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There are many things one associates with Prince Charles: environmentalism, organic farming, and philanthropy. But town planning? The brainchild of Charles, Poundbury is a new town built in Southwest England in 1993. Speaking with “60 Minutes,” His Royal Highness explained that Poundbury’s goal was “to break the conventional mold. In the way we’ve been building and designing… during the last century, really, has all been part of a throwaway society.” Combining the ambience of a quaint English town with modern areas for walking and commuting, Charles tried to manufacture a new way of living with Poundbury. While some have praised the model village as an admirable attempt to engineer a charming Englishness of old, it has also drawn its fair share of criticism, with many viewing Charles’ magnum opus as little more than as The Guardian put it, “a feudal Disneyland.”
Likening the town to a 1950s department store, The Guardian branded Poundbury “fake, heartless, authoritarian and grimly cute.” Meanwhile, Current Affairs magazine suggested that the town was reflective of a dystopian nightmare unfit for human habitation, arguing that Poundbury is not a “real town, a living town, but a collection of hyperreal set pieces, a moquette built at 1 to 1 scale.” Yikes.
Piping hot burns aside, Poundbury’s architectural design has also caused unforeseen traffic chaos. In 2016, Charles erected a statue of the Queen Mother in the middle of the road, leading to widespread “confusion” as to whether or not the mighty bronze carving is “a roundabout or a junction,” per Daily Mail.
Source: Nicki Swift