Sir Ebenezer Howard and the Town Planning Movement
Sir Ebenezer Howard is universally recognized as the father of the new towns (or garden cities) movement. This biography, originally published in 1933, is being reissued now to serve the revival of interest in new towns as a viable alternative to the urban chaos and suburban sprawl that deface the planet with physical ugliness and social inequity.
The book presents the personal aspects of Howard's life and a detailed account of the planning and building of the new towns of Letchworth and Welwyn. Howard's personal life and his work were cross-coupled to an unusual degree, but in order to see both the man and the movement more clearly, the author presents each in turn in a series of paralleling but separate chapters. The leading contemporary authority on the new towns movement, Sir Frederic Osborn, has noted that the book is “somewhat informally arranged, but contains all essential facts about Howard, and many interesting personal impressions.”
Lewis Mumford has placed Howard in the perspective of our time with this tribute: “Until Ebenezer Howard came forth with his proposals in To-Morrow no one had the audacity to conceive a new form for the city, which would utilize the facilities of modern technology without sacrificing the social advantages of the historic city.... Many sporadic attempts had been made to improve this or that aspect of the growing city: but no one had attempted to improve it as a whole, and above all, to alter the very method of its growth, so that it might from a new urban pattern, based on well-defined wholes. That contribution was the work of Ebenezer Howard; and its leading ideas were so simple, yet so contrary to the usual assumptions and procedures of our society even now, that their full implications have not been fully understood and assessed, much less carried out.”
This book complements Howard's own Garden Cities of To-Morrow, available in the MIT Paperback Series.