A Poundbury street

So with all that in mind, the most exciting thing to happen on holiday was unexpectedly finding ourselves in Poundbury, Prince Charles's (in)famous model village. I've read so much about it but had no idea where it actually was. And it turned out it's at one end of Dorchester which we were nosying through on the way to Bridport. Even though I've thought about it a lot I'm still not sure what I thought about it. Some of it is good, some of it is bad and overall it's strange in a way that's quite mesmerising. I didn't like it, but I loved being there. I've written it all up for Nothing To See Here anyway, photos on Flickr. There are also some great photos by Paul Russell that capture the strange emptiness about the place.

I was really excited to be there because I've had a thing about planned communities and new towns since visiting Canberra 11 years ago. I'd never been anywhere quite so odd. A capital city built on a huge scale but with next to no one in it. Like a model village blown up to actual size. The scale was all wrong. I liked Canberra though. I loved the way that the major roads and landmarks lined up perfectly. Tidy. Its lack of atmosphere gave it a sort of character I'd never seen anywhere else. Washington felt similar, everything too big and too spaced out with nothing to fill the gaps. A capital city with no buzz about it. I find these sorts of places absolutely fascinating, where there's something not quite right.

It's been growing into itself for a long time now. My folks live near there so I've been many times. And while it still does feel a bit wrong, It's better than it was and I think in 10 years it may feel more rounded.

That's a long time to wait if you live there. Is it always so quiet? I couldn't believe how dead it was.

yeah, it's always semi like a ghost town. Weird. Model village-esque. But you know, like any middle class estate during the day...
there aren't enough shops for there to be a self supporting shopping community...

Here's an article from the current issue of Building Design: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=429&storycode=3126807&c=2

Thanks Matthew. It's an interesting article. Leon Krier doesn't come across too well.

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