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A model village is a type of mostly self-contained community, in most cases built from the late eighteenth century onwards by industrialists to house their workers. Although the villages are located close to industrial sites, they are generally physically separated from them and often consist of relatively high quality housing, with integrated community amenities and attractive physical environments. "Model" is used in the sense of an ideal to which other developments could aspire.
The term "model villages" also refers to the forcible resettlement program for civil war refugees in Guatemala developed by the national government to isolate civilians from guerrillas by confining them to closed garrison towns. The system was based on the Strategic Hamlet Program in Vietnam instituted by the US military and the Diem regime during the earlier parts of the Vietnam War, and has parallels with the village guard system enforced by the Turkish government during the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.
In the British Isles
Model villages were created in the United Kingdom by some of the first industrialists. Arkwright and Wedgwood built housing for their workers in the 18th century, but fully developed settlements are more typical of the 19th or early 20th centuries. The development of Poundbury, a model village in rural Dorset has been supported by the Prince of Wales.
Model villages were built by philanthropist industrialists such as Titus Salt and George Cadbury to house their workers and provide social amenities. Architects associated with the movement include the designer of Woodlands Model Village and Creswell Model Village, Percy B. Houfton. They were influential in the development of the garden city movement.
There were often significant restrictions for living in model villages, often depending on the views of the owners. For example, Bournville model village had no public houses, because Cadbury abjured alcohol.
There are some estate villages which can be seen as model villages. English examples are seen when a medieval settlement has been rebuilt by a rural landowner, as at Edensor on the Chatsworth estate, at Milton Abbas and Selworthy.
- Trowse, Norwich, Norfolk (1805)
- Blaise Hamlet, Bristol (1811)
- Selworthy, Somerset (1828)
- Snelston, Derbyshire (1840s)
- Railway Village, Swindon (1840s)
- Withnell Fold, Lancashire (1844)
- Meltham, West Yorkshire (1850)
- Saltaire, West Yorkshire (1853)
- Akroydon, West Yorkshire (1859)
- Nenthead, Cumbria (1861)
- Copley, West Yorkshire (1874)
- Howe Bridge, Atherton, Greater Manchester (1873–79)
- Bournville, West Midlands (1879)
- Barwick Hertfordshire (1888)
- Port Sunlight, Merseyside (1888)
- Creswell, Derbyshire (1895)
- New Bolsover, Derbyshire (1896)
- New Earswick, North Yorkshire (1901)
- Woodlands, South Yorkshire (1905)
- Whiteley Village, Surrey (1907)
- The Garden Village, Kingston upon Hull (1908)
- Silver End, Essex (1926)
- Stewartby, Bedfordshire (1926)
- Poundbury, Dorset (construction started 1993; ongoing)
Some villages were built around coal mines. In Yorkshire, the villages of Grimethorpe, Goldthorpe, Woodlands and Fitzwilliam were all built to house workers at the colliery, around which the houses were built. Following the mass pit closures of 1984-94, many of these villages suffered from huge losses in population.
- Milford, Armagh, Northern Ireland (1800s)
- Portlaw, Waterford, Ireland (1825)
- Sion Mills, Northern Ireland (1835)
- Bessbrook, Northern Ireland (1845)
- Laurelvale, Northern Ireland (1850s)
- New Lanark, Scotland (1786)
In Continental Europe
In Italy's Lombardy region, Crespi d’Adda is a particularly well-preserved model workers' village, and has been a World Heritage Site since 1995. It was built from scratch, starting in 1878, to provide housing and social services for the workers in a cotton textile factory erected on the banks of the river Adda.
In Germany, Stadt des KdF-Wagens was built for the Volkswagen factory.
In the Americas
United States of America
Model villages were also built in the United States along the same lines as planned industrial communities, for example at Gwinn, Michigan and Pullman, Illinois. There were also such agricultural communities as the 18th century Davis Bend, Mississippi. Boulder City, Nevada was originally built in 1931 for housing for workers who were building Hoover Dam.
- Jají, Campo Elías Municipality. A planned village in the Andes, Jají was restored in the twentieth century in Spanish Colonial style.
India has its equivalent as model town. The first was Model Town, Bathinda put up with exclusive purpose of housing the employees of Guru Nanak Thermal Plant. Similar model towns are attached with many Indian cities.
related 'Idealised' town building schemes
- Sanford, Victoria (19 April 2003). Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala. pp. 137–139.
- Turkey's war on the Kurds, 13 Aug 2005
For Individual entries see the articles. Standard reference work on subject (including some US and European examples) are;
- Gillian Darley's 'Villages of Vision: A Study of Strange Utopias' first published 1975 (Architectural Press, pb 1978 Paladin) and republished with fully revised gazetteer 2007 (Five Leaves Publications)
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