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Ken Worpole

Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose work includes many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. His principal interests concern the planning and design of new settlements, landscapes and public institutions–streets, parks, playgrounds, libraries, informal education–based on the pioneering achievements of twentieth-century social democracy and the environmental movement.

In recent years he has focused on recovering the social history of communitarian experiments in both town and country, drawing lessons for the creation of new residential and environmentally sustainable forms of settlement for an ageing population. He has written extensively about the Essex landscape and its 20th century social history, in such books as 350 Miles: An Essex Journey, and The New English Landscape. His most recent book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen (2021), is a study of a wartime Christian pacifist community in Frating, Essex.

Ken’s childhood years were spent in Leytonstone, on Canvey Island, and in Southend, where he attended Southend High School for Boys. A former Senior Professor at The Cities Institute, London Metropolitan University, he was a founder member of the Demos think-tank and of Opendemocracy, and has served on the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the UK Government's Green Spaces Task Force, and as an adviser to the Commission for Architecture & The Built Environment. In the New Statesman, editor Jason Cowley recently wrote that, ‘Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with an understated erudition’.