Ebenezer Howard

Rank: 
18

Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928) 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.

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

His ideas attracted enough attention and financial backing to begin Letchworth Garden City, a suburban garden city north of London. A second garden city, Welwyn Garden City, was started after World War I. His contacts with German architects Hermann Muthesius and Bruno Taut resulted in the application of humane design principles in many large housing projects built in the Weimar years. Hermann Muthesius also played an important role in the creation of Germany's first garden city of Hellerau in 1909, the only German garden city where Howard's ideas were thoroughly adopted.

The creation of Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City were influential in the development of "New Towns" after World War II by the British government. This movement produced more than 30 communities, the first being Stevenage, Hertfordshire (about halfway between Letchworth and Welwyn), and the last (and largest) being Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Howard's ideas also inspired other planners such as Frederick Law Olmsted II and Clarence Perry. Walt Disney used elements of Howard's concepts in his original design for EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow).