email list
  • Personal contacts
  • Asked to speak
  • Via INTI
  1. Motivation to come along
  • Most said it was the programme and special interest
  • Free event
  • Manifesto
  1. Who Came?
  • Most in age groups over 50 (but not all) and white