For the last forty years, everything to do with the built environ­ ment in Britain has been subject to a system o f town and country planning, which prided itself on being the earliest and best in the world. Its origins lay in a long line o f model communities and State policies directed towards relief o f urban poverty and improvement o f the domestic lives o f the poor. With the addition o f an industrial distribution policy designed to counteract economic decline, this led to a comprehensive system o f land use planning where, as well as controlling building and property development, the production o f an ideal environment was regarded as one o f the main tasks, and one o f the State’s chief instruments o f social reform. The fully comprehensive system was achieved at the same time as the Wel­ fare State, and may be regarded as one o f its major policies.