garden city

garden city

garden city, an ideal, self-contained community of predetermined area and population surrounded by a greenbelt. As formulated by Sir Ebenezer Howard, the garden city was intended to bring together the economic and cultural advantages of both city and country living, with land ownership vested in the community, while at the same time discouraging metropolitan sprawl and industrial centralization. The garden city was foreshadowed in the writings of Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and James Silk Buckingham, and in the planned industrial communities of Saltaire (1851), Bournville (1879), and Port Sunlight (1887) in England. The term garden city was introduced in Howard's book To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898); it was revised (1902) under the title Garden Cities of To-morrow (reedited by F. J. Osborn, 1946). Howard organized the Garden-City Association (1899) in England and secured backing for the establishment of Letchworth (1903), designed by the architects Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, and Welwyn Garden City (1920), designed by Louis de Soissons. Neither community, however, was an entirely self-contained garden city. The idea spread rapidly to Europe and the United States, but it commonly resulted in residential suburbs of individually owned homes. Under the auspices of the Regional Planning Association of America, the garden-city idea was more fully realized in the community of Radburn, N.J. (1928-32) outside New York City designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright. Most of these satellite towns, however, failed to attain Howard's ideal, since local industries were unable to provide employment for the inhabitants, many of whom commuted to work in larger centers. The congestion and destruction accompanying World War II greatly stimulated the garden-city movement, especially in Great Britain, where the passage of the New Towns Act in 1946 led to the development of over a dozen new communities based on Howard's idea. The open layout of garden cities has had a great influence on the development of modern city planning.

See F. J. Osborn, Green-Belt Cities: The British Contribution (1946). M. H. Smith, History of Garden City (1963); W. L. Creese, The Search for Environment (1966).

Ideal planned community as envisioned by the British town planner Ebenezer Howard (1850–1928). It was to be a small city that combined the amenities of urban and rural life; it would be compact, with contained growth. At the center would be a garden ringed with a civic and cultural complex, a park, housing, and industry, the whole surrounded by an agricultural green belt. Traffic would move along radial avenues and ring roads. The first garden city was built at Letchworth, England, in 1903. Though Howard's ideas have been widely influential, imitators have often ignored his stipulation that the town be a self-contained, true mixed-use community.

Learn more about garden city with a free trial on

City (pop., 2005 est.: 4,291,000), capital of the Republic of Singapore. A free port centred on the southern part of Singapore island, it so dominates the island that the republic is now commonly considered a city-state. Known as the Garden City for its many parks and tree-lined streets, it offers glimpses into the cultures brought to it by immigrants from all parts of Asia. It was traditionally founded by a Shrivijayan prince and was an important Malay city in the 13th century. Destroyed by the Javanese in the 14th century, it was refounded by Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company in 1819. It became the capital of the Straits Settlements in 1833 and developed as a port and naval base; today it is one of the world's great commercial centres. Its thriving banking, insurance, and brokerage firms make it the chief trading and financial centre of Southeast Asia. It is home to the National University of Singapore (1980).

Learn more about Singapore with a free trial on

Garden City may refer to:


United States:


Cape Town, South Africa:


Design and planning

Search another word or see garden cityon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature