Garden Cities of Tomorrow by Ebenezer Howard

Historical perspective of people’s settlement

The modern world is full of innovations and people are not surprised by anything, they have used to the big stream of information and inventions, and do not react actively to some new concepts and ideas about social organizations. Life 100 years ago was different: people were different, the innovative technologies were unknown and everything new was noticed, discussed, and admired. The Garden City idea was offered at the beginning of the last century by Ebenezer Howard in his book “Garden Cities of Tomorrow”. The same ideas were provided in life in several places, such as Letchworth, England, and Canberra, Australia. The structure and idea of creation made these cities unique, as there are not so many Garden Cities in the world, which were founded and continue their successful development for now, as the concept of such cities is rather specific and needs constant support and advancing in the economical sphere.

The summary of the concept of the Garden City

The problem of people’s settlement is not so significant now from the point of view of the place, but one hundred years ago people were faced with the problem that the territories, which were occupied, were already fulfilled and people had to find new places for the resident. Ebenezer Howard in his book “Garden Cities of Tomorrow” offered a new concept of the city organization, which had not only solve the problem with people’s settlement but also improve their economical and social position. The Garden City is the new form of the city, which corresponds to the system of a city inside the agricultural area. The idea to surround the city with the agricultural area was offered by Ebenezer Howard to avoid the city financing problem. The Garden City was predicted to organize the economy in such a way that the city was financed by itself (Howard 20).

Before analyzing the economical and political development of Letchworth and Canberra cities, the concept of the Garden City should be summarized, the advantages and disadvantages of the mentioned type of city discussed. The main advantage is offered by the position of the city. The city is proposed to be with the companies and manufacturing inside and the agricultural area around, which should be aimed to feed the whole city. The new structure of the city will be able to give workplaces to people of all specializations, agriculture, and manufacture. Moreover, the citizens of the town-country structure will be interested in the higher results of their work as all the taxes will be spent on the welfare of these very people.

Letchworth as the Garden City

The unity of people with nature is the other advantage, which should not be avoided, as people may not be satisfied with food and work, the recreation area should not be allowed them as the work of people depends on how good the rest are. People should have some rest from people crowded streets and the near location of such area is a great advantage (Howard 15). The combination of town and country in one area is a good suggestion, and the positive results from such practice were proved by the examples of Letchworth and Canberra cities, which were founded according to the Garden City principles and continue their development and flourishing till present times.

Starting with Letchworth, the history of the city foundation and the economic development is going to be discussed, as well as the profits of the unique position. Letchworth was founded in 1903 and was the model of inspiration for Ebenezer Howard to write his book. Letchworth is a great step in the development of people’s consideration of community and people’s life ideals. The city was built in such a way that “rural authenticity existed alongside an urban vibrancy” (Outka 53). The main architects of the city were Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, who made their best to create the city of dream with all necessary activities for the city’s profitable functioning (Outka 53). The city was aimed to perform the function of a picturesque country village with all industrial facilities in it.

Considering the financial side of the business, “the investors and governing board at Letchworth worked to make them economically viable, which involved franchising the Garden City concept and marketing the community ideal to various buyers” (Outka 53). The starting point of Letchworth city life was difficult, as a lot of work had to be done, such as convincing the initial investors to set down their money, to convince the companies that their moving to Letchworth will bring them good profit, then residents had to be found too for a well educated and health city community. Great work in the field of promotion was done, and it should be underlined that the work was provided not in vain.

Watching the economical and social position of Letchworth today, it may be concluded that the aim was achieved. The city is functioning for more than 100 years and its economy is developing on constant terms. Being afraid for the experiment petering out, the history shows that all the fears were in vain. The city stands firmly on its feet and has taken roots in the countries economy. The city is not just the leaving area rural conditions, it has the all necessary infrastructure for functioning separately. The very idea of Letchworth Garden City was considered a success from the very beginning and those, who have noticed that, are enjoying their lives in the developed and modern city.

Canberra as the Garden City

The same situation was with Canberra, Australia. The history of the city foundation is significant, as from the very beginning the city was planned as the “national city in a federal union” (Brunn, Williams and Zeigler 478) with symbolic function. The Australian government was searching for the capital city, not near the sea “separated by greenbelts” (Brunn, Williams, and Zeigler 478). The place was found quickly, which appeared to be “a sprawling, low-density urban area with a population fast approaching 350,000” (Brunn, Williams, and Zeigler 478). The area strictly corresponds to the Garden City idea, as the city movement is in the middle of the area and is surrounded by the green line.

The plan and development of Canberra were offered by Griffin and incorporated a Parliamentary Triangle, “with radiating boulevards and linking circuits” (Brunn, Williams, and Zeigler 478). The city had to be original and well organized, as this was considered to be the capital of the country. The National Capital Development Commission took the affair into its hands and the results of their work may be seen now through the historical perspective of 100 hundred years. The city plan was influenced by the Garden City movement, as the advantages of such location are great, as have been discussed above.

Analyzing the economical development of the city, the core feature that there has never appeared the question about the financial side as the city was created to become the capital of the country, so the government was sure about financial injections in its economy. As it was predicted, the city began its development fast, without any hesitations, and continues its development with the same tense. The level of unemployment is low as there are a lot of opportunities in the capital f the country. The whole economical development of the country depends on the economical development of its capital, so the opportunities for goal achieving and growth always exist. The government cares greatly about the social and financial position of Canberra and tries to raise the city development to the level of other big cities in the world.


In conclusion, the tendency to the Garden City movement gave its benefits, if to look on the development of the cities (Letchworth, England, and Canberra, Australia), which were created according to this concept, from 100 years perspective. The cities are on a high level of economical and social growth, and the great merit for this is the geographical location of the cities, which support the economy and well-being of citizens of the country. The benefits of the town-country structure are visible, and the first of which is the possibility to provide the work for both rural and urban populations, as the Garden City concept combines the busy city life with calm and picturesque rural landscapes. One more advantage, the most significant one, is that the city of the Garden structure can function separately as both segments of the market are going to be satisfied, agricultural and industrial.

Works Cited

Brunn, Stanley D., Williams, Jack Francis, and Donald J. Zeigler. Cities of the world: world regional urban development. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

Howard, Ebenezer. Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009.

Outka, Elizabeth. Consuming traditions: modernity, modernism, and the commodified authentic. Oxford: Oxford University Press US, 2008.

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