Ebenezer Howard was born in Fore Street in London, in 1850. When he
reached the age of eighteen, he began his professional life as a stenographer.
Howard observed the continued stream migration from country districts to the
already overcrowded cities. The background to the problem was the growth of
the Victorian industrial cities. He wrote a little book entitled To-morrow: A
Peaceful Path to Real Reform. Four years later, the second edition came out
under the title of Garden Cities of To-morrow.
He was concerned about the depopulation of the countryside and the poor
quality of life in the cities. In his mind, "garden cities" were the answers to
these two problems. Garden cities, which would merge the best qualities of the
city with the best of the country, would provide everyone with a healthy and
beautiful place in which to work, raise families, socialize, and fulfill the
responsibilities of citizenship. His basic idea was to plan and build new towns.
The Garden City was only part of a much larger development which a cluster
of Garden Cities around a Central City all interconnected and sharing leisure
facilities and services. Each would have about 6,000 or so acres and be able to
accommodate about 32,000 citizens. In the middle of the acreage would be a
cluster of residences, businesses, public buildings, and parks. Residences
would be constructed for people in all the income brackets. A place of
prominence would be reserved for the government buildings. Interspersed
throughout the urban area would be vegetable and flower gardens, wooded
areas, and green parks. The farms would provide food to the citizens of the
Whenever the population of a city expanded beyond the optimal 32,000
people, a new city would be built.
Howard organized the Garden-City Association (1899) in England.
The Garden City idea was realized in the community of Letchworth (1903),
designed by the architects Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, and in Welwyn...