The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) this week celebrated the centenary of Welwyn Garden City, one of the world’s first garden cities, with a visit to the Hertfordshire town.
On Monday RTPI President, Dr Wei Yang FRTPI, and Chief Executive Victoria Hills MRTPI, toured Welwyn Garden City alongside Tony Skottowe, Chair of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust.
Wei and Victoria’s tour included a visit to a new sculpture of Sir Ebenezer Howard who designed the town in 1920. The urban planner, who was the first honorary member of the RTPI, was also responsible Letchworth Garden City and was the founder of the wider garden city movement.
After meeting Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Chief Executive Ka Ng, Council Leader Tony Kingsbury and others, Wei and Victoria made their way to 15 miles north to Letchworth Garden City.
During their visit to Letchworth Garden City Wei and Victoria toured the town centre and attended a tree planting ceremony with Pam Burn, Chair of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and North Hertfordshire District Council Chair Val Bryant. The day ended with a visit to Sir Ebenezer Howard’s grave where Wei Yang laid flowers in his honour.
Wei Yang, RTPI President, said: “It was my great pleasure to visit Welwyn Garden City with our Chief Executive Victoria Hills to officially congratulate the garden city’s centenary celebration on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
“The garden city movement is the foundation of modern town and country planning. Built after the First World War, Welwyn Garden City provided the garden city model with an opportunity to make a fresh start in relation to the challenges of the time. It is remarkable to see the success of the garden city and its world-renowned status.
“I was also delighted to attend the tree planting ceremony in Letchworth Garden City as a way to express our gratitude and appreciation to Sir Ebenezer Howard and the garden city pioneers and show our determination to rekindle the founding spirit to tackle the challenges we face today.
“It was my great honour to lay flowers on behalf of the RTPI at Howard’s grave to pay our tribute for his selfless contribution and thank him for inventing the priceless garden city model for the world.”
Tony Kingsbury, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said: “It was an honour to welcome the President and Chief Executive of the RTPI to our world famous town – the place where Ebenezer Howard, founding father of the global garden city movement, lived and died.
“We had some interesting discussions about the borough’s exciting future, and how we can attract planners to come and work for the council. We very much look forward to welcoming our guests back again to see how we are progressing on those important plans.”