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European students learn about town planning during Bournville visit

Bournville’s open spaces and well-designed and quality built homes are what gives the suburb its distinctive look and feel

The students from Deltion College at Selly Manor in Bournville

European design students visited Birmingham to learn more about a city suburb often seen as a masterpiece of town planning.

As part of getting to grips with designing sustainable places for people to live, students from Deltion College in the Netherlands visited Bournville to learn more about George Cadbury’s 100-year-old garden city.

Originally designed around 1900 by Bournville Architects from Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ethos initiative in 1898, Bournville is seen as one of the most enduring and successful examples of the movement’s principles.

Garden cities have been created around the world and provide places and spaces where people choose to live.

Bournville’s open spaces and well-designed and quality built homes are what gives the suburb its distinctive look and feel.

Today, the estate, which covers 1,000 acres and has been credited as laying the foundations for the development of garden cities, is managed by Bournville Village Trust (BVT) and is home to approximately 25,000 people.

Cadbury also encouraged the construction of local facilities that would help communities to thrive, which is why Bournville is populated by open spaces, shops and community halls among other facilities such as bowls, cricket and tennis clubs, playgrounds and parks.

In November, Bournville Architects and College joined forces to provide architecture, engineering and construction students, from its sister college in the Netherlands with a study day.

Comprising a tour of current and existing projects, the students visited Selly Manor and Minworth Greaves ending with a seminar about the history of BVT. The students will build their experience into their Deltion College study module: Urban Design and Social History.

Adrian Millicheap, deputy director at Bournville Architects, said: “Ebenezer’s original concept doesn’t age as proven with the recent announcement that Bicester plans to become the next garden city.

“Although the Netherlands is at the forefront of contemporary design, the UK has been very successful in building communities that endure. The students’ visit to Bournville demonstrated how old housing can evolve to suit modern life.”

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