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Garden city

Chief characteristics:
• With the Industrial Revolution depressing ugliness, haphazard
growth, congestion and unhealthful conditions had gripped the
old towns when Sir Ebenezer Howard set forth his ideas in a
book published in 1898 entitled ‘Tomorrow’.
• His idea was Garden city.
• A garden city is a town designed for healthy living and industry;
of a size that makes it possible a full measure of social life;
surrounded by a rural belt; the whole of the land being in public

The purpose of Howard's plan is to sustain "a healthy, natural,

and economic combination of town and country life" through a
balance of work and leisure. In this goal, Howard reflects the ideal in
American public life to establish a harmonious relationship between
the machine and garden.

Technology, hardly a foe to civilization in Howard's view, is

essential to healthy public life: "The smoke fiend is kept well
within bounds in Garden City; for all machinery is driven by
electric energy". Industry and agriculture coexist in his ideal
community - as do city and countryside, utopia and arcadia.
Howard's sense of balance - in this case, the concentric circles
of the Garden City intersected by broad boulevards - assumes
that ideal forms will shape and perfect human functions:.

Commerce in Garden City follows the example of World's Fairs

and exhibition. In this shopping space - dividing central park from
'excellently built houses' - we discover heterotopia: a physical
locale set apart from traditional public life where rules and
expectations are suspended.
Here, one may depart the outside world and its unpredictable
weather to enjoy the artificial joys of shopping and even a Winter
Garden. In this heterotopia, citizens may play in commercial worlds
of fantasy and experience the transitional space between
contradictory notions of the sculpted wilderness and the garden
home. Unlike utopia, this heterotopian space of commerce is
physical. It is not a vision of reformers; it is a project of planners.

Individualism in Garden city is neatly balanced by the needs

and common-sense requirements of the community. Howard
emphasizes that municipal authorities control little about housing
except their observance of "harmonious departure" from the street
line. Beyond the urban core, individuals or groups may construct
charitable or philanthropic institutions without government
In the greenbelt, farmers and co-operatives may try any system
to tend their livestock or grow their crops as they deem useful. As
Howard puts it: "This plan, or if the reader be pleased to so
term it, this absence of plan, avoids the dangers of
stagnation or dead level, and through encouraging
individual initiative, permits of the fullest co-operation".

Like so many other social planners, Ebenezer Howard's Garden

City attempts to balance the forces of control and freedom, machine
and garden, through the construction of the village. However we will
see in the postwar public life that the increasing encroachment of
the nation state on individual affairs renders his vision more and
more difficult to attain.

As an example of Garden City:-

• Letchworth was designed for a maximum population of 3500 in
an area of 1000 acres.
• Dwellings for all classes of people were distributed about a
central courtyard in which public buildings would be located.
• Self sufficiency by starting industrial units.
• Industries located on outskirts. Absence of overdeveloped
center and underdeveloped periphery.
• Town to be surrounded by a permanent agricultural belt of 5000
• Advantages of both rural life such as fresh air, gardens, playfields
etc and urban amenities like schools, theatres, hospitals and
• Zoning in Letchworth determined the landuse of a specific area
and the whole land was under public ownership so no
intermingling of landuse due to speculation.
• The agricultural strip on the periphery checks the expansion of
the urban area i.e. the sprawl.
• Open spaces remain for development.
Neighbourhood Unit:

Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City concept had a profound influence

on urban planning. Many plans have attempted to directly emulate
Howard’s original ideas, while others have been revised over the past
one hundred years. Two major modifications of Howard’s ideas,
Perry’s “Neighbourhood Unit” design and Stein and Wright’s
plans for “New Towns,” involve the modification of Howard’s
ideas regarding the design of residential areas so as to
accommodate the growing influence of the automobile.
Together, the Garden City concept, the notion of the
Neighbourhood Unit, and the “New Town” idea, influence urban
planning to this day. The integration of town and country, the
separation of conflicting land uses and modes of travel, and the ideas
of growth management are all elements of the Garden City concept
that have made their way into plans of most major Western cities.

Planners in the United States during the 1920’s had a great

interest in the Garden City idea of residential neighbourhoods replete
with local services such as schools, parks, and churches. However, by
this time planners were also seeking means to address the traffic
and safety issues that coincided with increasing automobile traffic.
A widely accepted solution came in the form of a modification to the
residential layout found in Howard’s concept, proposed by Clarence
Perry in 1929.

Perry’s proposal for “the neighbourhood unit” involved an

attempt to develop school-oriented, traffic-insulated areas. As with
Howard’s Garden City, the neighbourhood unit represented an attempt
to build a strong sense of community .Perry’s concept had several
unique elements. First, residential neighbourhoods were to be
organized into units of about 64 hectares, and each would hold a
population large enough to support one elementary school. No child
would be required to walk farther than 500 metres to their school,
which was to be, located at the centre of the neighbourhood along with
a community centre, a library, and other community services.

Radburn Idea.
Neighborhood Layout with large “superblocks” designed to
separate automobiles from pedestrians.

A second innovation of the neighbourhood unit was its

new approach to road design. In this case, the grid pattern of
streets was abandoned in favour of a hierarchy of roadways. Main
streets containing shops and apartments would run along the
perimeter of each neighbourhood, while roads within the
neighbourhood would be designed so as to discourage through traffic.
As the automobile was making its presence known and becoming
more affordable, developments were becoming increasingly freed from
the need to be centered on transit. The result was the emergence
of sprawling suburbs.
In 1929, as a way to combat sprawl, Clarence Perry began to
promote the concept of the ‘neighbourhood unit.’ Consisting of a
population no greater than that which could serve an elementary
school, the neighbourhood unit was no greater than 64 hectares and
centered on a community centre, consisting of a library, elementary
school, and other community services. Thus, the community centre
began to replace transit and garden space as the central focal
Clarence Stein and Henry Wright used this concept when they
developed the planned community of Radburn, New Jersey, except
with a dendritic street system that attempted to separate
automobile and pedestrian spaces.
After its initial success, Gruen received several other commissions,
including a commission by the Dayton Company to build a shopping
mall outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The final wave of sub-
urbanization, however, came with the end of the Second World War.
Spurned by government programs aimed at enabling war veterans the
ability to finance a home, growing racial tensions, the creation of the
Eisenhower interstate system, a revived construction industry,
advances in telecommunications (making key locations less
important), and a reduction in automobile costs, the result created the
conditions we know today, which are only magnifications of the sprawl
immediately following the end of the Second World War.
Linear City

Linear urbanization can be divided in two interfering and

inseparable components: as spatial concept and as socio-
economic concept. Mode and extend of urbanization is for an
important part the spatial translation of socio-economic processes
and organization of production. The organization of production and
the organization of our society are at present subject to important
A paradigm-shift from fordist production to post-industrial
production, as part of a larger paradigm-shift from modern to post-
or even post-postmodern society can be recognized. From the end
of the nineteenth century idea's rise about linear organization of
housing, working and recreation, as well for new cities as for the
expansion and linking of existing ones.

The main assumptions at the basis of these ideas where;

efficiency (of production and transportation), hygiene (air and
space), accessibility of services, recreation and work and the
combination of urban and rural advantages. Next to these
assumptions, also the affection with technology, speed and industry
played an important part. Yet before the (early) modern plans for
linear urbanization where introduces there has been a history of
more or less linear urban systems.

The intent of a linear city is to concentrate urban development

along a transit route and flank it with ribbons of landscape. Spain’s
early modernist Arturo Soria Y Mata and the Soviet planner N. A.
Miliutin advocated the concept of linear cities.
Some examples were built, but did not stay linear for long. For
example: allotment gardens separate Ørestad from Amanger to the
east. A large marsh defines the new city on the west.

One of the earliest known examples is the Cypriot settlement

Khirokitia, dating from the sixth century BC. These pre-modern
linear settlements where often formed due to geographical or
geological circumstances. As shown in the cases of Athens and the
Roman via Aemilia and Via Romagnia linear urban systems could
also have a military purpose. These Roman 'strings of beads'
still function as an important linear urban system, contributing
strongly to the North-Italian economy.
In the middle Ages the Hanseatic cities formed an important
economic multipolar network.

The linear garden city

The first real design for a linear city is probably made by Arturo
Soria Y Mata, who around 1880 designed his Ciudad Lineal; a
linear garden-city, connecting existing Spanish urban centers,
trying to diffuse the difference between urban and rural areas. The
plan consists of a central railroad with on both sides gridded
slabs for housing and working. Soria y Mata aimed on involving all
villages around Madrid in his Ciudad Lineal, in order to bring the
country to the city and the city to the country.

This has been an ideal during the whole modern movement, and
also has influence on the postmodern movement. Soria stated
about his plan that every point of the linear city a new
community could arise as the branch on a tree. In this fashion a
linear-urban network could arise. Only a small part of the plan
was realised. The plan got a lot of attention in many publications
and has been an important source of inspiration for later designs of
linear cities. The concept of the Ciudad Lineal was further developed
by designers like Gonzales de Castillo en George Beloit Levy. The
linear garden-city concept has been leading concept of the
linear city movement till halfway the nineteen-twenties.

The linear city as one building

Besides the linear garden city there is another concept that exists
from 1900 till the 1970's; the singular plan, the linear city as one
building. An early example is Edgar Chambles' Roadtown (1910). A
stretched dwelling-building with a monorail system in the basement,
a promenade on the roof a public spaces and shops at regular
intervals. The design was made to facilitate he colonization of
America's rural area.


The fordist linear city

At the end of the 1920's other linear concepts are developed such
as the assembly-line-city, the ladder and precursors of the network
city that borrowed a lot of components form the garden city
concept. These designs are based on the situation of parallel zones
along one single line. The form arose as the urban expression of the
fordist means of production.

Combinatory linear plans

A main critique on the linear plans has been that they could not
fit the social activities, housing patterns and concentrated arousal
associated with cities. Attempts to resolve these critiques resulted
in combinations of linear and other urban concepts. Complex
examples of combined linear plans are the designs from O.F.
Schweizer en Ludwig Hilbersheimer.

These designs contain many components from the assembly-

line-city such as linear zoning and a main infrastructural work
next to the industrial core. Difference is the broad sprawl of the
hosing zones, and the highly detailed drawings. Assembly-line-cities
were mostly represented as schemes or rough sketches.

Another concept for linear plans is the 'radial satellites', as a

continuation of the concept of the city with radial extensions. In
this concept the expanding city creates or incorporates satellites
outside its surface and connects them with urbanized transportation

Halfway the nineteen-sixties in America and Europe 'development
axis' and 'connection axis' are regularly mentioned in discussions
on urban structure. In 1965 John Friedmann and William Alonso
mention the development axis as a way to lead expansion of
urban concentrations towards peripheral areas. Friedman and
Alonso define development axes as "elongated corridors along
principal transport routes linking two or more metropolitan
regions. Their prospects for development may be said to be
roughly proportional to the size of the centres they link and
inversely proportional to some function of the distance separating

Whebell defines a corridor as 'a linear system of urban places

together with the linking surface transportation media'. He
mainly describes the forming of 'unplanned corridors' as part of a
'corridor centered economic landscape' developing in time.
Contradictory to this Whebell describes Hilbersheimers linear
designs, which are clearly planned, as examples of modern
corridors. Whebell describes an econo-spatial dialectic; a location
or settlement can not be explained without considering commerce a
production, and vise versa. Settlements that were founded in more
fertile and more accessible locations than others were from the
beginning ahead of the others and could develop as centres for
trade. Therefore they could maintain a position of technological and
financial superiority and make investments to improve their position
such as roads, railways and highways.

For example: The space of the Netherlands, concerning

spontaneous corridor development and plea for 'planned
corridors', to facilitate growth and minimize spatial
competition with the landscape and economical competition with
the city.