Garden City Principles

Garden Cities were underpinned by a strong vision developed by Ebenezer Howard, who in his seminal book of 1898, To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, described how ’the advantages of the most energetic and active town life, with all the beauty and delight of the country, may be secured in perfect combination’.

The Garden City Principles are a distillation of the key elements that have made the Garden City model of development so successful, reimagined for the 21st Century, and should be viewed as indivisible.

What is a Garden City?

Garden Cities were founded on a series of principles developed by Ebenezer Howard which remain relevant today:

  • Strong vision, leadership and community engagement
  • Land value capture for the benefit of the community
  • Community ownership of land and long-term stewardship of assets
  • Mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are affordable for ordinary people
  • Beautifully and imaginatively designed homes with gardens in healthy communities
  • A strong local jobs offer in the Garden City itself and within easy commuting distance
  • Opportunities for residents to grow their own food, including allotments
  • Generous green space, including: surrounding belt of countryside to prevent unplanned sprawl; well connected and biodiversity-rich public parks; high quality gardens; tree-lined streets; and open spaces
  • Strong cultural, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable neighbourhoods
  • Integrated and accessible transport systems

Principles in practice

In the world’s first Garden City, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, a Community Benefit Society, ensures that land value is captured for the local community, while taking a long-term approach to managing and stewardship of the estate. It reinvests £4million a year back into the Letchworth community by into charitable services for the community including a treatment centre, minibus service, cinema, gallery, landscaping and museum services, as well as grants for local groups and individuals.