Monday, February 26, 2018

Healthy New Towns - a good idea or a tech-washed way for the healthcare industry to grab a slice of the property boom?

Another day, another on-trend article from Architects Data File - this one, entitled 'Care Pathways', about Healthy New Towns.  It doesn't seem to be avaiable online, so you'll have to trust my summary until I can add a link to the original.

Roughly it goes:

  • Health a big problem, the NHS usually reactive and attuned to ill-health
  • Healthy New Towns, an initiative 'from the NHS) via its Five Year Forward View 2014 strategy aimed at prevention and well-being, not sickness, calls for policy and planning to take health in to account
  • Lots of demonstrator sites in progress or planned - to encourage walking and make for mult-generational housing
  • Technology jolly important and we need lots more of it - tele this and that, needs 5G networks and the Internet of Things, communities should be built around the internet
  • Healthy New Towns need private capital and development opportunities
See what I mean about the tech-washing? I have no trouble believing that technology can help to solve human problems or even transform societies - I'm a big fan of genuinely radical visions for technology, from solarpunk through Paul Mason's PostCapitalism to more mainstream versions like Jeremy Rifkin's Zero Marginal Cost Society.

But there is no link here at all between the call for more technology and more infrastructure on the one hand, and the proposed transformation on the other...just a touching belief that tech is needed.  And not much engagement with big questions either, like why the commercial market is unable to offer 'multi-generational neighborhoods'? Hint: it's to do with a housing market that no longer bears any relation to other parts of the economy, including the labour market and what young people can expect to earn in a lifetime. 

Oh, and I didn't see any mention of cars or transport policy, or even parking...just the information that one of the planned pilots is 'just outside the M25'. 

No comments: