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Garden Cities of the 21st Century

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Title: Garden Cities of the 21st Century
Authors: Etherington, Bruce
Advisor: Noe, Joyce
Issue Date: May 2012
Abstract: It has been more than 100 years since Ebenezer Howard published his epochal book on social reform that ultimately won him world recognition. Published first in 1898 as 'Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform', it was followed by revised publications in 1902, 1946 and 1965 under its present more evocative title, ‘Garden Cities of Tomorrow'. The multiplicity of editions testifies to a continued interest to secure a harmonious existence between humans and their natural environment. Influenced by the conventional wisdom of the time, deviations from the original 1898 publication by Howard of his town plan and his social and financial proposals affected the design and implementation of the prototype city of Letchworth built in 1903. Ignoring the drawings and writings of Howard’s book, the Letchworth model, because it was completed within the lifetime of Howard, was seen and accepted as the de facto model from which future garden cities could be reproduced. Duplication of the Letchworth prototype in Europe and North America, as a result of the deviations, led to incomplete, inaccurate or dysfunctional replications. The Letchworth concept of garden cities must be considered to have failed to reach the goal Howard had hoped to achieve: a distribution of sustainable, benign urban environments with an equitable and wholesome quality of life in a rural setting. More than a full century has elapsed since Howard wrote his book and the world has entered a new millennium. New technologies, changing demographics and, most importantly, emerging social and environmental circumstances raise the possibility that the concept of garden cities could be revisited to determine that, if adapted to meet the constraints and needs of the 21st century, could reach the goals envisaged by Howard. To reach this goal would require a return to the writings and drawings of his original work, 'Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform', and a departure, independent of previous attempts to interpret the content of Howard’s dream for all societies.
Pages/Duration: 92 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/45704
Appears in Collections:2012



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