Importance of the town

The town is unique in modern town planning as the original planner, Louis de Soissons, remained both the planner and the principal architect throughout the town’s formative years.

In planning terms its significance is global, bringing visitors from all around the world.  It is featured in most – probably all – university architectural and urban design courses worldwide.


Because it was amongst the first attempts to marry the conflicting requirements of a sound and clean environment (they called it “healthy living” then) with the need to develop in an industrial age.

It is the best example of the “garden city movement” aiming to provide balanced, sustainable communities with housing, employment and recreational space within a high quality garden environment.

It was originally designed and built at a time when city living was very unhealthy and increasingly difficult.  The “garden city” was then seen as a combination of living in the country yet at the same time having industry close by. This was a totally new concept in the 20th century, and explains why the town has remained such a focus for the future…still.

Welwyn Garden City has grown along these concepts and its example and the ideas behind it have been followed by many others across the globe.

The town’s special character and quality is made up of many elements that include:

  1. Carefully designed layouts with formal and symmetrical patterns.
  2. Design and detailing of architecture in groups and individual buildings.
  3. The buildings set within an ‘Arcadian’ landscape context with accessible open space and large mature trees, hedgerows and planting.
  4. The human scale and accessibility of the commercial, residential, leisure and employment area.

Welwyn Garden City combines some of the best UK domestic architecture of the last century all in a designed urban and landscaped setting.  The town is also unique because both its design and its development during its early years were in the hands of a single person: Louis de Soissons.