Letter: New homes must be sustainable

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The Independent Online
Sir: Peter Popham ("Milton Keynes Multiplied", 11 February) quotes Peter Hall's concept of more new towns like Milton Keynes, linked by existing or proposed railway lines.

On the face of it this looks like sound and sustainable stuff. The trouble is that Milton Keynes is so spread out that almost every activity involves a journey, usually by car: hardly sustainable in the generally accepted meaning of conserving resources.

Our priority in seeking to accommodate lots of new - if smaller - households is to look first at our existing towns and cities, which have been catastrophically denuded of people. Compact communities, where the necessities and pleasures of life are close at hand, are not only more sustainable than those that are spread out - the best of them are, for many people, much the best places to live.

Let's upgrade all parts of all our towns and cities for all their citizens before we start squandering resources on another round of car-orientated dispersal.


London EC1