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The replanning of the blitzed city centre in Britain: a comparative study of Bristol, Coventry and Southampton, 1941-1950

By Junichi Hasegawa


Before the outbreak of the Second World War Britain had suffered the consequences of uncontrolled industrial development - too highly populated built-up areas and indiscriminate sprawl of houses in the suburbs of industrial cities. Those associated with town planning called for comprehensive national planning. The state of city centres was the microcosm of the lack of such planning - insufficiency caused by traffic congestion and chaotic development of buildings of all kinds, and the absence of social amenities such as civic centres and public open spaces. But the local authorities could do very little, because, for one thing, there was no proper legislation dealing with such highly densely developed areas.\ud The German air raids on several industrial cities in 1940 were thought to have provided a golden opportunity for the local authorities to set to the task of replanning city centres. The Government promised to make up the necessary legislation, and encouraged the blitzed local authorities to plan boldly and comprehensively. City centre replanning had become a symbol of post-war reconstruction as a whole. However, the blitzed authorities soon had to face a wave of pressure to subdue boldness in their city centre plans. This thesis, by exploring the three case studies of Bristol, Coventry, and Southampton, illustrates the development of city centre replanning in the 1940s, and explains why it failed to live up to some of the expectations of its supporters

Topics: HC, DA
Year: 1989
OAI identifier:

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