Urban Blog Assignment #1

This is your first blog assignment. Please write 500 (or more) words commenting on what you see in this post and how it relates to the material that has been covered in class. Please make sure that your comment can be easily identified (ie. use a username that is close to your own name or sign the post at the bottom). Feel free to comment on each other’s entries.

Urban 1 Garden Cities

35 thoughts on “Urban Blog Assignment #1

  1. Urban planning is rife with optimism and yet often riddled with disappointment in its practice. Reading about Ebenezer Howard and the garden cities movement made me think of the struggles of well-intentioned industrialists such as Robert Owen. Howard’s idealized plans were compromised in practice due to the realities of funding and collaboration. Urban planning epitomizes the challenge of balancing the values of socialism and capitalism: the greatest good for all versus individual freedom/rights.

    Evidence abounds of the mental and physical benefits of fresh air, the sights and sounds of natural settings, and exercise. The ills and dangers of overcrowding, unmanaged waste, and air pollution are equally well-documented. Unfortunately, the desire of the “haves” to avoid interacting with or even seeing the “have nots” is also obvious, and in the most developed countries (with the US leading the way) the growth of the gap between the two makes this reality even more relevant today. That desire appears to me to be part of a general desire among elites for exclusivity, particularly exclusive access to certain things and places. Clothing and accessories no longer provide undeniable evidence of status, and even much more expensive things such as luxury vehicles are made accessible through lease or purchased used. Therefore, I believe, place has become even more significant. Gated communities, strict Home Owners’ Associations, country clubs/golf courses, athletic clubs, fitness studios and lavish spas give their residents, members, and clients a sense not just of belonging but of rising above others who do not ‘belong’ there. Even in Ebenezer Howard’s hopeful plans to establish slum-less, smoke-less cities, there is ample evidence of these same desires. Physical boundaries of road and water surround each city and the homeless, ill, disabled, orphaned, and drunk are kept well out-of-sight of the urban houses, gardens, and grand avenues. The desire for exclusivity and the discomfort felt when faced with such forlorn figures create a formidable barrier to the successful establishment of vibrant public spaces. People want parks, but they don’t want any homeless sleeping on the benches.

    Housing developments attempt to solve this dilemma by offering amenities to their residents such as pools, fitness centers, picnic tables, play areas, even walking trails. Those who cannot afford to live there cannot experience the benefits and if such exclusivity of “shared” space becomes the norm, votes will not be cast in favor of public spending on similar facilities. While I find some private plans exciting – such as construction (or better, refurbishment) of a working farm* to serve as a providing and educational core of a housing development, I worry about the lack of opportunity for the poor to have such healthy, communal experiences. I also worry about the potential for greater segregation along lines of socioeconomic status that will reinforce existing racial divisions. Out-of-sight is quite often out-of-mind but just because you cannot see the desperately poor, doesn’t mean they are not there. The poor will always be able to see the rich thanks to cheap and accessible communication technology. The difference between your own reality and the “realities” on television and online can be disheartening for people from all walks of life, and certainly for those struggling just to put food on the table or pay their rent. This disparity undoubtedly fosters misery – jealousy, anger, frustration, bitterness and hopelessness. Urban planning, and community development in general, must be a significant part of the public discourse if we are to empower people to better their lives, improve the overall health of an obese and exhausted population, and turn the tide against class warfare.

    *http://www.bellisimoinc.com/projects/bucking-horse
    (accessed via http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/17/251713829/forget-golf-courses-subdivisions-draw-residents-with-farms)

    • I liked your comment about “out of sight out of mind”. It really made me reconsider the idea of the elite living outside of the city. They seem to abandon the people all together yet make a return when the city is cleaned up. There is such a big gap between those who have it all and those who have nothing and it sucks that some turn a blind eye.

  2. Prior to the turn of the 20th century, the world existed on the high notes of the industrial revolution. A growing middle class combines with advances in technology brought about great economic and social change. Modern steel changed the way cities developed and grew. It made production quicker and much more efficient. Humanity had never known such a rapid progress, and for the first time, the principle of urbanism began to shift.

    The appeal of living in the city changed when the conditions worsened during the peak of immigration. crowed and unsanitary living conditions drove those who could afford it away. They wanted their own space away from the restraints of the city. This idea is not new. The first notion of this can be traced back to the Roman villa. The wealthy move away from urban centers as a way to avoid paying taxes and to show off their wealth with elegant homes. The 20th century suburban lifestyle was reserved for the elite.

    Ebanezar Howard, an urbanist from England, first proposed the concept of the garden city in 1898. Howard proposed that the solution to the horrific conditions of the industrial city was the controlled and systematic creation of satellite towns acting as linked nodes to a central city. The systems of town allow the introduction of nature and green spaces into the development. Ideal populations would top off at around 30,000 with smaller ones living in the rural areas between the individual garden cities. The system allowed the easy development of supplemental town as the population grew.

    Designed space and urban planning began to gain popularity. It was easy to see that people who escaped the polluted city centers and lived in organized communities had a more comfortable life. Architects like Daniel Burnham championed the idea of intentional development and the importance of urban design. These ideals are embodied within the City Beautiful Movement which started after the Colombian Exposition in 1893. The movement resulted in the growth of not only designed urban centers but designed city parks and green suburban neighborhoods. An intellectual response the the rapid expansion of the industrial revolution.

    Transportation was also a big factor in creating planned communities. Cars made it easy for families to pack up and move out (if they had the cash) and settle down in a nice quiet neighborhood. In Howard’s plans, he made it possible for trains to enter and leave with ease. This created connectivity from the city center to the rural outskirts. Individuals didn’t have to chose which part of the city they wanted to engage with. They could live in one place, and work and shop in another. This further strengthened the idea of elitism. The introduction of planes also drastically changed how people looked at where they lived. Not only were cities in the same area connected, large cities where now being connected with other large cities across the country. This created a common idea of how city centers were and how urban communities should be.

  3. A reaction against over crowding and unhygienic living conditions of the city, the Garden City movement sought to remove citizens from the city entirely in favor of what was considered to be more healthful, small-community oriented living. While the Garden Cities might not have been the first to develop the sub-urban environment as a reaction against the city, the precedents set by them continue to influence the way cities and their suburbs are developed today. What we call new urbanism and smart growth (among other initiatives) can find their humanist roots in the Garden city movement. In terms of planning, the Garden City movement was the first to consider health and quality of life as major drivers in the design process. While health and quality of life were the targets of this suburban development, many in the design field would argue that while the health of those wealthy enough to live in the garden cities was certainly better than those unfortunate souls tied to the deplorable dwellings of the city, the Garden City movement failed to create a lasting solution to the conditions of the city. The garden cities were quick, cheap fixes to the growing pains of cities. Instead of developing a system of zoning or reworking the infrastructure of the city to meet the qualities of the life desired by the wealthy, the city was abandoned and left for industry, and the unskilled workforce that inhabited it.
    In addition to the questionable ethics of the Garden City movement, it also became a precedent for suburban sprawl. Sprawl as an isolated condition is not a detrimental event. It would be unrealistic to expect cities to grow without the consumption of more land. However, the creation of an entity apart the city entirely that relies on the city certainly has negative aspects. The infrastructure required to link the two is substantial and inefficient. Those that inhabit the suburb also contribute much less to the financial growth of the city as well. Those that are left in the city often lack the financial means or political influence to improve their living conditions. The separation of social classes was a obvious intention of the garden cities illustrated by the “slumless” aspect of the new development. In the separation of financial classes a certain vital density is lost that I believe is a detriment to both parties. While more costly and much slower, the redevelopment of infrastructure would be a more permanent and wholistic solution to the ailments of the city.
    If nothing else, the garden cities began to ask the right questions. What is an appropriate population density? What are the desirable programmatic relationships of a city in relation to living conditions? These are the questions that city planners still ask today, and will continue to ask as industry, infrastructure, and building technologies continue to progress. The questions of quality of life have now been expanded to include diversity, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility to name a few.

    Zach G.

  4. The first lesson you learn in design school is the significance of creating sacred places: those that connect people and societies, emotionally and morally, to each other through architecture and planning. And while the red brick duplexes of Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities are relatively un-stimulating, the urban planning strategies certainly created a sense of place desirable to the upper middle class citizens of the late nineteenth century, complete with scenic green belts, lakes and fresh air. Amenities such as schools, shopping centers and post offices created an experience of exclusivity that one could not find in the inner city among the integration with the homeless, drunkards and insane. Physical boundaries such as water, rails, and roads promoted this exclusivity, creating a thriving social network within the Garden Cities themselves. It is said that Ebenezer Howard aimed to reduce the alienation of society from nature, but what he produced in reality was an alienation of societies from each other.

    The second lesson you learn in design school is the universality of the grid versus the exclusivity of a circle. Grids encourage linearity, forcing you to look in all directions, while the only direction a circle insists on it that which points towards the center. While Howard never intended for Garden Cities to be designed with a circular plan, as his diagrams conveyed, many were, causing residents to (willingly) turn their backs on the problems that lay beyond the periphery. The circular plan and socioeconomic singularities of the Garden Cities thus led to an even greater separation between classes of the late nineteenth century, both physically and economically. Residents of the Garden Cities still worked in the city proper, and utilized railway transportation to get there. This was the closest the two classes ever came to colliding, but the upper middle classes were protected by the “[clean] external appearance” of shop- lined thoroughfares leading into the central business district. These thin facades allowed the bourgeoisie to ignore the other side of the tracks, literally.

    The third lesson you learn in design school is that everyone deserves sacred places to call their own. Design is not a privilege reserved for the wealthy and powerful. The ultimate problem with Garden Cities is the limited utopia they create. While each series of concentric circles are full of grand, tree-lined avenues and public gardens is an ideal community for residents, there is no sense of community between Garden Cities, or with the city as a whole. Though each Garden City, according to Howard’s diagram, was theoretically connected by road, rail and water, there was not enough distinction between cities to promote movement in any direction but towards the city proper – the center of the larger circle. Those with the financial means to improve the conditions of the lower classes within the cities are located the furthest from the “projects.” Just as the financial donors for the development of the Garden Cities wanted returns on their investments (opposing Howard’s philanthropic ideals), the ideals of philanthropy within the residents of the Garden Cities were virtually non-existent. Thus, the bounds of the “sacred place” where society could connect with one another were merely the outer ring of each circle, causing residents to face the smiling, like-minded faces of one another while turning their backs on the struggling poor standing behind the perfectly manicured garden hedge.

    Haley Walton

    • Excellent analysis! I love the way you integrate the issues created by the exclusive and exclusionary nature of garden cities with the middle class desire to leave the inner cities. Very nice discussion.

  5. Urban planning in it’s roots was rather unsophisticated and extremely bare bones in its layout of city structure. There was generally a central hub in which all the vital businesses and services operated within close proximity to the general population. Mainly due to transportation constraints during the era, as well as resource development. On the exterior of each city you would have your more industrialized services operating, as well as most of the local agriculture. For example in the the classic Garden-City you can see that all of the agriculture and livestock, as well as industrialism are located far out of the citys reach. Perhaps the best for the living conditions as it reduces the amount of pollution and waste that would contact civilians living in a certain district. On a rather interesting note, it seems there was always some sort of education facility or housing system for those with disabilities located on the exterior plane of early urban cities. Perhaps there was a higher rate of children being born with disabled conditions during that era. It just seems strange that there was a huge focus for it being mentioned in each of the pictures depicting early urbanization.

    As time progressed you can see that this early urban planning scheme was soon ditched and ironically reversed so to say. The wealthiest beings during the earliest days were centrally located as close to possible towards most of the services in town, whereas as soon as transportation evolved and allowed for feasible access to and from the daily duties of life, the higher class seemed to have moved towards the outskirts of urban life. Buying larger estates with decent portions of land to keep their sense of privacy. Personal luxury was soon something to be considered instead of the archaic survivalist tendencies portrayed by the early days of urban living. Not to mention the fact that as time progressed the living conditions close to town were poor, disease run rampant as well as the overall cleanliness of cities was mortifying by today’s standards. The lower class citizens were no longer being pushed towards the outskirts of town like the early days, but they were instead being housed together like sardines as close to the their place of work. Thus creating a cesspool of filth in the living quarters of the working class. As time only progresses further the whole simplistic idea of urban planning becomes rather intricate as it now incorporates airports, shipping ports, railways and interstates. The mediums of transportation have evolved rather rapidly and the constraints of space and distance are now ignored. You begin to find cities in places that normally wouldn’t be able to thrive without the use of modern transportation. Take the photo of modern day London for example. The area of opportunity is no longer within the city limits, but is now pushed out towards the exterior of the city. There is no longer a town square in which all the services and business of the city locate themselves to operate, but is now a sentimental reminder towards the past which we came from, as it will soon be clad with pubs and boutiques since there is no real use of the square except for tourism. As always agriculture is going to be settled on the outskirts of the cities, mainly for the amount of land it requires to consume, as well as real estate prices. Looking at urban planning and the growth of cities is an extremely interesting subject, and perhaps holds the key to future innovations in the field.

    Tyler Casey

  6. Mychaell Farias

    The post-industrial period of the late nineteenth century in the indrustrialized countries was marked by urban expansion and economic growth. From the perspective of sustainable development, it is important to analyze urban proposals that sought a balance between economic growth and social problems integrated into the landscape design, as the ideal Ebenezer Howard to the movement of Cities Gardens in England.
    In the process of urbanization due to population swelling in large cities and social and environmental impacts of the growth process. Poverty, homelessness, garbage collection, water pollution, and lack of space for leisure a degradation of the urban environmental and natural resources.
    The interactions of cities with the natural environmental have to be considered as places with own resources with demands necessary for its maintenance and development. Therefore, the concept of sustainable urban development goes through an urban ecology strategy that puts the city as a built environment not only as a user of the natural environment, but also as funding sources.
    According to the view, the urban areas should be analyzed as complex ecosystems, although with a more intense metabolism, where the urban metabolism should be analyzed as an exchange of matter, energy and information between the urban settlement and its geographical context.
    The thought of Howard became that their concerns integration between town and country were a regional planning strategy to avoid migration towards the big cities: self-organized cities connected by a system of efficient public transport would be formed along with the establishment of industries and agricultural belts, which absorb the municiapal solid waste.
    The utopian vision of Howard was an attempt to solve the problems of poor health, poverty and pollution in cities through design of new cities that had a close relationaship with the field. He bet that marriage town and country in order to ensure a perfect match with all the advantages of a full urban life opportunities and entertainment along with the beauty and the pleasures of the countryside.
    From this union, the movement of people from congested cities would occur naturrally as a magnet for a city close to nature that he considered to be the source of life, wealth and happiness. In addition, the industry would shift to the field as an economic development strategy while agricultural production would have ready markets in the city near the rural core.
    His intention was not to create a garden suburb, but a city-field entity in permanet combination with controlled dimensions. The agricultural area would act as a buffer against the uncontrollable growth of population center. For Howard, when a city has reached its carrying capacity, new cities should be formed around a central town.
    The movement of Cities Gardens had the inspiring source deployment experiences of planned communities to be self-organizing of the nineteenth century, as industrial enterprises concerned with the quality of its employees.
    After the First World War, the city-gardens movement gradually became a movement planning of new cities for reconstruction in England. Only after WWII is approved a program with great similarities to the planning of Howard. The idea of Garden City became widely misunderstood and it was common confuse it with garden suburbs that have spread through the outskirts of London, which Howard had tried to eliminate with their proposals. In the US, very important and representative example were produced based on the principles of Howard, however, the first voices of planning were not concerned with industrial workers and socioeconomic development, but architecture professionals landscape that emphasized the physical design and aspects of community life as Cleveland.
    Some principales of sustainable urban development can be identified in Garden City model such as controlled size with accessibility to green spaces and pedestrian, adequate public transport, mixed use, reuse solid waste on agricultural land and commercial centers with local economy. One of the major criticisms of the model of Garden City from the point of view of sustentabiliade is the effect of suburbanization that this caused, urban sprawl with low densities occupying agricultural land.

  7. The first image depicts Ebenezer Howard’s concept for a single ward in the greater scheme of “The Garden City.” This movement was Howard’s answer to the harsh reality of industrial cities and the problems they bring. Instead of living inside these cities, Howard proposed an escape from the unsanitary, crowded, and depressing city to a place which could be described as combination of town and country. A graphic, known as the Three Magnets, was created to explain the reasons that people are drawn to the town or country, while also stating the problems that are present in these areas. The third magnet combined the advantages of the town and country to create a new place in-between: Town-Country. Howard then began to break down his idea in a series of drawn plans that mapped out the design theory for the urban center, agricultural buffer, and surrounding wards. The urban center shown in the second image would be designed to accommodate 58,000 people and would serve as the hub for industry. Outside of the inner city, and agricultural buffer would serve as a way to distance the urban center from the outer wards or satellite cities. These satellite cities would accommodate no more than 32,000 people and offer the beauty of the countryside while still being close enough in proximity to allow for residents to commute to the city for work through a public transportation system.

    The third image puts the concept in perspective by using an established industrial city for the urban core, and maps out the areas of opportunity. It is not shown on the map, but the Garden City of Letchworth was built in this area of interest. Howard did not intend for his diagrams to be stamped on the landscape, and was adamant that these cities should be designed while adhering to his guidelines. Image four depicts a designed Garden City that includes the key principles that Howard deemed necessary.

    After reading about Howard and the Garden City movement, the solution seems viable and maybe even desired. I began to wonder what the problems with this utopian paradise are. The main focus was to highlight the importance of nature and to live in places devoid of slums. Can this be done without leaving the city and moving to glorified suburbs with strict population controls? A few of the criticisms that targeted garden cities expanded on the static future of these cities. Ellis Calvin sums up his argument by saying, “There is no opportunity to advance within society, no latitude within the plan for innovation or adaptation to unforeseen technologies, and commerce on a scale beyond local is virtually impossible.” I feel like while it seems great in theory, the reality of these cities don’t seem to prosper or be self-sustaining and are often classified as suburbs.

    http://www.hypocritereader.com/3/the-natural-city
    http://www.tcpa.org.uk/pages/garden-cities-259.html
    http://architectureandurbanism.blogspot.com/2010/10/ebenezer-howard-garden-cities-of-to.html

  8. Garden cities, are, I feel, one of the more interesting ways in viewing the by-products of the Industrial Revolution, especially as it concerned overpopulation and the resulting urbanization and summary transition of places like East London into a fairly horrible living area. In looking at the Gini coefficient for England at the turn of the 19th century, which hovers just south of 40, it is clear to see that the data supports the presence of a relatively high amount of inequality compared to the modern day United Kingdom, which as of 2013 had a Gini coefficient of 32.3, good for 104th out of 141 qualifying countries. A score of perhaps, 39 (the chart from which I am obtaining this number is not precisely specific), would place 1900s United Kingdom in the mid-sixties, somewhere around modern day Malawi and Mauritania. (But still lower than the modern day United States, which, according to the economist, boasts the “highest post-tax-and-transfer income inequality of any highly developed country.”) This income gap, while admittedly not particularly extreme, was still significant to the point where it promoted the rise of the garden city when placed in the company of the aforementioned horrible living conditions, etc.
    Those who could afford to get out, judging by the imagery and description provided in class, would most certainly do so, and I can imagine no more appealing notion than nature after having lived in what was in all likelihood a coal-blackened urban hellhole with poisoned water and disease and whatever else. Ebenezer Howard, the original town planner who arrived at the notion, envisioned an estate encompassing some 6,000 acres, put to agricultural, cultural, and industrial uses, among others. Its arrangement, in a fashion similar to that of a spoked bicycle wheel, would house a town hall, concert hall, and other such primary public buildings in the center of the wheel, with the according slices of the wheel being apportioned to varying uses, such as housing, agriculture, industry, cemeteries, shops, etc. Wide boulevards radiated out from the central wheel and an encircling railway and grand avenue were intended to ensure both access to the transportation grid at large and easy access to the town by all residents, respectively.
    It is worthwhile to note that this produced an altered sort of a grid system, being itself not possessed of a precisely perpendicular arrangement, but rather a tilted curved one where the majority of the streets arranged “perpendicular” to the central area were concerned. Given that Howard placed a great deal of importance in regard to the potential founding of a prospective garden city on the site in question, I cannot imagine that he preferred a truly gridded system-rather I suspect that he more enjoyed this circular orientation rather than the series of rectangles customary of a more conventional gridded system. I imagine that this is in part due to his intention to incorporate parks, waterfalls, and the like into his new cities as much as possible, in order to provide otherwise lacking green space.
    I was particularly interested to find that green cities are still a topic of conversation today-when googling green cities I came across an article discussing the debated need for more city space, and thus more green cities, in England, as the number of households was increasing at a rate greater than new houses were being built. Having never heard the term prior to class, it is always interesting to see something like this being discussed in the real world. I can only further wonder if the improved living conditions in the garden city caused an increased income gap between garden city dwellers and their compatriots still stuck in the inner urban areas. In the end, I feel like the addition of green space in our cities is something that should definitely be given top priority as America in particular expands the reach of its suburbs further and further out into previously undeveloped land. I think that, especially given the ecological and climatological crises on our doorstep, if we once again value industrialization and economics over nature that we may not be left with much of a planet at all, and that a small part of averting that end would be forethought in our expanding settlement of the land across the world.

    http://urbanplanning.library.cornell.edu/DOCS/howard.htm
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/11/inequality-america

  9. Ebenezer Howard’s “Garden City” concept controls and compartmentalizes every aspect of a person’s life along with controlling the development of the community. Everything from where certain buildings can be built to where certain people can live is all planned out in this concept. It is the mixture of town and country with strong ties to a larger central city that draws people to homestead in a Howard community. The concept is that of a rigidly planned utopia with only a population of 30,000 people.

    One of the biggest downfalls is the exclusion of mixed-use development: only businesses and industry on the outskirts by rail, housing with boulevards in the middle, and civic spaces in the center. No mixed-use loses the opportunity for variety while also allowing “dead” times in certain areas. The Garden City concept segregates people based on their physical state and jobs. Sick people are located far outside of the community along with blind/deaf people. Industrial and agricultural schools are also located far out in the green space while the other schools are just outside the inner core of the community. No “slums” or “smoke” are allowed in the community as well, indicating that no people of low income can live there much less the homeless. One of the main ways the community can do that is simply by the location of the community. It is outside of the main city – secluded. The poor simply can’t afford to move out to one of the garden cities. The numerous gardens throughout the community increase the price of the property, which also excludes low-income folks.

    This plan also does not allow the community to evolve as it grows but spread out until it’s filled in, if it in fact does fill in. No high rises are allowed in the Garden City, so once a population of 30,000 is reached, another city must be started. This creates an internal issue of continuing to commit to the plan or allow the growth to happen if the economy of the small city is booming. Would the community actually turn down huge monetary benefits in order to stay small and exclusive? Some might, but I believe most of the communities following the Garden City Concept would drop the plan in a heartbeat if it meant everyone would gain even more wealth.

    However, the central park core surrounded by civic buildings does present numerous opportunities for community gatherings and activities. Because of the Industrial Revolution’s effect on the city, it makes sense that Howard would provide as much green space as possible around each development as well as within so that every citizen is given access to open areas. Public parks and gardens surrounded by houses were rare commodities back then and are still sought after today. Parks increase the value of surrounding properties and provide opportunities for better health of the community.

    The idea that everyone should have access to parks, green space, local agriculture, etc. is a strong and important concept. Nonetheless, Howard’s Garden City still has some social issues that can’t be ignored.

  10. Industrialization changed the way planners, engineers, architects, and politicians look at cities and their functions dramatically. The Industrial Revolution created the “Industrial City.” In this new format, workers and lower class citizens no longer lived in the center of the city, and the higher class, wealthy citizens moved totally out of the city. They did this to avoid the disease and crowding that was created by the influx of workers into the cities (urbanization), and because they could afford to travel into and out of the city every day. With industrialization came new modes of transportation that could move more people from farther places into central cities areas. As seen in the top right picture, London has several roads and loops around the central city. City centers transformed into public areas where city functions often grouped up together for the convenience of the people. The top left picture illustrates a version of the newly constructed cities that became more common in industrialized cities. This picture shows sections or sectors that evolved, including a central business district, industrial sectors, and residential sectors. In the center of the picture, all of the outer cities and establishments connect to one central city. This quite possibly could be an illustration of a Baroque city, giving that one characteristic of Baroque cities are the presence of polyvia. Polyvia are intersections of more than 4 roads, usually consisting of a round-about or an irregular gridding pattern. Polyvia have a significant function in providing direct views from monument to monument. Each long road leads to a monument where the polyvia is centered. These are mainly present in European cities, however Washington, D.C. in the United States also has polyvia due to the multiple monuments in the area.
    The bottom right picture shows some green space at a park among some business buildings in the background. Green space became important for people living closer to cities due to their lack of mobility to leave the industrialized city. Green space was and is not profitable to cities, so local municipalities may be reluctant to build greenspace or a park when they could build businesses or residential area. However, people love parks, and the location of parks can greatly affect home values and the general function of people in a city. Cities like Savannah, Georgia planned to conserve green space within their grid system, and those spaces are still present to this day. One of the most famous green spaces in American cities is Central Park located in New York City. The middle picture on the right is a combination of centrality in cities and the conservation of green spaces through planning. With two focal points on either sides of the lakes, this would be an ideal area to live in, taking advantage of a central commercial district for the community while enjoying plenty of green belt area.
    It is truly fascinating to dive into the rhyme and reason of how and why certain cities were established and what was occurring at the time of their establishment. So much history can be told just by looking at a city’s organization.

    -Nathan Chadwick

  11. In response to the images for Geography of Europe of the urban planning type, Urban planning was a big and important idea for most of the cities that were build in Europe and the new world as a whole. When the city planners started to design the cities layout, they used the aspect of visions and different ideas of layouts for travel, planning waterways and farming as well and even in the case of Paris, planning the roads to make it easy to move troops and so that people can no longer block the streets to keep the police forces out.
    When looking at the idea of visions, you could look at it from the viewpoint of making the city more appealing to the eyes of the viewer. On way this could be done and is done in the city of Washington D.C. is to use a sort of roundabout at the intersections of roads and to make these points stand out by placing major buildings or monuments at these locations so that the eye is drawn to it. This can also be used to break up national breaks in the landscape by adding steps to the side of the hill to be able to make the road or walk way to extend a longer distance.
    Another way to look at this idea of urban planning is in the way of setting up land layout areas. Thomas Jefferson set up a township and range system that broke the land down into squares and then to smaller squares and so on. This gave a perfect layout and a nice even distribution to the farming and agriculture layout of the areas out side of the major cities and also made the land appealing to the eye by having a formal layout set in place. This formal layout can also be seen in cities like New York. It used a grid system that centered around a major city to make it easier to move people, goods, and to some aspect ideas around a given place. But urban planning could also be seen as the idea of making a city plan that was going to be used as the primary layout for the rest of the cities that were going to be built.
    One group of people to do this was the Romans. They would make plans for cities that they planned on settling on the Northern Coast of Africa so that all of the cites that they would need to build already had set plans laid out to make to process of expanding simpler to do. This could be any aspect from marking the areas for temples, monuments and building to were water ways would be set up to how man and how often green spaces would be placed within the city. This is not a new idea of urban planning, but a new idea in the way of writing this down to have a “set in stone” idea of how to build the cities that you need. Like in the pictures it shows different ways to lay out farms, parks, natural boundaries and planning cites around major bodies of water. There is no one way to make a city plan and it has been done for many years and is still done today for every city that is build.
    Bryan Webb

  12. The garden city concept developed by Ebenezer Howard was a reaction to the industrialization of cities throughout Europe, especially London. This concept brings together the polar opposites of country and city into one entity. In this concept, industry was pushed to the outside of the city along with the rail lines. Civic spaces/parks were the main focal point in the center of the city. Between the center of city and the industrial outskirts, lied the residential sector that was lined with boulevard streets. Far beyond the industry lied the farms and livestock region. Along with the farms were to be areas for sick, old, and disabled people. These cities were never meant to be very large, Ebenezer only planned for each city to accommodate around 30,000 people. Once the 30,000-population limit was reached, a new city was to be created far enough to be considered its own entity but close enough to be able to travel easily to another one. With only allowing the city to accommodate a low number of residents, it doesn’t allow for the need of high-density housing or large business buildings. Mix use development, commercial on bottom level with residential above, is also excluded from this concept due to the lack of need for developing higher density within the city. With a lack of buildings with varying heights, garden cities are liable to become stale or seem less attractive. Also, without mix use areas the cities vitality could experience times in which it was non-existent.

    The industrial revolution was primarily focused on one thing, industry. So it was no wonder why Ebenezer Howard wanted to make the primary focus of the garden city a park. With civic buildings surrounding the parks, it created a positive atmosphere for public gatherings and event spaces. During this time it was rare to find a residence with a garden or even open space nearby for people to enjoy. Majority of industrial towns were highly dense and living conditions were extremely poor. With gardens and parks readily available in this new Garden City concept, it presented new opportunities for people to have a better quality of life. Also, this concept was far more favorable for people to move to due to housing and property value being much higher than other cities.

    Unfortunately, due to the property value being much higher than other cities plus the concept excluding “slums” and “smoke”, it caused low income individuals and families to be turned away. Even though the Garden City concept did not advertise itself being a place for the wealthy, the way it was constructed made it to where the wealthy were the clientele. Low income families could not afford to have gardens surrounding their homes, or even have a single home to themselves.

    Ebenezer Howard had a great concept for a city. It was focused on making peoples lives healthier with a well thought out city plan. However, socially it excluded the working class. Low income people who would be the ones running the industry were excluded.

  13. The “Garden City” was a concept developed by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the late part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries as a form of urban planning in Great Britain. In this form, these self-containing communities would be planned to have equivalent areas for residential, industry and agriculture surrounded by “green-belts”. These designs are a representation of the Utopian ideals that appear in the late 19th century, when the industrial cities are the main background to a “class struggle” between the powerful upper classes and everyone else, especially the working classes. These struggles are central to the politics and economics of the next 100 years, the difference between those who want to exploit the working classes and those who want to help them improve.

    The lower classes around those times lived in very poor conditions as said in class, with poor sanitation, pollution, and overcrowding in many of the tenements in the working classes lived within the urban environments. These “Garden Cities” were the idealized organization in which these lower classes would have access to better housing along with better sanitation, away from pollution and overcrowding in their own respective residential areas connected to the main industrial and agricultural areas by rail or road. And as shown in a couple of pictures above, it would be system of interconnecting small cities which would be all be interdependent with the industrial part being concentrated in a central city of around 50,000 people and the adjacent towns of around 32,000 people and the lands surrounding them, solely being used to residential and agricultural purposes. In many ways just being self-sustaining with all if not all its mean being made within the city or the group of cities themselves. Many cities like this have been built around the world as part of the development of urban landscapes but deviating from Sir Howard’s original ideas, not having to be economically sustainable due to the interconnections of the world that happened during the 20th century. I.e. subways, airplanes, etc.

    The construction of such cities has led to a new development in the organization of many cities around the world and may lead to many changes in the future. The cities of the smaller Garden Cities and its outlying lands have become solely dormitory and residential in their purpose. And many may not have served their intended original purpose, but one cannot forget the importance that the development of this concept and cities has in our present time and its future times. As Global Warming is happening and we need to find alternative energy sources, the self-sustaining city will become very important. The addition of plants to the urban environments such as roof top gardens will help cool down the cities in the searing summer temperatures and well as being a ready food source for the people gardening them. The recycling of water and the use of solar panels within the urban landscape will also be important. There are things can be added to the concepts made by Sir Ebenezer Howard can help us build a better world in the future.

    • Good discussion. I like your commentary on his garden cities may not be performing their original functions but are still a viable form of suburban development around the world.

  14. Urban expansion was first developed in the post-industrial period, and it had brought an economic growth. During the industrial revolution urban solutions were necessary to support the population which was coming from the rural areas. There were super population, crowded places and subhuman living conditions. It had great impact in the urban environment and natural resources. In that time part of the population was trying to escape from all those problems in order to get a better life, and it is comprehensible as nowadays inhabitants are always looking for a new life perspective. The industrial area was then polluted and coming up health issues. Not only that but also living in that area did not have the same purpose as in the beginning. The urban exodus started, and it was to supply needs of the new population which will form small communities. Ebenezer Howard, a great urban planning for his era, starts to conceptualize new ideas of cities which later were named as garden-cities. Howard’s thought was a measure which his concerns of integration between city and the rural areas. It was a strategy of regional planning to avoid the migration towards the big cities. Agricultural belts and industries establishment would be formed with auto organized cities connected by an efficient public transport system. Trying to solve problems such as poor heath, poverty and pollution was the utopian vision of Howard, and it was by designing cities which could have a close relationship with the rural zone. He was betting in a combination between town and country in order to match all that it has to offer in a complete urban life opportunities and entertainment with the countryside’s beauty and pleasure. Following that ideology, people would consider a city close to nature. Creating a garden suburb was not his intention, but a country-city entity in combination with controlled dimensions of acres per people. The right spot, in the Howard’s ideals, was the most defended by him, where would be registered in the name industrial people the acquisition of agricultural fields. Providing more freedom to men in a new life of community was the conception of Howard’s garden city. The garden-city was taken gradually as a movement planning of new cities through England after the World War I. Therefore, the aim was built the greater number of houses with no understandable view by approval of housing policy. The principles of Howard were not limited only to England. In the United States, later, it was used to change community’s aspect such as Olmested, Vaux and Cleveland. The effect of suburbanization in the United States with residential subdivisions, zoning with business groups and industrial and business parks, physically isolated, caused various environmental impacts, including: automobile dependence, increased pollution, deforestation and agricultural land, the concentration poverty in the central areas and high development costs. They also cause the weakening of community spirit.
    As discussed, some principles of sustainable urban development can be identified in garden city model such as controlled size with accessibility to green spaces and pedestrian, adequate public transport, mixed use, reuse solid waste on agricultural land and commercial centers with local economy.

  15. Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities are utopian in idea, in reality there are good and bad qualities. A few of the good qualities include an efficient community and cleaner and healthier environments. Some of the problems created are the idea of a classless community and how to expand without compromising the integrity of the city.
    The city as an efficient community is utilized by the proximity of the residents to all their basic needs. The industrial ring is close enough for those who wish to walk to work and those who do not can easily use transportation. The middle rings that include shopping and other means to buy goods are close enough to travel too with ease. The closeness of such a city prevents sprawl and allows for the people to be a close knit community. The idea of a clean and healthy community is one we all dream of in our urban areas. The smokeless environment would prevent many illnesses that were prevalent in cities like tuberculosis and other respiratory problems.
    The problem with expanding a garden city is how to add more residential areas without building into the agriculture ring or the parks. This problem is usually solved by adding smaller pods off of the major city. These pods create outside urban areas without compromising. The problem created by these pods is sprawl. As I mentioned above, the great thing about the garden city is it reduces sprawl and creates tight knit communities. When sprawl is created the idea of easy walking/travel is extinguished. This also puts a strain on the existing agriculture. Do you create more agriculture rings to compensate for higher population or do you demand more resources from the existing land? Either option is not great, creating more takes up more land that could be used for other purposes of expansion, while expecting more from the same land will eventually cause the land to give way and produce nothing. The design of these cities was not meant for expansion. The other problem these cities face are the idea of a classless community. The socialist idea is not a bad one, but in reality almost never works. When designing residential spaces that will all be relatively the same, on the same street, the same height, same size, you create a city that becomes the idea of a suburb. It must be clean and “pretty” and you will only want certain people living there. They would all be approximately the same price as well. This causes most of the residents to be in the same class. The working population will have less choice of where to live and the poor class will have nowhere to live. This will create a homeless population that does not even have areas to build “slums.” How do you prevent this problem from happening? Do you build cheaper residencies that eventually turn into slums against the original idea? Do you create a separate pod just for the lower class creating a slum pod that is far away from the “beautiful” city. These are difficult problems to design for and even more so once the population increases over the limit.
    I think that Howard’s ideas are on the right track, but that they needed to be analyzed farther.

  16. One possible method of urban planning is creating a garden city. This method became popular with the upper middle class and elite people who wanted an escape from cities. The growth of industry led to overcrowding, poor living conditions and pollution, those who had the resources to leave the city did so. Garden cities developed to prevent the same overcrowding that plagued the cities by creating self-contained and government supported green spaces, where construction was not allowed. The concept of garden cities was immensely popular in the United States, especially in industrial cities such as Boston, Pittsburgh, New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Cleveland and other cities. Garden cities were developed in areas adjacent to industrial centers (uphill and upwind). The population with the wealth and means to move were aided by new and improved upon transportation, horse- drawn trams were replaced with gasoline trams which were replaced with trams on electrical lines and eventual subways and personal cars. These methods allowed the population access to city centers from their outside communities. The garden cities popped up initially unplanned as a community of wealthy people who settled near to each other, their neighborhoods were surrounded by a green belt that served as a boundary for their town to keep it contained (not sprawling and not too large) and as scenic buffer between the neighborhood and cities. Some of these communities would eventually include small, specialized shopping centers for the house wives who now found themselves outside the cities and away from shopping centers, as well as civic buildings. In order to avoid being annexed into the cities nearby (for taxation purposes), the communities would become official with privatized services such as a fire department that was independent from the city version. The inclusion of business and civic centers was not compliant with Ebenezer Howard’s original vision of garden cities. He hoped for planned communities that were self contained, enclosed by a green belt, and that contained a specific amount of residences and agriculture. He envisioned a community of garden cities linked together by roads independent of industrial cities. HIs planned city was forfeit to a more organic approach that occurred when the founders of these neighborhoods built their homes as they pleased with only vague notions of countryside and greenery. Since these communities were founded and funded by the wealthy his vision of collective ownership of the land was also forfeit. Howard also intended for these communities to equally accessible to the working class, however these communities were far too expensive and were only realistic for the upper middle class and the wealthy. Although these cities proved successful and popular they were created organically and randomly until the creation of the Garden City Association in later years. The Association was especially busy after World War II when many cities in Europe (England) needed to be rebuilt after having been destroyed by war. The Garden City Association is now known as the Town and Country Planning Association and is still operating today.

  17. In order to escape the pollution and disease riddled cities that plagued the early Industrial era, people were forced to move further from city hubs or into higher elevated areas. Based in small, idealized trade cities the only way for people to move away from the central core, and still maintain the connection was to build along the access routes created for the horse, train, foot, and boat paths. This type of sprawl being to form rings around cites, ranging in class and work status, and new connection hubs. This is some of the earliest planning of suburbanization. As the class, status, an income hierarchies of cites began to grow and spread, and the transportation systems in and out of the cities developed so did the surrounding, sprawling communities. The richer you were the more you could afford, and the farther you could move from the crowded city. These elite communities began sprouting as far as thirty miles from the central city; eating more and more of the green landscape. By the end of the 19th century began we see green belts mixed in with the rings of communities, protecting the green landscape, officially creating the Garden City.
    Now with an official system of suburbanization we see the formation of town and county planning associations, beautification movements, and a very distinct class division. Only the elite could afford the transportation needed to live in the county side. And all of the communities located directly outside of the city suffered from overcrowding, much like the city. Stuck in between the elite country side and the packed city edges, the middle class had to develop their own community systems. Businesses headquarters and shops began to surface around middle class towns creating very little need for travel to the city. These Garden type plans, though thought to be ideal, caused some of the greatest class separation.

    Camryn Clarke

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