A Brief Introduction to Garden Cities

Few readers will know that one of my jobs is working in a local authority planning department. I often find it fascinating during the planning process for future development, how our residents in the “urban sprawl” from Norwich and the more rural areas feel that the garden village element is being lost with overcrowding.

Certainly, populations have increased that in most areas it would be impossible to keep within Ebenezer’s target of only 32,000 people per garden village. But he remains a founding father of planning and his books are still physically referred to as we attempt to update planning policy and design.

To quote from Heritage Calling:

The founder of the Garden City Movement, Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), saw it as the physical setting for a radically different lifestyle involving a ‘joyous union’ of town and country, from which ‘will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilisation’.

Better housing, more space and a new relationship between town and country lay at the heart of Howard’s efforts to create a new civilisation in a better environment.”

Do you believe we are still achieving his aspirations? Do you have green areas and local shops where you live to remain self sufficient?

I have plenty of park land around my ‘curly-whirly’ estate and one shop. I can’t be self sufficient but the industrial estate with a supermarket is less than 30 minutes walk and a shorter car journey. From that standing point, I believe Ebenezer’s vision remains a reality.

Heritage Calling

By the middle of the 19th century, over half of Britain’s population lived in towns.

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