The Garden City Movement

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What was the aim of the Garden City Movement?

What was the first Garden City built and when was it built?

What was the purpose of the Garden City Association?

Which cities were influenced by the Garden City Movement in their planning?

What is the implicit critique of the Garden City Movement by the environmental movement?

What is the Wolfson Economics Prize?

What is the New Garden Cities Alliance?

What are garden suburbs?

Who formalized the garden city principles in the design of suburbs?


The garden city movement was a 20th century urban planning movement promoting satellite communities surrounding the central city and separated with greenbelts, created to avoid the drawbacks of both countryside and cities. Ebenezer Howard first posited the idea in 1898 in his book To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform, which was later reissued as Garden Cities of To-morrow. The first garden cities to be built were Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, UK, in the early 20th century. Letchworth attracted more residents as it brought in manufacturers through low taxes, low rents, and more space. The Garden City Association was founded in 1899, and two garden cities were built using Howard's ideas: Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City. Garden city principles greatly influenced the design of colonial and post-colonial capitals during the early part of the 20th century, such as New Delhi, Canberra, and Quezon City. The Garden City movement also influenced the Scottish urbanist Sir Patrick Geddes in the planning of Tel Aviv, Israel, in the 1920s. The movement spread to other countries, including the US, Canada, Japan, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. The environmental movement's embrace of urban density has offered an "implicit critique" of the garden city movement. Garden cities were criticized for being destructive of the beauty of nature and being inconvenient. Garden cities were also criticized for being an urban-design experiment that was typified by failure due to the laneways used as common entries and exits to the houses, thereby helping to ghettoize communities and encourage crime.The Garden City Movement

  • The Garden City Movement was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard, who aimed to create self-sufficient and economically independent cities with short commutes and preservation of the countryside.
  • The movement was based on the principles of combining the benefits of the city and the countryside, and the establishment of a trust for the land to prevent land speculation and provide affordable housing.
  • The first Garden City, Letchworth, was built in 1903 and was followed by Welwyn Garden City in 1920.
  • The movement inspired contemporary town-planning charters, such as New Urbanism and Principles of Intelligent Urbanism, and there are many garden cities in the world today, although most of them have devolved to dormitory suburbs.
  • In 2007, the Town and Country Planning Association called for Garden City and Garden Suburb principles to be applied to the present New Towns and Eco-towns in the UK.
  • In 2013, Lord Simon Wolfson announced the Wolfson Economics Prize for the best ideas on how to create a new garden city, and The Letchworth Declaration was published, calling for a body to accredit future garden cities in the UK.
  • In 2014, the New Garden Cities Alliance was created as a community interest company, adopting TCPA garden city principles.
  • In 2014, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced plans for a new garden city to be built at Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent, with a second planned as an expansion of Bicester, Oxfordshire.
  • In 2015, the UK government announced plans for garden towns in North Essex and Didcot, Oxfordshire.
  • In 2016, a "Black Country Garden City" was announced with plans to build 45,000 new homes in the West Midlands on brownfield sites.
  • In 2017, the UK government announced plans for new garden villages and garden towns.
  • Garden suburbs emerged in the late 19th century in the UK and in the second half of the 19th century in the US, as a by-product of new types of transportation.
  • Garden suburbs were not part of Howard's plan and were actually a hindrance to garden city planning.
  • Raymond Unwin formalized the garden city principles in the design of suburbs through his work Town Planning in Practice.
  • The Gidea Park estate, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Wavertree Garden Suburb are notable examples of garden suburbs.


Test your knowledge on the Garden City Movement with our quiz! Learn about the history and principles of the movement, the first garden cities that were built, and how it influenced urban design across the world. See how the movement has evolved over time, its impact on contemporary town planning, and the emergence of garden suburbs. Challenge yourself to see how much you know about this influential urban planning movement.

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