The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future

To understand The Garden City Movement concept we need to go back a bit more than 100 years. Also, the garden city movement is a method of urban planning that commenced by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898. Also, his ideologies and philosophies were documented in his book Tomorrow- A Peaceful Path to Real Reform(1898) which again was revised as” Garden Cities of Tomorrow”(1902). Garden city movement aimed at addressing the urban problems afflicting the industrial cities of that time. During this phase, people were leaving the suburbs looking for more opportunities in that capital that degraded the quality of life for inhabitants in big industrial cities. Thus, to solve this problem Howard provided the solution and proposed a model for “moderate Decentralisation” and co-operative socialism”- The Garden City.

The Garden city created by Howard was planned to link the gap between the benefits of the countryside and the efficiency of a city. His vision for an ideal town was having green belts that would separate housing from industry and combine the best of both worlds- the city and countryside.

The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
Learn from the Past to Build the Future- The Garden City Movement

About The Garden City Movement

The garden city concept was based on the Three Magnets to address the question “ where will the people go” with choices being magnet 1 – Town, magnet 2- “Country” and magnet 3- “Town Country”. Howard garden city could be the third magnet that would attract more unhappy inhabitants living in the congested industrial cities, thus resolving the main problem of the time. He compared both magnet’s town and country but found it not suitable for his utopian vision. Instead, he suggested his solution “the two magnets must be together made into one”- Town Country. He said that society and the beauty of nature are meant to be enjoyed together.

The Three Magnets

Also, Read Ancient Civilizations – The factors that shaped our pristine cities.

The Layout of Garden City

The layout was circular with the radial growth from the center. Which has divided into six equal parts by six main Boulevards such as Town Hall, Library, Hospital, and Theatre with garden at its center. However, from the central radial, streets would extend toward the outer perimeter by a series of concentric ringed tree-lined avenues. The industries were placed at the peripheral ring of the city. This garden city layout propagates to rectify the spatial arrangement of social and economic life.

  • Some great features of Garden city:-
    1. Howard’s vision of the garden city had a limited size ( 6000) acres.
    2. A fixed capacity (32000 population), city-owned by all citizens on a co-operative basis with good environmental quality.
    3. The city should be self-sufficient surrounded by the green belt.
    4. 1000 acres for the central garden city as a home for 30000 people and 5000 acres land is reserved for agriculture and home for 2000 people with cow pastures, farmland and welfare services.

Howard established the Garden City Association in 1899 with a group of investors. However, they put forward his vision into a reality with the help of great Architects Berry Parker and Raymond Unwin, the first Garden city was named the Letchworth Garden City.

The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
The layout of garden city
The Garden City Concept

Letchworth Garden City

The first garden city developed in 1903 is still in place and currently the best example of how a garden city should look, with its shares of strengths and weaknesses. However, the architects of it were Barry Parker and Raymond Urwin with a land of 3822 acres. A maximum of 35000 population with a distance of 35 miles from London capital city connected by the transportation system. Also, it is planned as a self-sufficient city with a complete municipal life of its own. Letchworth Garden City attracted residents, investors, and firms because of cheap rent and surplus space. It had lots of open spaces and public parks providing a quality of life for the people making it environmentally successful.

The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
Letchworth layout plan
Letchworth Garden City in June 1925

The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
Aerial View of Letchworth

Also, Read: Byzantine Architecture

New Delhi (Imperial Delhi)

The New Delhi plan designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens back 100 years held the inspiration from the Garden city movement. However, that prevailed in the U.K by Ebenezer Howard in the early 19th century. Also, the Imperial city plan of New Delhi was based on the Garden City concept. And Baroque urban patterns with wide tree-lined avenues, monumental vistas, open spaces, bungalows, etc. Moreover, his concept of the self-contained city surrounded by green belts with proportionate areas of housing, industry, and agriculture held resemblance in the parts of the city.

The Connaught Place design the concept of the circle with the garden. Thus, at its center has drawn from it and Woods Development of the Circus Bath in the 18th century. Also, Connaught Place the circle garden in the middle connecting with radial roads in different directions.

Old Connaught place
The Garden City Movement - Learn from the Past to Build the Future
New Connaught place
The layout of Connaught Place

Conclusion

Despite the failure of garden cities due to the lack of proper planning and execution as a vision by Howard led to the spread of garden suburbs rather than garden cities. His movement is still inspirational even after a century of Letchworth city. Thus, it teaches the valuable principles, importance, and well-being of the residents and the growth of the country. Also, for a better future, we would like to find a way to apply the ideals by Howard with more comprehensive planning and framework to our modern cities to upgrade the quality of life.

Also, Read The history of architecture – From pre-historic to modernism.

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