To build a large, low density, cosy hamlet in the countryside? Or design a new place, at scale, capable of integrating with and reinvigorating Harlow? We chose the latter. In many ways Harlow North was the pioneer of a new kind of edge settlement in the UK. Grounded in new urbanism – a harbinger in many ways of what is now called, ‘place making’ – Harlow North sought to recapture the pioneering spirit of Harlow New Town and transform it into genuinely sustainable new settlement and community planning. The Downing College (Cambridge) symposia we organised brought together the UK’s leading thinkers and doers in the sustainable built environment to challenge and refine the plans. It was an exciting threshold moment for sustainability in land-use planning, masterplanning and environmental engineering.