Sir Ebenezer Howard

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Howard, Sir Ebenezer (1850–1928). English begetter of the Garden City movement. Inspired by Edward Bellamy's (1850–98) Utopian book Looking Backward 2000–1887 (1888) which prophesied a transformation of society in an industrial age made possible by co-operative ventures, he wrote To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), later republished as Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1902). Howard envisaged curing the ills of densely packed urban living and rural decline by merging the best of town and country into Garden Cities of limited size. His ideas were taken up, and the Garden City Association was formed in 1899 which led to the creation of Letchworth Garden City, Herts. (from 1903), and the second experiment, Welwyn Garden City, also in Herts. (from 1919). Low densities, separation of housing and industries, and the provision of all amenities were essential ingredients. Howard's ideas led to the New Town policy adopted in Britain after the 1939–45 war, and had influence earlier elsewhere, notably in France, Germany, and the USA.


Beevers (1988);
Bellamy (1967);
Fishman (1977);
P. Hall & and C. Ward (1998);
E. Howard (1898, 1902, 1946, 1965);
LeGates & Stout (eds.) (1996);
MacFadyen (1970);
Me. Miller (1992);
Miller & and Gray (1992);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Parsons & D. Schuyler (eds.) (2002)

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Howard, Ebenezer (1850–1928). Howard, born in London, made a modest living as a shorthand writer and his importance was as a pioneer of the garden city movement. He believed that unrestricted private development of towns must lead to squalor and the communities which he advocated in his book Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1898, 1902) were to be owned by trustees, carefully planned, and surrounded by a green belt. He founded the Garden City Association in 1899 and the planning and development of Letchworth in Hertfordshire began in 1903. In 1919 he followed it with the purchase of an estate nearby at Welwyn. The examples had a vast influence on the planning of new towns in Britain and abroad, particularly after the Second World War. Howard spent the last years of his life on the Welwyn estate and was knighted in 1927.

J. A. Cannon

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Sir Ebenezer Howard, 1850–1928, English town planner, principal founder of the English garden-city movement. His To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), reissued as Garden Cities of To-morrow (1902), outlined a model self-sustaining town that would combine town conveniences and industries with the advantages of an agricultural location. As a result of the first publication he was able to form (1899) the Garden City Association, and, in 1903 Letchworth, the first English garden city, was founded. In 1920 he organized Welwyn Garden City.

See D. Macfadyen, Sir Ebenezer Howard and the Town Planning Movement (1933).