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Welcome To Poundbury, The Quaint Town Created By King Charles

The project started as an idea he had four decades ago. Welcome To Poundbury, The Quaint Town Created By King Charles Shutterstock

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When most folks think about British villages, they might picture rolling hillsides and very traditional, quaint structures. But like communities across the West in recent decades, there have been some significant changes in architecture and infrastructure … all in the name of “progress.”

A different vision

About 40 years ago, King Charles (who was the Prince of Wales at the time) began to notice that many areas of his country no longer resembled the picturesque landscapes that he remembered from his childhood.

And in the early ‘80s he started to speak out about it.

Natural resources were being ripped up, existing neighborhoods were being bulldozed, and highways were being built far and wide. Historical inner cities had been revamped for a modern look, but often the construction was not made to last.

By the end of the decade, Charles came out with a documentary and accompanying book — “A Vision of Britain” — and that vision soon started to take root as something more tangible.

Building Poundbury

Since architects were not seem to be heeding his recommendations, Charles decided to lead by example. He teamed up with expert planner Leon Krier and started to put in motion a project that would become the hamlet of Poundbury.

Located near Dorchester, Poundbury has gone through three phases of construction over the past 30 years and is practically complete. It emphasizes the understated beauty England was once known for and, at first glance, there’s no indication that this is a new town.

Media and some naysayers in the architectural industry predicted its failure, but things soon started to come together.

Emphasizing beauty and sustainability, Poundbury offers mixed-use spaces that provide everything residents need in a way that promotes community.

About 4,100 people live there, and its aesthetic is starting to spread to nearby communities.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee February 22nd, 2024
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