Posted by: hepowers | November 3, 2009

Prince Charles and Royal Social Responsibility

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrived in Canada yesterday.  I am not a huge royal fan but I am impressed by Charles’ socially responsible initiatives such as promoting organic food, architectural preservation and sustainable urban design.


Today I discovered that Charles was responsible for the creation of Poundbury, an extension to Dorchester being built ‘as a pioneering example of urban development’ which ‘seeks to implement the principles expounded in The Prince of Wales 1989 book, A Vision of Britain.’

These principles include:

  • engender social interaction;
  • make places;
  • allow movement logically and legibly;
  • sustain land value;
  • design using natural harmonics;
  • build beautifully

Poundbury is one program within a think tank which Charles established.  Aptly named, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, its website describes their mission as ‘an educational charity which exists to improve the quality of people’s lives by teaching and practicing timeless and ecological ways of planning, designing and building.  We believe that if we can understand and apply time-tested principles, building once more in a sustainable way, we will reap improvements in public health, in livelier and safer streets and in a more affordable lifestyle for families and individuals. We also believe that neighbourhoods exhibiting these sustainable characteristics will accrue higher value over time.’


The Prince’s estate, The Duchy of Cornwall, is in the same region as Poundbury.  The estate residence, Highgrove, converted it’s home farm to organic practices in 1986 and ‘is one of the leading organic farms in the country and is used to demonstrate to others the principles of sustainability and organic farming.’

The estate includes leased farm lands and each tenant has been drawn into sustainable land practices through the conditions of their tenancy agreements.  Conservation and amenity projects are another initiative, promoting ‘tree planting, stone walling, lake and pond restoration works, repairs to buildings using traditional materials such as cob and the protection of ground-nesting wader birds.’

Charles’ reputation and public image has not always been favourable, and presently the media in Canada are repeating poll results that more people prefer his son William as the next king.  I don’t agree.  The knowledge and experience of Charles in creating sustainable and socially responsible communities would be truly valuable.



  1. Hi Helen, love your blog. Excellently done and the calendar too. Awesome! Maybe you can share some of your blog construction tips with the class tomorrow.

    • Hi Alyson and thanks for the feedback. Re construction tips I’m just experimenting with widgets and if it doesn’t look good, I delete them!

  2. Hey Helen,

    Did you notice the lack of people when the Prince arrived in T.O this week, I think Hamilton had more of a turn out. Thanks for the info about the Royal’s.

    • Hi Paul – I didn’t realize that Toronto had fewer people turn out. I was surprised to read that of the 3,000 at Dundurn Castle, some people came from as far away as Montreal. Maybe the McNab family connection was a big draw.

  3. Hi Helen:

    Your blog is so interesting and informative. I look forward to pursuing Poundbury.

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