Week 2 Lecture Note

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Published on 21 Jan 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCC26H3
Professor
Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928): Garden City of Tomorrow
Urban utopias = ideal cities
Throughout the 20th century, there are a number of these ideal cities that are designed
and planned
This is the story of a guy who was a nobody and suddenly was most influential planner
of 20th century, came up with Garden City
Biography:
oEbenezer Howard was a small shopkeeper
oAt 15, became clerk in London, then became a drifter and drifted around from
one job to another
oThen he and two of his friends decided they were going to make a fortune and
move to America
oLanded in New York, which at that time American government ran a program
where you get land in the West
oThe three friends decided to do farming
oNot surprisingly, it was a complete failure; he didnt know anything about
farming
oBasically, he spent a year farming and failed
oEventually, he decided to make his way to Chicago and went back into office
employment and became a clerk in an office in Chicago
oHe was shorthand = back in 19th century, when offices first started to appear
because of industrialization, one of the things in offices was sending letters, did
not have mechanical device to record, one of the inventions was typewriter, used
a shorthand code to type it on the typewriter
oShorthand had a tremendous social impact
oEbenezer was a guy who was single-minded and reads extensively, was fairly
much glued into the ideas of the time (a time when a lot of ideas are thrown
around)
oWhat made him a genius was he was able to take these ideas and synthesize
them
oHe found his ideas in a number of places
There was a book called Looking Backwards written by Edward Bellamy
oHero of looking backwards and living in Boston and falls asleep, when he wakes
up hes in 2000
oThe world has changed completely in the year 2000
oBasically, the economy is centrally controlled, one government and he centrally
controls the economy rather than competition, everybody works for the same
company
oSimilarly, all consumer goods are sold to the one big store and had branches in
small towns and large cities
oNo difference in wages, they all worked for a kind of industrial army
oBellamy puts a positive spin on it
oWhen the book came out in late 19th century, was the best bookseller
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oPeople went out and established discussion groups and had discussions about
this book
Ebenezer is certainly inspired by this
He disagreed with the notion of ultra centralization = the notion that everything should
be centralized and controlled by one government and one big store
Ebenezer Howard then decided to come up with his own prescription for the problems
that played cities in late 19th century, came up with utopian plan to remedy all problems
of poverty, poor sanitation, overcrowding, and housing, etc.
In 1898, he published it himself, it was known as Garden Cities of Tomorrow
Then he had to sell these books and starts to give talks
There was very lively culture where people went out and attended these talks
He described his utopian plans for cities
There was transformation, was a charismatic speaker and convinced people about what
he said
He began to attract followers, and some of these followers were important people
Some of them were actually planners, more importantly some of them were millionaires
Back in the days, there were millionaires in UK and Britain who established a town of
their own as a model and run it like a company town
One of these best known established towns was the town of Port Sunlight, attached to
Lever Soap became one of the first big company that started marketing big time
laundry soap and hand soap and became one of the huge companies along P&G
Bata shoes was largest shoe company in the world, and built its own town with factories
and houses
Ebenezer Howard was able to attract millionaires because they were able to fund these
activities
Remarkably, Howard wasnt satisfied by just writing about these things, he actually
wanted to go out to build these utopian communities
He not only built one of them, he also built several of them
The vehicle through which took him to his was something called the Garden City
Association = was established to spread his ideas and undertake the building of
potential Garden City
In fact, it was built relatively quickly, it was created in 1903 and was called
Letchworth it was built 30 miles north of London, it was not steady in terms of
population wise, limited population
Still, he built the city from scratch and put together the city with land parcels and
because this was not built by the government, in the second wave, the government
suddenly got involved
Originally, Garden Cities were not built with taxpayers’ money, was privately built
Invested return on their capital will be kept at 5%
Investor didnt get any money back for 20 years for their investment
There are other problems:
oBecause he stipulated Letchworth be built in considerable distance from London,
that meant that the first residence (people who lived there) had to move out of
the city and move to the countryside
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Document Summary

Association = was established to spread his ideas and undertake the building of potential garden city. In fact, it was built relatively quickly, it was created in 1903 and was called. Invested return on their capital will be kept at 5% Don mills, originally, the ideal was that it would provide employment, where people didn"t have to go to cities. I t was meant to put a limit to urban sprawl. If there was 30,000 population, the garden city was divided into 6 neighbourhoods with. I t was divided exactly in the same way into these smaller units, and each were supposed to have their own schools and things like that. Three magnets: the best of both worlds living in the city and rural area, each has its advantage and disadvantages. Living in the city: disadvantages: crowded, polluted, slums, advantages: cultural facilities within walking distance.