Author Archives: Matt Wood

Forest Village #9: Show Me The Money

So far Forest Village is hypothetical, a thought-experiment; but after thinking about it for so long it was hard to stop. Could a Forest Village really be built? Technically speaking, yes it could – Center Parcs had demonstrated that – … Continue reading

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Forest Village #8: What’s the Catch?

So far, Forest Village is the product of an end-of-holiday moment of wistfulness: ‘This is lovely; wouldn’t it be nice to live here all the time?’ But like all such pipe-dreams, it’s worth taking a minute to be critical. It … Continue reading

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Forest Village #7: The ‘Suburbs’

In the last post we imagined re-developing Elveden Center Parcs’ central area to serve as a new centre for our imaginary Forest Village, but the real essence of Center Parcs (and in turn Forest Village) lies away from the centre: … Continue reading

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Forest Village #6: The Village Centre

What would one have to do to Center Parcs Elveden to turn it into a ‘real’ village? Well for the purposes of this thought-experiment the aim would be to change as little as possible, preserving the essential quality which could … Continue reading

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Forest Village #5: Sustainable Development?

As a model for the development of a new settlement, Center Parcs offers a really powerful proposition. Most green-field development replaces green-space with houses. In a Center Parcs they depend on each other. The forest is regarded as an asset … Continue reading

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Forest Village #4: The Reality

So we had imagined (previous post) a medium-density self-sustaining new settlement, planned for pedestrians and bicycles, in which residents could live surrounded by the trees, plants and wildlife of their own forest, which the process of development had not only … Continue reading

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Forest Village #3: The Concept

When the Forest Village concept was set out on paper, the accepted ideal minimum size for a new settlement or urban extension was around 2,000-3,000 homes – large enough to sustain a useful hub of local services, including a primary … Continue reading

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Forest Village #2: Houses and Trees

I will explain the real origin of Forest Village later, but I was prompted to write it down after reading another think-piece about houses and trees, by Mischa Balen, then of the Adam Smith Institute. The article ran in Planning … Continue reading

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Forest Village #1: Background

The publication of the final report of the Independent Panel on Forestry earlier this year reminded me of a ‘think-piece’ about building in forests which I wrote way back in 2007, when I was a director at Conran&Partners. ‘Forest Village’ … Continue reading

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Odds and Ends…

A nice exchange just now with Howard, planning a Part 2 dissertation on Rural Architecture – see Comment/Contact. This follows Rory Olcayto’s report in the AJ (previous post) about Rem Koolhaas taking an interest in matters rural, and I am … Continue reading

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