Garden City, the ideal of a planned residential community, as devised by the English town planner Ebenezer Howard and promoted by him in Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Social Reform (1898). Howard’s plan for garden cities was a response to the need for improvement in the quality of urban life, which had become marred by overcrowding and congestion due to uncontrolled growth since the Industrial Revolution.
Howard’s company First Garden City Ltd began construction in 1903. The company appointed architects Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin to design the masterplan for the new community. Central to the Company’s ethos was a commitment to repatriate all proﬁts back into the Estate.
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Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City also recreates a perfect balanced world, where there is light, space and order. The Garden City was more than just an architectural plan; it was also a statement for the advocacy of social reform and equity. He, just like Le Corbusier believed that the world would be a better place if there were more balance between the poor and the rich. He did not however oppose Capitalism, he only believed that the planning of a community should not be segregate but should promote unity (Source E).
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Should planners still read Ebenezer Howard? Howard's 1898 book on Garden Cities has been a standard text for generations of planners. It serves as one of the foundational stories in traditional accounts of planning's birth as a profession, and even contemporary advocates of greenbelts, clustered development, new urbanism, local agriculture and collective property arrangements find inspiration in Howard's text. But can an English idea from 1898 still be relevant in an era of automobiles, highways, megacities, globalization, suburban sprawl, national and international networks of food commodities, etc.? In your essay, discuss the benefits and problems of relying on Howard's garden city vision as both a key foundational moment in planning history and as an enduring vision of an alternative community scale and structure. Does Howard deserve this continued attention, or is it time to put away our dusty copies of Garden Cities of To-morrow and look elsewhere?
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Sir Ebenezer Howard, (born Jan. 29, 1850, London, Eng.—died May 1, 1928, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire), founder of the English garden-city movement, which inﬂuenced urban planning throughout the world.