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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about -- Sir Ebenezer Howard, born 150 years ago in London and recognized as the father of the “garden city” movement in town planning.


CURWOOD: A hundred and fifty years ago, Sir Ebenezer Howard was born in London, and, along with him, the modern town planning movement. Sir Howard became famous for designing small, self-contained communities surrounded by open space. He called them garden cities, and they combined the best of city and rural life by integrating homes and gardens with civic and commercial interests. The Utopian idea appealed to industrial nations suffering from urban congestion. So, the garden cities of Letchworth and Welwyn were developed outside of London. As generations passed, Sir Howard's ideas swept across the sea to influence American planners Lewis Mumford and Clarence Stein. The towns of Greenbelt, Maryland, and Radburn, a section of Fairlawn, New Jersey, were built upon garden city principles. The early garden cities were pedestrian-friendly and centered around rail transit. In motor-age garden cities like Radburn, cars were kept out of sight, behind the houses. Other legacies include curving streets and cul-de-sacs. And one of Sir Howard's nineteenth century designs has become a fixture on the suburban landscape. He drew a cluster of stores enclosed under a glass arcade. And so was born the shopping mall. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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