Ellon Probus Club talk on new cities

President Norman Davidson welcomed 33 members to the Ellon Probus Club meeting and introduced fellow member Gordon Benton as speaker.

Gordon is an Aberdeen-trained architect and has worked extensively throughout East Africa, Iran, the Far East, and, in particular, thirty two years in Indonesia.

Sustainable Strategies for New Cities was the subject of his talk, from design and construction, to management of the environment within the city complex. As cities grow larger and population increases, the way to go is to build edge cities - that is smaller and manageable cities catering for specific communities but linked to the main city by road and rail.

One such city was Lippo village thirty miles west of Jakarta in Indonesia, designed by Gordon and his team, which eventually won him an international award.

Having given up his architectural practice, he became the project’s director of planning and development and eventually its first mayor.

On a budget of twenty million dollars a month, Lippo village was built in stages, the school came first, followed by a hospital, shopping mall, then a mix of up-market and low cost housing in a ratio of one to four.

In 1994, Pelita Harapan University was built in Lippo, which now defines it as a University City. It has now expanded to take in three residential districts and a commercial centre, together with hotels and sports facilities.

In a census carried out in 2008, the population stood at around fifty five thousand.

Gordon explained that such sustainable, environmentally friendly cities could be built in Scotland.

The vote of thanks was proposed by David Barclay.