If you construct it, they will be there. They will be drawn in by the closeness to London even if it is currently operating ” only as a flying bishop, a large station, a dream horse and the future” in the way Ebbsfleet was described in November of 2010. But can a garden city succeed?
The future of Ebbsfleet has come into the spotlight after it was mentioned George Osborne’s budget for the year 2014. It is expected to represent the first English gardening city after its creation in 1920. Welwyn Garden City in 1920. The budget suggests that Ebbsfleet could be the first of a cycle of garden cities with a government-issued prospectus for their development to be released in the next month.
In the context of this, we must examine the origins of the garden city to better understand its social tenets and evaluate its use as a model for the creation of new communities.
The Garden cities of the future
The Garden City gets the name of Ebenezer Howard’s book. It was popularly identified in the editions that were published in the years following 1902 under the title “Garden Cities of Tomorrow”. Howard’s work and his campaigns inspired the creation of Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, both located in Hertfordshire. These initiatives sought to combine the best of rural and urban characteristics.
At the very least, they could have housing densities that were comparable to cities yet were surrounded by common and private gardens. Their businesses and population were connected to other cities through the rail system and safeguarded by a green zone that opened the countryside for residents before it was a standard plan aspect. One way to look at gardens is that they resembled and felt like a country, but they did not have the infrastructure of smaller cities.
While Letchworth and Welwyn are the sole two sites constructed that were in line with Howard’s ideals, they’ve been the catalyst for the development of the suburban growth of the 20th century throughout England. They did this primarily because of their rural style and evoked images of The Home Counties that echo the scripts of English culture. Conservatism. It is, in fact, the opposition of the aesthetics of garden cities over the political, economic, and social tenets of Howard’s ideals that explains the return of this term within the current discussions on policy.
Howard’s first book, in its edition of 1898, is “Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Reform.” The garden city was the basis upon which Howard was determined to implement an improved system of estate and land management based on cooperative principles. That is, the land owned by the city was owned by the inhabitants collectively and for the rest of their lives. In terms of economics and agriculture, it was designed to be self-sustaining and mostly cater to its residents’ requirements for food and employment.
In Howard’s ideal scenario, a single garden city would be linked to other cities with gardens that are similar in size and a larger central city via the rail system. This is quite a distance from the paramount function of the town with dormitories that Welwyn could become, and which is evident when examining the proposed plans of Ebbsfleet in the smallest form they are at the moment.
True meanings lost
Howard provided a visionary model to alleviate the urban overcrowding that plagued this Victorian city. Osborne’s tale of ventriloquism makes use of the garden city to fuel the dystopian logic in the London housing market and establish its economic supremacy in comparison to the rest of the nation. And it will also aid in protecting investors who invest in a brand, the upcoming Paramount Pictures theme park close by.
By reusing Howard’s terminology in his Ebbsfleet plans, The chancellor has presented an image postcard of”the “garden city,” all at the same time obscuring its social and political implications. In reality, it’s just a thin cloak over the rather trite and inadequate home-building policies.
This strategy is echoed by the Shadow chancellor’s announcement in November that the coming Labour administration would be able to revive an old New Towns tradition of building. In this way, Ed Balls sought to evoke the legacy of state-planned development, which has its roots in the government of President Attlee’s New Towns Act of 1946.
This re-invasion of the past to find a time in which today’s major parties can find comfort (another instance is Osborne’s current policies in the form of “Help to Buy” evoking the Thatcher administration’s “Right to Buy”) illustrates the lack of imagination as well as the weak points of the current political debate.
The new wave of urban gardens all over the UK is definitely worth a look. However, we should have a comprehensive discussion about their location – do they have to all be within the southern part of England? Also, we should reexamine the social concepts that underlie the garden cities of the past, in addition to evaluating their aesthetic appeal. Whatever you think about future architecture, Howard’s designs shook up the conventional wisdom regarding the best way to construct, and it’s this aspect of gardens that we ought to imitate.