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Ebenezer Howard

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Ebenezer Howard

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Sir Ebenezer Howard (29 January 1850 – May 1 1928) is known for his publication Garden Cities of To-morrow (1898), the description of a utopian city in which man lives harmoniously together with the rest of nature. The publication led to the founding of the Garden City movement, that realized several Garden Cities in Great Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The only publication he wrote in his life was titled To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, which was reprinted in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-morrow. This book offered a vision of towns free of slums and enjoying the benefits of both town (such as opportunity, amusement and high wages) and country (such as beauty, fresh air and low rents). He illustrated the idea with his famous Three Magnets diagram, which addressed the question ‘Where will the people go?’, the choices being ‘Town’, ‘Country’ or ‘Town-Country’ – the Three Magnets.

It called for the creation of new suburban towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agricultural land. These Garden cities were used as a role model for many suburbs. Howard believed that such Garden Cities were the perfect blend of city and nature. The towns would be largely independent, and managed and financed by the citizens who had an economic interest in them.

In 1899 he founded the Garden Cities Association, now known as the Town and Country Planning Association and the oldest environmental charity in England.

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