By: Josh West
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. These cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelt towns. These communities contain proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. The garden city was to be the best of two worlds: large enough to have the benefits of concentration but small enough to remain close to the countryside and Howard wanted to blend urban and rural advantages. Howard was also interested in both political economy and urban design, but it is the latter that has gotten the most attention. He envisioned a set of free standing towns encircling the metropolis, connected to each other by a circumferential railroad and to the city by radial rail lines. As the first circle of towns filled, he envisioned the development of a second circle. In every case, the towns would be separated from the city and from each other by undeveloped rural land; which is a greenbelt town.
For each Garden city, Howard proposed a 1,000-acre core to house 30,000 people, surrounded by 5,000 agricultural acres supporting another 2,000 people and supplying food and dairy products. There would be a strong town center with a park, library, hospital, theater, town hall and a shopping center. Six distinct neighborhoods would each center on a school and industrial sites for the self-sufficient town would be on the edge. Howard always had hopes of the site would be owned by the community and the increase in land value would then be able to fund community activities and services. Within the United States, there are plenty of Garden Cities, from the planning of Ebenezer Howard, the town of Radburn, New Jersey, was a more substantial American application. The plan used many design elements now common in planned communities. Superblocks provided uninterrupted pedestrian access from every building to a large recreation area withi the center and pedestrian underpasses at major arteries. Radubrn was intended for a population of 25,000 people.