Urban Adventures

Garden cities - 1902

Sir Ebenezer Howard's diagram of an Ideal Garden City

Diagram of an ideal garden city, 1902
Artist and designer: Sir Ebenezer Howard
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection

First published in Ebenezer Howard's 1898 book 'Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform', this drawing laid out Howard's utopian vision of a 'town-country' suburb. The congestion and unhealthy conditions of the inner city would be avoided in this city of two-family homes set in leafy streets, while proximity to London and civic institutions would ensure a lively social calendar for residents. The book was reprinted in 1902 as 'Garden Cities of To-morrow'.

The town is arranged in concentric circles with a park at the centre and a railway at the perimeter. The railway did not carry passengers, but rather raw materials, and prevented further undesirable expansion of the city.

Britain's first garden city, Letchworth, north of London, was founded by Howard in 1903, and by 1905 examples of Letchworth's housing were being shown as ideal homes. Throughout the inter-war period, Letchworth and garden city philosophies influenced modern methods of design and town planning in Britain.

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