After 25 Years, Poundbury's Revolutionary Traditionalism Still Divides

Designed by architect Léon Krier, and spearheaded by Prince Charles, the 'model village' on 400 acres outside of Dorchester, England was begun 25 years ago. As Graham Norwood reports, its success is still a matter for debate.
October 2, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Although its neo-traditional architecture is derided by some, and the downturn has pushed back its expected completion date, the pioneering New Urbanist development remains popular among homebuyers. As Norwood notes, "estate agents claim Poundbury's homes have sold more rapidly and at higher prices than those in adjoining Dorchester."

But just what type of homebuyer is moving in? According to Norwood, an "influx of older residents, along with agents reporting an above-average number of mature buyers, may fuel the belief that Poundbury's traditional values appeal only to a more senior subset of the population."

Despite concerns about the wider appeal for the Poundbury development type, two projects based on the same principles, to be located at the Newquay Growth Area, a coastal resort in the far south-west of England, and at the nearby town of Truro, are proceeding. 

"The Duchy claims support for these schemes from local authorities and developers shows the prince's approach to building is gaining momentum," says Norwood. "Critics are less convinced, nick-naming the coastal scheme Surfbury and the supermarket-backed venture Trolleybury, and accusing both of turning the clock back in terms of design."

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Published on Friday, September 28, 2012 in The Financial Times
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