In the 1960s, London was confronted with housing congestion. In order to solve this, the British government decided that a further generation of 'new towns' in the south-east of England was needed. Milton Keynes has been one of those new towns. What does this new born city look like today? What does it mean to have been fully subjected to urban planning for a town like this?
Designed in 1967, Milton Keynes was the largest New Town of England. Originally meant for 60.000 people, MK now houses over 210.000 inhabitants. What was meant to be ‘the ultimate city of the 21st Century’, now appears a concatenation of planned streets and shopping malls, reflecting the perhaps bygone ideals of suburbanization.
One night documentary maker Ingo Baltes gets lost in the repetitive streets of this outstretched urban space, looking for a city centre. On his way throughout the documentary, he encounters a variety of characters, such as the architect, a man drinking beer all day watching people go by from a bus stop, and the Trolleyologist, who collects missing shopping trolleys that are scattered throughout Milton Keynes.
A grim portrait of this New Town in light of the architect’s initial ambitions.
Screening of the documentary followed by a discussion with the director Ingo Baltes and Ivan Nio (Centre for Urban Studies /International New Town Institute) .