Most of us have heard of green belts – but how much do we really know about them? This book tries to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to green belts by looking both backwards and forwards. They were introduced in the mid-twentieth century to try and stop cities merging together as they grew. There is little doubt they have been very effective at doing that, but at what cost? Are green belts still the answer to today’s problems of an increasing population and ever higher demands on our natural resources?
Green Belts: Past; present; future? reflects upon green belts in the United Kingdom at a time when they have perhaps never been more valued by the public or under more pressure from development. The book begins with a historical study of the development of green belt ideas, policy and practice from the nineteenth century to the present. It discusses the impacts and characteristics of green belts and attempts to reconcile perceptions and reality. By observing examples of green belts and similar policies in other parts of the world, the authors ask what we want green belts to achieve and suggest alternative ways in which that could be done, before looking forward to consider how things might change in the coming years.
This book draws together information from a range of sources to present, for the first time, a comprehensive study of green belts in the UK. It reflects upon the gap between perception and reality about green belts, analyses their impacts on rural and urban areas, and questions why they retain such popular support and whether they are still the right solution for the UK and elsewhere. It will be of interest to anyone who is concerned with planning and development and how we can provide the homes, jobs and services we need while protecting our more valuable natural assets.