American Radburn design for public housing

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The American Radburn design for public housing is a reference the civil engineering designs for public housing estates applied in the 1970s in Sydney, Australia and other places. It is typified by the backyards of homes facing the street and the fronts of homes facing each other over common yards.[1] It is often referred to as an urban design experiment which is typified by failure due to the laneways used as common entries and exits to the houses helping ghettoise communities and encourage crime; it has ultimately lead to efforts to 'de-Radburn' or partially demolish American Radburn designed public housing areas.[2] It is an offshoot of American designs from English garden city theories which culminated in the design of the partially built Radburn, New Jersey estate.[3]

When interviewed in 1998, the architect responsible for introducing the design to public housing in New South Wales, Philip Cox, was reported to have admitted with regards to an American Radburn designed estate in the suburb of Villawood, "Everything that could go wrong in a society went wrong," "It became the centre of drugs, it became the centre of violence and, eventually, the police refused to go into it. It was hell." [2]


  1. ^ Davies, Anne (30 May 2002). "Notorious public housing estate to be largely rebuilt". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Dylan Welch (2009-01-08). "Demolition ordered for Rosemeadow estate". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  3. ^