On 28th February 2018 we re-hosted the original 1901 Garden Cities Association symposium, but with a modern twist.

The symposium gathered a range of built environment experts, influencers and stakeholders to learn from the original 1901 Housing Conference.

We wanted to consider how we can create new places that will thrive long into the future – as Bournville does today.

The debate was more than a ‘quick fix’ to build houses in volume. The idea was to learn from the Bournville Village Trust and create an action plan for future places, but include the issues that face today’s society, such as:

  • Economic, health and wellbeing factors
  • Societal change
  • Policy’s role in solving the housing crisis.

Keynote speakers introduced the topics of Stewardship, Wellbeing, Technology, Delivery and Placemaking before everyone broke into groups to discuss ‘provocations’ relating to each.

Summaries were then fed back to the room, while Laura Sorvala illustrated the day on ‘The Wall’.

Who led the debate?

We gathered experts from across and beyond the housing sector to debate the wider issues around shaping future places.

Why did we host it?

In 2016, Bournville Architects became part of Stride Treglown, bringing with it expertise from working on the original garden village. Rediscovering the agenda for the 1901 GCA conference gave us the inspiration for this event.

As the conversation around garden cities continues to build momentum, and with our close link with Bournville Village Trust, it puts us in a unique position.

View the orignal 1901 Minutes


We captured the day with photographs, video, scribes and an artist. The conclusions will be published as an action plan for Placemakers of the future. Please register your interest below to receive a copy of these.

View The Little Book of Provocations

Little Book of Provocations

Can we solve the housing crisis by building the numbers of homes needed and still create sustainable places for the future?

Topics for Discussion

Roundtable discussions and brief keynotes considered economic, societal and technological influences on placemaking.

How can we make this relevant today?

As startups increasingly drive employment growth, what does this mean for creating new places for people to work as well as live?

Can modern employers fill the stewardship role?

Have we got the financial or ownership model right?

What alternative models can be used to balance the urgent need for housing with the desire to create great places?

Can it be self-sustaining or is it caught in the policy cycle?

Can placemaking be private-sector led?

Who are the ‘new Cadburys’ and the disrupters?

Are they interested in this model?

How can public and private sectors collaborate to create places?

What makes people passionate – and compassionate – about creating homes, places and communities?

How/can we avoid homogeneity in places so that communities rather than ghettos are built?

How can we ensure that new places are fit for purpose not just for today and tomorrow, but for the future?

What are the technologies that need to be designed for and can flexibility be built in for future, unknown technologies?