Cumbernauld, United Kingdom, Europe
Year1956latitude: 55° 46'
longitude: -4° 0'
Planning organization
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)L Hugh Wilson
Design organizationL Hugh Wilson, Chief Architect and Planning Officer
Target population70,000
Town website
Town related links
Literature- Lucy Bullivant, 'Tomorrow's Town Today' in: Cor Wagenaar (ed.), 'Happy. Cities and Happiness in Post-War Europe', NAi Publishers, Rotterdam 2001; Leonard Downie Jr., "The Disappointing New Towns of Great Britain", 1972,

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
Cumbernauld is one of the New Towns built in Britain after World War Two, intended as a solution to the country's chronic housing problem. Situated around a hilltop ridge thirteen miles east of Glasgow, it is Britain's most concrete example of a modernist utopian town.In 1945, the newly-elected Labour government set up The New Towns Committee, which was tasked with planning a solution to urban congestion and squalid inner-city housing conditions. Each of the New Towns was to be an independent community with the population drawn from the overcrowded and unhealthy cities.In the Committee's first report to the Government, the scale of their vision for the future is clear; 'It is not enough in our handiwork to avoid the mistakes and omissions of the past. Our responsibility, as we see it, is rather to conduct an essay on civilisation, by seizing an opportunity to design, evolve and carry into execution for the benefit of coming generations the means for a happy and gracious way of life.' The New Town of Cumbernauld was designated on December 9th 1955. The original plan called for the creation of a town capable of accommodating 50,000- 80,000 people, the majority of whom would come from Glasgow. It was one of the last New Towns designated in Britain, and the one in which modernist theories of town-planning are most obvious.The site for Cumbernauld was relatively small, meaning that population density would be higher than in other New Towns. The town's planners were keen to give their creation a more 'urban' feel than its predecessors, so this was not considered a hindrance. A Planned UtopiaThe first Chief Architect Hugh Wilson assembled a team of planners and designers from all corners of the world. They considered themselves to be part of a pioneering experiment in urban planning, and for years their fellow architects and planners travelled to Cumbernauld to study this bold utopia on a windy hilltop in central Scotland.


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