City greenery · Sustainability

Howard’s garden city

For centuries people tried to improve their houses to create more friendly environment for living. The problems of living conditions increased in XIX century and were connected with rapid growth of industrial areas and big cities. Therefore one can observed increased number of proposals of solutions or at least the searches for them.

The significant and well-know solution of so called “garden city” was proposed  by Ebenezer Howard, which he presented in his book “To tomorrow, a peaceful path reform” (for the first time in 1898).

He has no formal education in the area of urban and spatial planning or landscaping. In fact he worked as a stenographer.  He spent a few years in US and had the opportunity to see the rapid growth of American cities. He had also the chance to get acquainted with some previous solutions and proposals in practice of attempts to create better environment for living for working class.

The background of this conception was the famous diagram of three magnets.


Both living in the city as well as living in the country has its advantage and disadvantages.

The country gives good access to the fresh air and fresh water, better light and sun conditions in houses as well as more open spaces available at short distances. It offers also better contact with the nature. The biggest disadvantages of the country are higher unemployment rate, lower level and accessibility of various services and worst access to the education.  Other ones also mentioned by Howard are: lack of society, lack of amusement or no public spirit.

The city gives better employment possibilities together with better salaries as well as higher level of different services, higher social opportunities. On the other side, the biggest disadvantage of cities is the environmental pollution. Others disadvantages mentioned by Howard are: isolation of crowds, distances from work place, high rents and prices.

Therefore he proposed the solution being the connection of both the village and the city – the third magnet. So called garden-city should provide all advantages giving separately by a city and a village but without their disadvantages.

As an assumption, the city garden should not be a suburb area of bigger city but the self-supporting organism, providing dwelling and jobs as well as other facilities and services, necessary for comfortable and healthy life. The units (satellite garden towns) should not have more than 30 k inhabitants and be not farther than 50 kilometers from central city. The agricultural areas should be situated between these satellites.


Each satellite consisted of central public buildings, surrounding by municipal park and on the outskirts the houses of inhabitants, each with its own small garden. The main avenue was shaped in a circle, where all service utilities were located.



  1. Majdecki L., 2016. History of gardens
  2. Słodczyk J., 2012. History of planning and building of cities



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