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Democratic dilemmas, planning and Ebenezer Howard's garden city

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It is widely acknowledged that Ebenezer Howard's Garden City inspired many important urban planning achievements throughout the world. Using democratic dilemmas as a means of characterizing Garden City allows attention to be drawn to the political 'work' that this form of planning undertook. Examination of Garden City's realization at Letchworth and its core democratic values reveals Howard's prescient struggle with the central contradictions of democratic planning, illustrating the difficulties of achieving social goals in planning framed by liberal democracy. While significant gains were made in living conditions through the development of the Garden City, its realization through largely liberal-based market mechanisms emphasized its physical virtues at the expense of its social goals.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Design & Social Context Portfolio School of Social Science & Planning City Campus GPO Box 2476V Melbourne Victoria 3001 Australia, Email:

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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