Working with RIBA Somerset we devised and hosted a Design Charette for Taunton Garden Town to facilitate conversations about the role of design in shaping of the garden town. Organised in collaboration with Arts Taunton, Hydrock and Somerset West and Taunton Council, it brought together 100 stakeholders for an afternoon to discuss how to expand upon The Vision for the Garden Town. Taunton was one of the first Garden Towns to be established in 2017 and is described by the Council as ‘a once in a generation opportunity’ to improve the lives of the town’s communities. Planned growth is forty percent, the largest of any major settlement in the South West and will bring the town’s population to 85,000 people, providing new homes and employment and an opportunity to improve the landscape of the town as a whole.
The event highlighted how the Garden Town designation is a great opportunity define what a contemporary garden town should be like. ‘How could the early 20th C Garden Town concepts about sociability, innovation and relating to nature be interpreted for today?’
Shaping how a town’s character can evolve can be subtle, delicate and difficult. The need to understand character was underscored since to consider how a town can change and grow its necessary to describe what it feels like to be part of one town or another.
Recognizing that the quality of design is critical the event led to the establishment of Taunton Design Circle who aim to to promote and foster high quality, sustainable design in Taunton and surrounding area. This voluntary organisation of local stakeholders aims to give citizens constructive views a stronger voice.
Event partners: Arts Taunton, Hydrock and SW&T
Graphic Design: Carl Middleton www.carlmiddleton.com
Photography: Joel James Devlin
Illustration: Laura Sorvala www.laurasorvala.com