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Can the Garden City of the Past Work in the Future?

Anthony Flynt explores the motivations behind Robert A.M. Stern's recent revival of the Garden City as a model for future development. Among the benefits of the model proposed by Ebenezer Howard in 1902, according to Stern: equity and comfort.
May 30, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Stern has written many large books," writes Flynt, "but with Paradise Planned, he is on a particular mission: to celebrate the 19th century town planning movement, and suggest the century-old template holds useful lessons for 21st century development."   

The book's archive of garden cities is embedded on 12 pounds and 1,000 pages, but the key question, according to Flynt, is whether the Garden City is a model that actually works.

Stern also provides instructions for making garden cities a model for future development: "Legacy cities such as Detroit may be perfect testing grounds, he argues, not least because the infrastructure is in place for a reinvention of the urban grid. The key ingredients in the recipe — a town square, a church, a transit station, a corner store, hotel, smaller houses (think Forest Hills in Queens) — need only be dispensed in quantities that are not as intensive as Midtown Manhattan."

Flynt's exploration of the topic also discusses Howard's mathematic approach to equity and another under-appreciated benefit of the neotraditional design components of garden cities: unlike much modernist design, historic forms provide comfort. 

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Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 in CityLab
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