I recently travelled to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. As the plane descended in towards Munich airport I first noticed their farmland is structured rather differently the here in the UK. Instead on seeing huge single purpose paddocks it appeared the paddocks were mostly split into different mini sections growing different crops in each.
The paddocks surround small towns, and small forests. It seems that to drive from one town to another you would generally need to drive past a section of farmland and a section of forest, and this proved to be the case as I drove from Munich to Stuttgart in search of castles.
I had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the experience of driving around Bavaria. It brought home to me the importance of having an established greenbelt, and the effects the greenbelt can have when managed correctly.
I get the impression Germany have held closer Ebenezer Howard’s original principle of a garden city surrounded by greenbelt
“this principle of always preserving a belt of country round our cities….till, in course of time, we should have a cluster of cities…..so grouped around a Central City that each inhabitant of the whole group, though in one sense living in a town of small size, would be in reality living in, and enjoy all the advantages of, a great and most beautiful city; and yet all the fresh delights of the country – field, hedgerow and woodland – not prim parks and gardens merely – would be within a few minutes’ walk or ride”.
Under Howards idea, a town would be allowed to expand until it reached its greenbelt, after that, development would have to jump over the greenbelt begin somewhere else creating another small town in many cases.
The UK have also followed Howards approach. I’m not exactly sure what it is about the Bavarian towns that give the impression they have remained closer to Howards original idea than the UK, perhaps it is the strategic location of thousands of small forests, or the fact the towns appear to remain smaller and closer to the environment, but it was interesting to see how they have developed and how that differs to here in the UK.
Adam HoranAuthor: Woolley