Garden City Concept

What was Garden City Concept by Sir Ebenzer Howard ?

Garden City concept was introduced by Sir Ebenzer Howard in 1898. he had no training in urban planning or design but excelled in creating places which he called “magnets” where people would want to come to reside and work. His concept was an effective response for a better quality of life in over crowded and dirty industrial towns which had deteriorated the environment and posed serious threat to health.

He explained three options under the title “The Three Magnets”, which are –

  1. Town – Place offered high wages, opportunity and amusement. It was closing out of nature, offered isolation of crowds and distance from work. But it came at a cost of foul air, costly drainage, murky sky and slums.
  2. Country Side – It offered natural beauty, low rents, fresh air, meadow but had low wages and lack of drainage.
  3. Town- Country – it was a combination of both town and countryside with aim of providing benefits of both and offered beauty of nature, social opportunity, fields if easy access, low rent, high wages and field of enterprise.

Features of Garden City are –

  • 1000 acres of towns designed for healthy living and industry
  • 5000 acres if permanent green belt which surrounds the whole town
  • Density of 12 families per acre
  • A large central park having public building.
  • limited size of approx 32000 people, planned in advance and land in single ownership to eliminate overcrowding.

Garden City Concept

Examples of cities developed on garden city concept :

The two garden cities developed are Letchworth & Welwyn.

Letchworth – The first garden city developed. It is located near London, designed by Barry Parker & Raymond Unwin in 1903.

It had following features –

  • Its plan was based on population of 30000 with living area of 1250 acres and 2500 acres of rural green belt.
  • Communities ranged from 12000 – 18000 people, small enough which required no vehicular transportation.
  • Industries were connected to central city by rapid transportation.

Welwyn – It was the second Garden City founded by Sir Ebenzer Howard and designed by Louis De Soissions in 1920.

It had the following features

  • It started with area of 2400 acres and 4000 population
  • Had a parkway, almost a mile long central mall
  • Town laid out along tree lined boulevards with Neo Georgian town center
  • Every road had a wide grass verge

Garden city concept spread to various  parts of world and influenced and all English, American, Canadian & Australian planning but housing was most influenced.

Other example include Glenrother, Bedford Park, Milton Keyns in United Kingdom, Village Homes, Reston in United States, Helleran in Germany, Tapiola in Finland.

Read about: City Beautiful Movement, Town Planning Concepts in Early 20th Century, Outlook Tower by Patrick Geddes

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