The concept of Garden Cities

Garden Cities
In Weimar, Cornelis van Eesteren discusses the book Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1898) by the founder Ebenezer Howard in his urban design lectures. Howard introduces the “garden city” concept as a tool for building entire urban communities in rural settings. In his view, no more than 32,000 people live in a garden city, with its own facilities. A ring of garden cities can form around a city, like satellites. Howard’s ideas are full of idealism: housing and industry had to be kept separate, distances to work, groceries and school were short and there was no alcohol for sale. The garden city unites the best of both worlds; the amenities in the big city and the rhythm and tranquility of a rural community.

Tuinsteden (Garden Cities) of Van Eesteren
In the 1920s, urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren elaborated on the concept of garden cities in his Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan (AUP) (General Expansion Plan) for Amsterdam. Living, working, traffic and recreation were ordered and usually separated according to functionalist principles. Ultimately, in the years after the Second World War, this would lead to the realization of expansion districts, including the Western Garden Cities. The garden cities function as independent neighborhoods, each with their own shops, schools, churches, lots of greenery and playgrounds. They invite you to meet and relax. And the facilities offer residents a great deal of independence from the old city center.

Garden-City. Illustration from Garden Cities of To-Morrow by Ebenezer Howard; 1902.

Illustration of Garden Cities in the book Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1898) by Ebenezer Howard