Carola Holz

DPhil in Architectural History


Landscape Architecture of New Towns in Britain

Research abstract

Landscape architecture played an important role in the design of British New Towns. The layout of most of them was rooted in the tradition of the Garden City Movement. Although the lineage of New Town concepts is evident in most publications, the discussions of urban design casually subsume landscape design as a mere decorative sideline. The larger context for the role landscape design can assume - as for instance an expression of artistic will or a translation of political intention - is rarely explored in the emerging field of the history of modern landscape architecture. 

This thesis aims to bridge these gaps based on the physical evidence of New Town landscape architecture as built during the years of post-war consensus. Interaction of architectural styles and styles in landscape architecture, and their use to communicate the specific notion of national identity in dialogue with historical patterns, in particular the concept of the Picturesque, constitutes another aspect of research. The thesis will explore the socio-political and cultural undercurrents in which the New Towns movement was posited, between Garden City social idealism, Modernist rationale, as well as the enduring tension between the urban environment and concepts of nature.


Dr Claire O’Mahony


having completed a MSt in History of Design at the University of Oxford the previous year. Her first degree was a MA in History of Art, gained in 1987.

Research interests

New Towns, modernist architecture, landscape architecture, and the Picturesque.