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Is the discipline of urban planning a religiously neutral affair? If the English Garden City movement is to serve as a worthy example of this discipline, certainly not. After noting its considerable influence on American New Urbanism, Lee Hardy explores in this essay the religious motivation of the Garden City movement through the figure of its founder, Ebenezer Howard. The exploration takes place on three levels: the physical design of urban form; the socioeconomics of collective land ownership; and the religious hope of human transformation, which draws upon the cultural strategies typical of separatist Christian communities and the metaphysics of American Spiritualism. Mr. Hardy is professor of philosophy at Calvin College.

A Fateful Encounter

In the fall of 1875, Cora L. V. Richmond, a much-celebrated American spiritualist, made a stop in Chicago on a lecture tour that eventually would take her to the West Coast. The venue, Snow’s Academy on the corner of Washington and Green, was packed that evening. In the audience sat a young Englishman sent by the Chicago Times to make a transcript of the speech. He had taught himself Pittman shorthand as a teenager in the East End of London. There, he worked as the private secretary for Dr. Joseph Parker, one of the great Congregationalist preachers of the day. But at age twenty-one he decided to leave for the States to take up the farming life in the Midwest. After a disastrous winter on the plains of Nebraska, he made his way to the city of Chicago and found, in the year of 1872, employment as a court stenographer for the legal firm of Ely, Burnham and Bartlett on La Salle Street.

The young man lived in momentous times. The engines of industrial capitalism were transforming the shape of human society and the evolutionary theory of Darwin was radically altering the intellectual landscape. Raised in a chapel-going Congregationalist family, he found the beliefs of his childhood challenged by the emerging world of the late Victorian era. At the firm in Chicago, he met Alonzo Griffin, a free-thinking Quaker, who introduced him in turn to Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man and W. H. Draper ’s Intellectual History of Europe. The former provided a naturalistic account of human origins; the latter portrayed the church as an obstacle to human progress. Under the combined influence of these works, he was prepared to jettison a faith that now seemed to him not only intellectually suspect, but also, in its organized form, socially reactionary. It is not hard to imagine his excitement as he listened to the charismatic spiritualist teaching with great force and conviction a form of religion that leaves the organized church and its creeds behind, that claims to be thoroughly consistent with a scientific worldview and brings with it a message of moral uplift, social reform, and the promise of a bright new day for humanity. Later, reflecting on his life, he spoke of Richmond’s address as a life-changing event, an event that set him on course to his life’s purpose.1

The New Urbanist Connection

The name of the Chicago court reporter was Ebenezer Howard. He was to return to England in 1876 and, some twenty-five years later, become the founder of the Garden City movement. He has been hailed since as the father of modern town planning. Today his work serves as both inspiration and prototype for American New Urbanist thinking about the formal order of human community. Speaking at an American Planning Association panel discussion in 1998, urban historian Robert Fishman said that Ebenezer Howard was, in fact,

[the] oldest and wisest of new urbanists. His Garden City embodies all the ideas championed by the current generation. It combines work and residence, provides housing for a wide range of incomes, and includes a town center with a well-defined civic space, all at a walking scale with easy access to parkland.2

No less a light than Andres Duany, master planner of Seaside and leading spokesperson for the New Urbanist movement, claims one can learn more from the designers of Letchworth, the first English Garden City, than from the entire curriculum of a typical urban planning school.3

On the face of it, it might seem strange that New Urbanists find the Garden City idea attractive in the least. For the Garden City movement billed itself as a champion of low-density development, while New Urbanists are known – and sometimes reviled – for their promotion of higher densities. The paradox is only apparent, however, and resolved when the density language is set in its polemical context. The Garden City was proposed originally as an antidote for the over-crowded industrial city. New Urbanist communities are recommended in reaction to suburban sprawl. Coming from opposite ends of the density spectrum, both converge on the town as the mean, as the proper unit of human settlement. On the extreme end of the vice of excess stand the Birminghams and Manchesters of the 19th century; on the side of deficiency, suburban sprawl of 20th-century Los Angeles and Atlanta. Between them lie the appropriately human scale, densities and rich spatial organization of the town, whether freestanding or situated in a larger city as an urban neighborhood. In his introduction to the New Urbanist movement, Alex Krieger notes that in the search to find a solution to the drawbacks of suburbia, “a familiar antidote, the town, presents itself just as it did a century ago when the task was to find alternatives to the demoralizing Victorian city.”4 And most historians of the planning profession now agree: the one who conceived and coded the town for the modern period was Ebenezer Howard.5

Those familiar with American New Urbanist projects will recognize immediately the similarities between them and the English Garden City idea in plan, scale, land use patterns, and transit arrangements. This is no accident. Between 1918 and 1922, the American planner Clarence Stein paid an extended visit to England. He came back to the States, he reports, “a disciple of Ebenezer Howard.”6 In 1923,Stein formed the Regional Planning Association of America, conceived as an affiliate of the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association in England. In 1925, Ebenezer Howard visited Stein and his colleagues in New York. The goal of the American association was to create a Garden City in the region of New York City. The result was Radburn, New Jersey, built under the auspices of the City Housing Corporation. Radburn served in turn as a model for various greenbelt towns built in the East and Midwest, which have served in turn as a resource for contemporary New Urbanist thinking about town planning.

A more influential version of the Garden City idea, however, established itself in the tradition of American town planning through the work of the New York Regional Plan, of which Clarence Stein was the principal architect. In England, the Garden City Association (the predecessor of the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association) was formed in 1901. Ralph Neville, an influential London barrister,w as appointed as director. In turn, Neville hired a Scottish land surveyor, Thomas Adams, as the secretary of the association. Adams left for Canada in 1914. But in 1921 he was hired as a consultant for the New York Regional Plan, a plan focusing on the development of the land within a 40-mile radius of New York City. In volume seven of a ten-volume report on that plan, an American planner, Clarence Perry, developed the idea of the “Neighborhood Unit.” The Neighborhood Unit, as Perry describes it, is a developed area “which embraces all the public facilities and conditions required by the average family for its comfort and proper development within the vicinity of its dwelling.”7 The neighborhood unit was to be large enough to support an elementary school; it was to have civic institutions at its center, retail and commerce along arterials at its edge, and sufficient open space within for recreation. In a report in Washington D.C. to the joint National Housing Conference in 1935, William Arger states that Ebenezer Howard developed the idea of a metropolitan unit, a unit that displayed a degree of self-sufficiency that made it relatively independent of the urban nexus. “Perry,” he reports,

carried the same idea into the internal structure of cities in his concept of the neighborhood unit, a residential cell capable of building up so strong a community life within itself that it would be capable of resisting the tendencies to depreciation and disintegration that might take place in the city around it.

As such the Neighborhood Unit has “an internal organization so strong that the huffs and puffs of its surroundings cannot blow it away.”8 The idea of the Neighborhood Unit was taken up in the practice of the premier New Urbanist town-planning firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk in the 1980s and has since worked its influence on the design of over 200 New Urbanist communities and urban neighborhoods across the American continent. At the conclusion of their encyclopedia of modern town planning, The New Civic Art, the authors state that while many planning ideas have come and gone, “the garden city and the neighborhood unit have proven to be durable models for human settlement.”9

The Industrial City

The major social problems of 19th-century England were met in the industrialcity, the product of machine technology, laissez-faire capitalism, and a series of devastating crop failures. The dramatic demographic shift in England during that period indicates the magnitude of the issues that would confront the country as the 19th century came to a close. In 1750, the population of England and Wales was 6.5 million. In 1801, it was 9 million, with 20 percent of the population residing in urban areas; in 1851, 18 million, 54 percent urban; in 1901, 41 million, 72 percent urban. The demographic trend on the national level is reflected in the population trajectories of the major cities during the same period of time. In 1801, the population of Birmingham was 71,000; by 1851, the figure more than trebled to 237,000. In the same period, Manchester went from 75,000 to 303,000. London ballooned from 1.1 million in 1801 to 2.6 million in 1851; by 1901, its population figures hit 6.5 million.10

But urban crowding was not the only problem. The inhabitants of the industrial cities were exposed daily to the toxic wastes of the factories in whose shadows they lived; lack of drainage and basic sanitation led to serious outbreaks of cholera, measles, and tuberculosis. Besides the pub and the music hall, there were few civic institutions or amenities in working-class neighborhoods. Education for the young was largely unavailable. While a few members of Victorian society were clearly profiting from the laissez-faire environment of industrial capitalism, the vast majority was sinking into poverty, ignorance, ill health, crime, and sundry forms of addictive behavior. The alarming situation was portrayed vividly in the reports of Friedrich Engels and William Booth, as well as in the novels of Charles Dickens.

Clearly an intervention of some sort was required to improve the lot of the industrial working class. The first major public intervention came in the form of the Public Health Acts of 1848 and 1875. Coding for residential plan and construction, they created the so-called Bye-Law Street – a well drained but monotonous form of row-housing that later characterized working-class neighborhoods on the outskirts of English industrial cities. In the late 19th century, as the rural population continued to pour into the center of the city, crowding into dank and airless tenement buildings, Bye-Law Street construction boomed at the edges. No doubt the new style of construction was an improvement from the point of view of drainage and sanitation. But open space and civic amenities were left out of the plan. It created a streetscape that made the older parts of the city look positively picturesque. And, of course, it made no headway at all in solving the deeper social problems afflicting late Victorian society. The Garden City idea can be understood as a reaction, most specifically, to high-density urban sprawl, and to the massive Bye-Law street extension of the English industrial city during the 1880s.11 Howard’s proposal was to stop the expansion of the overcrowded cities – in fact, not only to stop it but reverse it – by building new towns out in the countryside, replete with their own sources of employment and linked to the major cities by the new mode of transit afforded by the railroad.

The Garden City Proposal

The Garden City is remembered chiefly for its idealized town plan, the striking circular diagram Howard included in his book, Garden Cities of ToMorrow, published in 1902. The plan was sited on a 6,000-acre estate – 1,000 acres devoted to development, surrounded by 5,000 acres of an agricultural green belt. The town was to accommodate 32,000 souls. At the center Howard placed public gardens. The gardens were to be surrounded by civic buildings – a theater, museum, library, town hall, concert hall and hospital. A second park surrounds the civic buildings, followed by a circular glass arcade – the “Crystal Palace” – partitioned to acco-modate retail operations. Beyond the arcade: some 5,500 residential lots, divided into six wedge-shaped wards. The residential lots averaged 25 by 100 feet, each with its own garden, thus allowing for a density of about seventeen dwelling units per gross acre. A large circular avenue runs through the residential area, providing sites for schools and churches. The outer ring is formed by a railroad serving local factories and warehouses as well as connecting the town to its neighbors by way of public transit. Carefully plotted and planned, the Garden City provides a place for all the essential land uses (civic, commercial, residential, industrial, and recreational) while separating out those judged incompatible. It makes for a mid-sized human community that has all the amenities thought necessary for a good life, but none of the congestion, conflict, and confusion of the industrial city.

But for Howard, the Garden City idea was much more than a tidy plan for a nice town. It was a bold and comprehensive proposal for social reform.12 It did not come as a technical proposal from the office of a municipal planning department. It arose from the grounds well of demand for social reform stirring in the socialist circles of London. As such, the Garden City idea had two major components in addition to the town plan. One was the provision for the collective ownership of land. The other was a call for the massive redistribution of the English population through the formation of home colonies.

In English radical circles it had long been held that the private ownership of land was a fundamentally unjust arrangement, enriching a few at the expense of many. The value of the land is socially created, it was thought, and therefore ought to be enjoyed by all members of society. English radical thinking about the land question was influenced deeply in the 1880s by the books of two American authors: Henry George and Edward Bellamy. George maintained that the increase in land value should be returned to society by way of a confiscatory land value tax –which, he thought, would have the ultimate effect of making urban property less desirable and thus spread the population out into towns, where land values were sure to be lower. On a lecture tour after the publication of his book Progress and Poverty (1879), he visited London in 1882 and spoke in Farringdon Hall. The speech was a powerful one by all accounts, giving a huge impetus to the British socialist movement and making a lifelong convert out of George Bernard Shaw. From his study of Progress and Poverty, Howard derived the idea that the “unearned increment” of increasing land value should go to the public good rather than the private enrichment of landlords.

Bellamy’s Looking Backward became available in England in 1889, first in serialized form. Within two years, 100,000 copies of the book version sold in Britain. Howard had a direct hand in this publishing event. So impressed was he by the work – he read it in one sitting – that he presented the book to the English publisher William Reeves and promised to buy the first 100 copies. In Looking Backward, a callous Boston businessman, Julian West, dies in the year of 1887 and is resuscitated miraculously in the year of 2000. What he discovers is a world transformed. Having abandoned the individualistic ethos of cut throat competition, the America of the future was flourishing under a state socialist system that evidently cured the social ills and tensions so familiar to those on both sides of the Atlantic in the 19th century. The vision of a society redeemed by the powers of altruism and collective ownership proved to be compelling for the British readership. In 1890, the Nationalisation of Labour Society was formed to promote Bellamy’s vision of the future on English soil.

For Howard, Bellamy’s vision was equally inspiring. But as a practical man, it led him to the question of how it might be implemented. Bellamy’s book “graphically pictured the whole American nation organised on co-operative principles,” he wrote later in life.13

This perception naturally led me to seek to put forward proposals for testing Mr. Bellamy’s principles, though on a very much smaller scale—in brief to build, by voluntary enterprise provided by public spirit, an entirely new town, industrial, residential, agricultural.14

In an unfinished manuscript entitled “Commonsense Socialism,” composed in 1892, Howard stated his belief that every human being has the right to ample space to live a healthy and useful life. But this right was violated regularly by the intervention of the landlord. “The landlord is in everyday life what the priest is in religion. He says in effect, if you want to go to God’s earth you must go through me.”15 At present, we live in a “self-seeking order of society.”

[Bellamy portrayed] a new order—the order of justice, unity, and friendliness . . . The writer had permanently convinced me that our present industrial order stands absolutely condemned and is tottering to its fall, and that a new and brighter, because juster, order must ere long take its place.16

Bellamy’s vision of the society of the future was, he thought, the vision of a deeply Christian society, a society imbued with the spirit of social cooperation and harmony. The present system of industrial capitalism was, on the other hand, “the embodiment of the anti-Christian spirit.”17 The Garden City was, in effect, Howard’s attempt to realize Bellamy’s utopia on a small scale by way of a model community. Letchworth, the first Garden City, can be seen, then, as an attempt to realize a scaled-down version of Bellamy’s Boston—a Boston of the socialist future situated 35 miles north of London.

Bellamy’s idealistic vision was soon combined with the strategy of founding “home colonies” for the industrial poor. The ”Bellamites” in England were watching closely an American communitarian experiment being carried out by Albert Kinsey Owen in Topolobampo, Mexico. It was run on the principle of “integral cooperation,” where practically everything – land, buildings and business enterprises – was owned by a single joint-stock company. The experiment ended in scandal. But it was sufficient to suggest the idea of an English “home colony” run on similar principles. Home colonies were to be established in the rural areas of England. The urban poor, through planned migration, were to populate these new communities. There they would find a new life, a new order of human society that benefited all, based on the principles of cooperation rather than competition. Such was the plan, at least, advocated by London School of Economics professor Alfred Marshall in 1883. The home colony idea received enthusiastic support from the Russian anarchist, Prince Peter Kropotkin, living in England at the time. Home colonies, he thought, should be sited in the “neighborhood of large cities.” They should be composed of single-family residences, and thus geared to “the life of independent families, united together by the desire of obtaining material and moral well-being through combined efforts.”18

Howard, himself a Bellamite, offered his version of a home colony in a speech given in February 1893 in Farringdon Hall. Shying away from the model of total collective ownership, of “integral cooperation,” Howard proposed a home colony based initially on a mixed economy: private enterprise plus the cooperative ownership of the land. Individuals would be free to own and operate businesses as they choose, but land rents would go to toward public improvements in the community. Other forms of cooperation could be tried out on a voluntary and experimental basis. Similarly, the migration of the working poor need not be orchestrated by the national government. Home colonies, run in the interest of the common good, would be so inherently attractive, Howard thought, that the poor would flock to them of their own accord. It remained Howard’s conviction throughout his career that the solution to the social problems of the day was to come from the voluntary associations of well-intentioned people in the civil sector. He remained ever wary of state socialism as well as any hint of bureaucratic engineering.

The Religious Background

The roots of the Garden City idea, however, go much deeper than the socialist programs of the late 1800s. They reach down into the long tradition of Anglo-American intentional religious communities and their strategies for social transformation. James Silk Buckingham, a Member of Parliament, was a man of Christian conviction deeply troubled by the social conditions created under the auspices of unrestrained industrial capitalism. In his book, National Evils and Practical Remedies, he called upon those of means to take the social teachings of the Christian gospel seriously and to respond to the neighbor in need. He spoke often and freely of the “Christian duties of mutual love, forbearance, and aid to every fellow-creature.” What he had in mind, however, was more than random acts of charity undertaken by isolated individuals. Such acts, in his opinion, only patch the symptoms without addressing the cause.19 What has to change is the system that generated such inequities in the first place. Deeply impressed by the order, harmony and equality he found in the Shaker and Rappite communities during a visit to America, he proposed the creation of a model town based on the cooperative ownership of land and buildings and supported by profit-sharing industries. The town itself was to be laid out with all the benefits of adequate sanitation, light, and space, including civic amenities and parks available to all. He dubbed the town “Victoria,” in honor, no doubt, of the queen.

Buckingham was a great believer in the power and benefits of wisely ordered social institutions, what he referred to as a “system.” Judged by its results, industrial society was based clearly upon the wrong system; to reform it required the creation of the right system. In this conviction he was much influenced by the thought of the Rev. James Shergold Boone, the curate of St. John’s, Paddington. In an impassioned essay, Boone wrote, “There is a divine, or superhuman, system, which must be the model for the human . . . there is a system which we have to construct; as there is a vaster system which we must study, and to which we must conform ourselves.”20 A Christian realist, Buckingham thought that the key to social reform was to create a system, a form of association, in which our self-regarding interests are most likely to align with the requirements of our moral duties to others. For whenever interests and duty conflict, interests, he thought, will almost always be preferred. Therefore,

let every institution, law, or custom, in which the interests and duties of mankind are in opposition to each other, be so reformed as to be brought into harmony; so that the strongest possible motive may be supplied to the performance of what will be at the same time most beneficial to the individual holding trust of office, or following any profession, and to the community whose interests he promotes.21

In his civic proposal he did not assume that human beings are inclined innately to do their duty by others, and so create a just and equitable society on the basis of good will alone. He thought it was unreasonable to expect that people will “be free from the infirmities common to the whole race.”22 But he did think it was possible to so arrange society that its citizens would be inclined to act in accordance with duty, even if they do not always act because of duty. In the new community of Victoria he proposed to

remodel the existing elements of capital, skill, and labour – of which the world is so full . . .by making the duties and interests of mankind so to coalesce in harmony with each other, instead of the opposition in which they are now placed, as to produce a much larger amount of material prosperity and intellectual endowment than can ever be attained under the existing arrangements of society.23

Victoria, as a model town association based on the principle of cooperative ownership, was to embody the proper system for the flourishing of human society. Under ideal conditions, the town plan would measure one square mile, containing 10,000 inhabitants. At the center he placed the major civic buildings; then residential; then industrial. All buildings and industries would belong to a single joint-stock company. Shares in the overarching company would be owned by all its citizens, thus creating a community of interests. In addition, citizens of the model town would subscribe to a behavioral code: no alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons, illicit sex, or work on Sundays; no heavy labor for women, or inappropriate labor for children. Work would be limited to eight hours a day. Every dwelling would have its own water closet; there would be public baths, common kitchens, laundries, and daycare centers. Doctors and lawyers would be paid with public funds. Schools would exist for the education of all children. There would be a large range of housing types, accommodating people of differing incomes and states in life. Industry would be separated from residential areas. Public parks and fountains would adorn open areas. The town would also boast of beautiful public cemeteries “to assist,” as he put it, “in making the associations of death more cheerful.”24

Although the plan was for one small town, the effect was to be felt throughout society. Here Buckingham was following a time-honored cultural strategy. Many intentional religious communities did not see separation from the dominant society as an end in itself. Rather, it was a strategy aimed ultimately at the reform of the surrounding society. The community set apart was to function as a model, as a “City on a Hill,” which would influence society at large by force of example. Buckingham’s proposal contains the same communitarian plan for reform. Victoria would first grow and then replicate itself so that, in 100 years, Buckingham predicted, England would be covered with such towns, “absorbing the labor of every unemployed man, woman, and child, in the kingdom, and rewarding them by a handsome remuneration.”25

However inspiring the vision, Victoria itself was never built. But it did serve as a model for Howard, who studied Buckingham’s book carefully in the 1890s and referred to it explicitly in his own work. With equal intensity he studied an even earlier communitarian proposal made by a Thomas Spence in a pamphlet entitled The Rights of Man, published in 1775. While Buckingham was a man with an idea for a community, Spence was part of a community based on an idea. He was born to a Scottish Presbyterian home. His family immigrated to Newcastle where they joined a sect known as the Glasites, followers of John Glas, who had been expelled from the Church of Scotland for his unorthodox social teachings –namely, that of the common ownership of goods within the Christian community.

The primitive Christian idea of the community of goods stuck with Spence. Inf act, he took the arrangement as the base state of the human community, disturbed only later by greedy interlopers. In The Rights of Man he claimed that, “The country of any people in a native state is properly their common, in which each of them has an equal property, with free liberty to sustain himself and connexions with the animals, fruits, and other products thereof.” But,

if we look back to the origins of the present nations, we shall see that the land, with all its appurtenances, was claimed by a few, and divided amoung themselves, in as assured a manner as if they had manufactured it, and it had been the work of their own hands. . . . Thus were the first landlords usurpers and tyrants.26

In Spence’s Utopia, which he called “Spensonia,” the people reassert their property rights, and, parish by parish, return the land to the local community, formed as a corporation. The rents formerly paid to the landlords would then go into a public fund used for the general improvement of the land.

In Spensonia, the parish corporation was to be regulated by a board of directors elected by the shareholders. Clearly, Spence’s proposal for local government was modeled on the Presbyterian form of church polity; it was a lay version of the consistory of elected elders in the religious congregations familiar to both Spence and Howard. Howard’s “autonomous, self-governing communities,” biographer Robert Beevers points out, “were the secular counterparts of the dissenting congregations Howard knew so well, and the language of the The Rights of Man was essentially that of the Independents of the English Revolution from whom they still drew much of their inspiration.”27 Thus go the roots of the Garden City idea back into the long tradition of separatist religious communities. In fact, Beevers claims,“all the chief contributors to the stock of ideas from which Howard distilled the concept of the garden city. . . were dissenters by upbringing or steeped in its tradition.”28

The dissenter tradition of establishing self-governing model communities had its influence on the other side of the Atlantic as well. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, founded in 1630 by Governor John Winthrop, was, after all, an attempt by English Puritans to create a Christian Commonwealth in the new world, to build a “City on a Hill” that would serve as an example of a redeemed society – a “model of Christian Charity” – to the rest of the world. An instance of particular interest is to be found the community of Hopedale, one of the many attempts in 19th-century New England, as Edward Spann put it, “to establish a good society in a corrupted world.”29 This community, located in Milford, Massachusetts, was founded by Adin Ballou, born in 1803 of French Huguenot stock. Influenced deeply by the Second Great Awakening, his family joined the “Christian Connexion,” a dissenting group that rejected the institutional church. As a young man headed for the ministry, soon Ballou became embroiled in theological disputes regarding Christian soteriology. He first adopted an annhilationist view regarding the fate of unsaved souls—a position then known as “Destructionism.” According to this view, the damned were not punished eternally, but at some point escorted mercifully out of existence. Later he became a Universalist (eventually all will be saved), a view lending him a more optimistic view of the world and the ultimate destiny of the human community. As a Universalist, however, he held a Restorationist line: although all are destined for redemption, many will pass first through a period of punishment in the afterlife. Fired by his “no punishment for sin” Universalist congregation, he then became a minister in a Unitarian church.

After receiving his share of bruises in the theological disputation that so often characterize the Calvinists, he became much more focused on the moral precepts of Christianity – what he came to call “Practical Christianity.” His version of Practical Christianity centered first on personal habits (he gave up smoking); but it grew later to include certain social movements – first the temperance movement, then abolitionism. Finally, it took on the ambitious aim of reforming society at large, so that all could strive for holiness and happiness in this life without being compromised by the corrupt social institutions and practices of the day. He sought to form a group devoted to Practical Christianity, whose aim was, as he put it, “the restoration of man, especially the most fallen and friendless. Our immediate concern is the promotion of useful knowledge, moral improvement, and Christian perfection.”30 Convinced that this could not be done in society at large, he proposed to found a separate community of those devoted to a consistent Christian life,

[to establish] a compact neighborhood or village of practical Christians, dwelling together by families in love and peace, insuring themselves the comforts of life by agriculture and mechanical industry, and directing the residue of the intellectual, moral and physical resources to the Christianization and general welfare of the human race.31

This “Christianization” of the human race was to occur through the communitarian process of cultural self-replication:

If one such community could be established, the number might be indefinitely multiplied over the whole face of the earth, till at length the kingdom of the earth should be absorbed in the glorious kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then the reign of ignorance, selfishness, pride and violence will be terminated among man, and the whole great brotherhood of our raced well together in peace, under the immediate government of Him, to whom belongeth the kingdom, power and glory forever.32

Ballou’s redemptive aspirations were neither modest nor local. The community of Practical Christians, he claimed, “affords a beginning, a specimen and presage of a new and glorious social Christendom – a grand confederation of similar communities – a world ultimately regenerated and Edenized.”33

In 1842, Ballou resigned from the ministry in order to join the community at Hopedale, telling his congregation in his farewell address that the Sermon on the Mount “must be made practical, both individually and socially, in respect to the great interests of life, in order to realize salvation in ourselves and bring about a restoration of all things.”34 By the “social practicality” of the Christian ethic, Ballouhad in mind the collective ownership of property, an arrangement he thought would “harmonize all the important interests of individuals and families in a true social state” on the basis of the “essential principles of the Christian Religion.”35 A joint-stock company was formed at Hopedale. It was to own and manage the land, buildings, and business enterprises for the sake of the common good. Thus constituted, Hopedale was, in Ballou’s words, “a socialistic community successfully actualizing, as well as promulgating, practical Christian socialism – the only kind of socialism likely to establish a true social state on earth.”36 As such, it was “a systematic attempt to establish an order of Human Society based on the sublime idea of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, as taught and illustrated in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”37 He referred to Hopedale as “Fraternal Community No. 1,” a community that would, by its “powerful concentration of moral heat and light,” soon generate similar communities among those dissatisfied with existing society.38

Ballou propagated his message of intentional Christian community and social regeneration in a magazine called The Practical Christian. Horace Greeley, then editor of The New York Tribune, also a Universalist and believer in the principles of Christian socialism, had copies of Ballou’s The Practical Christian distributed along with the editions of his paper. David Scott, a subscriber in New York, read the insert with interest, and decided to heed Ballou’s call to Christian community. He visited Hopedale with his family in 1850 and moved there a year later. In support of the plan to redeem society through the proliferation of Practical Christian communities, he decided that same year to start a branch colony in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

Soon after the departure of the Scotts for Wisconsin, however, the Ballou family was struck by tragedy. Adin Ballou’s only son, Adin Augustus Ballou, died quite suddenly of influenza. He had been studying for the ministry in Boston. Adin senior was crushed by the sad event. But he was soon heartened by reports of communications from his deceased son through the spirit medium Elizabeth Alice Reed, a resident of the Hopedale community. Days thereafter, the spirit of Adin Ausgustus Ballou also appeared in the branch colony in Wisconsin, controlling Cora Scott, the young daughter of David Scott. This was the dramatic beginning of Cora Scott’s career as a spirit medium. She later married William Richmond. She was in fact the Cora Richmond who had so impressed the young Ebenezer Howard in Chicago with her message of moral uplift and social reform. The content of her teachings on harmony, cooperation, and peace were derived from the Practical Christianity of the religious community of Hopedale, Massachusetts, now repackaged in what she called the “New Dispensation.” According to this view, we had lost our moral bearings in the self-seeking culture of 19th-century industrial society. Drawn into huge, over-crowded cities by the promise of fortune, we had exploited each other and wrecked the natural environment. The call of the New Dispensation, issued often under the spirit influence of Adin Augustus Ballou, was acall to moral regeneration and the construction of a new civilization based on social cooperation.39

In Chicago, Howard responded to that call.40 The moral vision of this teaching, coupled with its millennial expectation, gave Howard’s life a new sense of purpose. “Buttressed by his new faith,” Stanley Buder writes, “Howard viewed himself a member of a small avant-garde circle gifted with a special message of hope for a suffering humanity.”41 That message was of no terrestrial origin. “Spiritual light has be hastening long, very long, to reach the dull cold air of our planet, ”prophesied Byran Butts, a spiritualist who joined the Hopedale community in the late 1850s.

A few hearts to-day are throbbing with its divine heat . . . The naturalist has found that the waters of the sea are moved by the moon’s attractions; but for the spiritualist there awaited a sublimer discovery—that the sea of humanity is moved by the attraction of Spiritual Spheres.42

The force of that spiritual tractor beam reached Ebenezer Howard in the Windy City through the work of Cora Richmond, then a young emissary of the Hopedale community. Later, when Richmond went on a lecture tour to England in the 1880s, she paid a visit to Ebenezer Howard and told him, “You have a message to give to the world.”43

Howard’s Religious Self-Understanding

By his own account, Howard rejected Christian orthodoxy during his sojourn in Chicago. But later in life he came to appreciate the ethical content of Christianity, the “supreme value,” as he put it, “of Christ’s teaching in reference to those very social problems on which His teaching is generally so entirely disregarded, or treated as being absolutely impractical.”44 The message Howard had for the world, then, was informed by the ethical teachings of Christianity, but shorn of the orthodox doctrines of human sinfulness and divine grace. It was a message of hope based on his optimistic view of human potential and Victorian faith in the inevitability of progress.

His rejection of orthodoxy, however, did not prevent him from making use of the powerful redemptive imagery of the Bible to characterize the historic significance of the Garden City idea. After his 1893 address in Farringdon Hall on the idea of home colonies, he returned home and began to work out the plan of the Garden City on his kitchen table. But he did not call it the Garden City at that time. He called it the “New Jerusalem.”45 In his view, the Garden City was not just a modest experiment in town planning. Nor was it a small adjustment to the existing state of affairs. It was the first step toward an entirely new civilization characterized by peace, justice, harmony, and cooperation—in short, the Kingdom of God on earth. “Whoever examines the matter most closely,” Howard claims,

will recognize that in the shape of a new community, we are concerned with more than a mere technical improvement, a mere geometrical division in the laying out of the town plan. The town itself represents only the outer shell, the inward aim forms the kernel and the new spirit creates the new order.46

This point is re-enforced by his use of the key Old Testament figure of redemption. In one of his early drawings of the Garden City, he appended the phrase: “Let us go up and possess the land”— an exhortation given to the Hebrews at they were about to enter the land of milk and honey after years of wandering in the wilderness. The Garden City was to represent the redeemed destination of humankind.

Howard’s salfivic interpretation of the Garden City did not remain a private one. Once featured in a magazine called Social Service, Howard was described by S.L. Randolph as the “Moses of our time,” leading the working poor from the bondage of the industrial city to the promised land of Letchworth. “For Mr. Howard has certainly a clear view of the Will of God for the salvation socially of our race, a definite leading of the way out of our social and industrial Egypt.”47 Returning to the New Testament image at the conclusion of the article, the author states, “reformers everywhere recognise in the first Garden City and its daughter and sister schemes, the beginning of a ‘New Jerusalem.’”48

Cosmic Order and Evolutionary Progress

The biblical imagery captured the epochal significance Howard attributed to the Garden City idea. But the Garden City idea itself was drawn from other sources, sources explained best in terms of the metaphysics of spiritualism. Howard claimed once that the Garden City was not just an invention of his, the result of the free play of his imagination. It came to him rather in a moment of revelation. For “the idea exists in the spiritual atmosphere which envelopes and pervades the lives of us all . . .”49 When the idea came to him, it came as a “broken light of a larger thought at the very heart of things.”50 The Garden City, as Howard understood it, was the realization in the social realm of the objective cosmic order of things. In an address to the Alpha Union in Letchworth, 1910, Howard took up the question explicitly of whether the universe is so ordered and purposed that humankind could learn something of great importance from it. He believed that it was:

Now my thesis this morning is that the universe is held together by a great purpose, a mighty force, an all embracing wisdom, and that it is part of that purpose to teach us to perceive the purpose, to feel and respond to the love, and to be inspired by and to gather into our own beings the wisdom that pervades the Infinite Whole.51

Howard believed he had been taught to perceive this purpose, this unifying order of the universe as it pertains to the right ordering of human society. In his famous diagram of the three magnets, he shows how the Garden City achieves finally, for the first time in human history, a balance of the positive factors of town life and country life while excluding the negative factors. It overcomes the antithesis of agriculture and industry in a new synthesis that sets human life on a “higher plane of being.” Humankind erred first in one direction, in the typical rural settlement of small farms and isolated hamlets. Then it erred in the opposite direction, creating the huge, bloated conurbations typical of the industrial period. Now it is poised to hit upon the mean. The Kingdom of God arrives on earth when human society steps into the right mimetic relationship to the order, balance and harmony of the universe.

This “step,” however, takes time. The physical world as we know it today achieved its ordained order only after a long process of natural evolution. The social evolution of the human species got a later start and is only just now on the cusp of reaching its final configuration.

So I would say, True it is that in our small human sphere there is not complete order, that there is indeed much disorder yet in another and deeper sense order is the universal law; for just as surely out of yonder great mass of seething chaotic nebulas there will through the working of divine law come forth a system of sun and planets moving in orderly procession through the interstellar spaces, so out of the chaos of strife and confusion which we so often deplore, will arise, is now arising, and will arise yet more speedily if we work for it, a divine order of peace and righteousness—when all men will be as brothers, who looking back (as they will be able to look back), on the dark times in which we are now living, will say it was well that we passed through all that long night of pain and crime and war for now we know, as we could never otherwise have known the blessedness of peace and the way to ensure its continuance.52

The nature of the social evolution of the human species, of the transition from chaos to order, from the old order to the new, is, however, in Howard’s account somewhat ambiguous. Sometimes Howard represents it as if it were a gradual increase in practical wisdom. Being finite creatures endowed with free will, it is only to be expected that sometimes man would make unwise choices with evil results. But,

Such evil results would gradually develop in him a wiser and ever wiser choice, until at length, and by his own free will, aided by all the powers of the Universe, . . . he would establish within the realm [of] his mind and within the social realm which is implied in his mental states and the acts flowing therefrom an order as real and true and beautiful in a finite sense, as the order of the Universe in the infinite sense.53

Here history is represented as a long learning experience. Human choices are sometimes “unwise” and have evil results. But the evil results are not the result of evil intentions. Good-willed but unfortunately finite human beings have to follow a painful learning curve before they achieve a just and well-ordered society. Ill-adapted social systems inevitably will display their defects; new ones will be proposed. The problem is not so much sin as it is ignorance. This is cause for optimism: humankind is basically well intentioned; it need only learn by its mistakes. We all, he assumes, “believe most firmly in the coming of a brighter and happier social order.”54 Why?

We believe it because we believe in the essential unity of all things—we believe it because we believe that man is learning through his mistakes, through his failures, his difficulties, and defeats, to discipline and control himself, and self control practised universally by men who have also learned self knowledge and self [illegible] will lead in a direct line to the new social order.55

Yet in another, more Calvinistic mood, he characterizes the process of social evolution not as the incremental acquisition of knowledge, but as a qualitative change in moral orientation. The old order, which he associates with industrial capitalism, was evil—not as a result of a lack of experience or information, but because of human greed and selfishness. In the new order of collective ownership and social cooperation, however, human motivation changes suddenly for the better. The old order of industrial capitalism is ruled by the ideology of individualism, which maintains that society can be served by the free play of individuals each seeking the largest share of the world’s good for themselves. But this, Howard says, can only result in the “scramble that life is now.”56 The crowded industrial cities are, in his estimation, “the best which a society based on selfishness and rapacity could construct.”57 State socialism, which Howard rejects as well, attempts to deal with this problem by overruling human selfishness through coercion, regulation and control.58 Social-individualism, the new synthesis that Howard wishes to recommend, reconciles individualism and socialism. But it does so on the basis of a prior transformation of human nature—when individuals seek freely the social good rather than their own good at the expense of others. Social-individualism recognizes that

[T]he Kingdom of Heaven is within each of us—and that if each of us are [sic] seeking that kingdom then the interaction of individuals (animated as we then must be by a desire for social well-being) will gradually bring about the highest form of social life—will lead us naturally and inevitably into every form of cooperative endeavor.59

In Social-individualism, the individual is free, as in the laissez-faire arrangement of industrial capitalism, and yet the societal goals of state socialism are met without coercion.

Social-individualism is a state of society in which manufacture, trade, industry, professional life, are carried on by individuals or groups of individuals who are as far as possible free from the need of governmental or other external control or regulation because they recognise to the fullest degree, as the inmost law of their being that their truest realest interests as individuals are to be found in those activities which promote the health and welfare of Society.60

On the second account of social evolution, human nature itself is somehow transformed. How is this to happen? If the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth is not just a matter of smart growth, but a radical reorientation of the human will, then what is to bring about this change? What is the agent of redemption? The problem was stated succinctly in a 1908 letter from Alonzo Griffin, Howard’s American friend from Chicago:

My notion is that society is largely subject to evolutionary processes, and that as the people get more and more enlightened, morally and intellectually, they will seek higher and better methods politically and socially. The one thing needed, as I view it, is the moral element . . .The trouble is, there is too much selfishness in all things . . . Altruism, I believe, is the true religion; but how to imbue all people with the idea is the question.61

To answer that question, we must turn again to a consideration of the Garden City—this time with an emphasis on the garden.

Nature as Mediator between God and Humankind

The Garden City is surrounded by an agricultural greenbelt. At its center lies a public garden. Each house is furnished with a private garden. The houses are setback from the street. The streets themselves are tree-lined. Initially it may appear as if the picturesque plan of the city is somewhat superficial, at least in comparison to the radical proposal for the cooperative ownership of the land. But as it turns out, the plan is the most significant and metaphysically profound element of the Garden City idea, for it is designed to reconnect humanity with Nature and, in Howard’s estimation, the redemptive powers of Nature.

The key problem of our age, Howard writes in Garden Cities of ToMorrow, is “how to restore the people to the land . . . the very embodiment of Divine love for man.” The connection to nature, once re-established, will serve as a kind of portal, through which will “pour a flood of light on the problems of intemperance, of excessive toil, of restless anxiety, of grinding poverty . . . and even the relations of man to the Supreme Power.”62 The Garden City, with its central provisions for nature, will lead humankind back to “the bosom of our kindly mother earth, at once the source of life, of happiness, of wealth, and of power.”63 The right order in horizontal relationships is achieved through the cooperative ownership of the land; but the right vertical relationship to the supreme power of the universe is based upon an intimate connection with the land. And in fact the horizontal will work only if the vertical is in place. Only then will our inner being be restored. Then this restoration will find expression in the cooperative nature of our relations with others.

The town is the symbol of society—of mutual help and friendly co-operation, of fatherhood, of motherhood, brotherhood, sisterhood, of wide relations between man and man—of broad expanding sympathies—of science, art, culture, religion . . . The country is the symbol of God’s love and care for man. All that we have and all that we are comes from it . . . It is the source of all health, all wealth, all knowledge. But its fullness of joy and wisdom has not revealed itself to man. Nor can it ever, so long as this unholy, unnatural separation of society and nature endures. Town and country must be married, and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilization.64

The name “Garden City” was not chosen thoughtlessly, or as a clever marketing device. It reflects Howard’s metaphysic of redemption. In the industrial city we have lost our connection to nature, and thus our connection to the primal source of positive spiritual energies. That connection is regained not in the preaching and practices of the Christian church, but in the encounter with Nature. Nature, not Christ, is the primary mediator between God and humankind. George Cadbury, of Cadbury’s Chocolate fame, who established the benevolent factory town of Bournville just outside of Liverpool in 1894, expressed succinctly the conviction concerning the restorative powers of nature that Howard took to the extreme. In Bournville, each working family was provided with a private garden, and gardening was compulsory.

Through my experience among the back streets of Birmingham I have been brought to the conclusion that it is impossible to raise a nation, morally, physically, and spiritually in such surroundings, and that the only effective way to bring men out of the cities into the country was to give every man his garden where he can come into touch with nature and thus know more of nature’s God.65

Cities of Redemption

The world was not transformed by the Garden City movement. The natural elements of the town plan did not have the redemptive effect on human nature that, naively, Howard expected. Soon the integrated plan of the Garden City was detached from its social program and used later—in fragmentary form—to create Garden Suburbs. The two Garden Cities in which Howard had a direct hand—Letchworth and Welwyn—proved to be disappointments. As George Bernard Shaw predicted, the private investors in the joint-stock company that owned the land treated the investment as just that: an investment.66 They sought a good return for themselves, not the transformation of society. In 1934, the 5% cap on return had to be lifted to attract more investors, thus reducing the amount of profit that could ber eturned to the community; long-term fixed-rate land rental agreements had to be arranged in order to attract industry, thus preventing the regular increase in land rents that was to serve as support for the infrastructure. The working class lived in housing markedly below the standards of the middle class; and between the two classes there was a continued air of mutual suspicion and cultural conflict. Howard’s experiment in cooperative housing at Letchworth failed. And in 1962 it took a special act of Parliament to prevent the Letchworth joint-stock company from selling the entire freehold of the estate for a handsome profit.67 Today the social statistics for Letchworth—tracking crime, divorce, delinquency and the like—are in line with similarly sized towns across the face of England.68 Instead of a self-sufficient town,Welwyn has become more a commuter suburb of London for middle-class professionals. Historian Stanley Buder summed up the moral of the Garden City story well when he wrote that planners “can design for efficiency, convenience, attractiveness, and even to discourage (or at least make more difficult) antisocial behavior, but the planned community alone cannot be expected to elevate morals or raise civic loyalty.”69

I have tried to show, or at least suggest, in this study that religious convictions had an important role to play in the origins of a twentieth-century town-planning movement that will have a growing influence on the American scene as conventional suburban development reaches a point of exhaustion and New Urbanist ideas move into the mainstream of the American planning profession. The plan and formula for American New Urbanist communities draw substantial inspiration from the principles of the English Garden City. The English Garden City, in turn, was a comprehensive social reform movement modeled on intentional Christian communities typical of religious dissenter groups in both England and America. As we have seen, the redemptive powers of urban form alone were overrated vastly by the spiritual progressivism that drove the Garden City movement. Perhaps some supporters of New Urbanism today suffer from the same misplaced optimism. Here, it seems, Christian orthodoxy can offer a timely corrective. For people of faith, good physical design for the human community is not the agent of redemption. That role is reserved for the person of Christ, encountered in the word and sacraments of the church. But good physical design is, nonetheless, an expression of redemption, a constitutive good of embodied human life redeemed and made whole. Granted, prior to the coming of the Kingdom in its fullness, such expressions always will be fragile and fragmentary. Nonetheless, they are valuable intimations of a new creation, of a future that takes us forward to the New Jerusalem. Good town planning may not be able to bring about a redeemed state of affairs; but it is undeniably part of a redeemed state of affairs.

At a meeting of the Garden City Association at Letchworth in 1910, G. K.Chesterton defended the Garden City idea against the charge that it was only a passing fad. He suggested instead that the industrial city should be seen as a passing fad. Modern conditions and methods “seem to be the result of the pursuit of a single idea to the exclusion of everything else, and the Garden City, in comparison, represents the ideal of sanity and the ideal of an all-round life.”70 The ideal of an all-round life, of a city capable of supporting a genuinely good life on the part of all its citizens—that is an ideal worth striving for, and worth giving thanks for even in its partial realizations. It may not be the source of redemption, but it is a sign of the redemption for which communities of faith wait, and for which they must work.

Cite this article
Lee Hardy, “Nature and Nature’s God: The Religious Background of the Garden City Movement”, Christian Scholar’s Review, 38:4 , 435-456


  1. For biographies of Ebenezer Howard that pay attention to the spiritualist connection, seeStanley Buder, Visionaries & Planners (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990) and StandishMeacham, Regaining Paradise (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).
  2. Ruth Eckdish Knack, “Garden Cities: Ebenezer Howard Had a Point,” Planning 64 (June1998): 8.
  3. Alex Krieger, “Since (and before) Seaside,” in Towns and Town-making Principles, AndresDuany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (New York: Rizzoli, 1991), 16.
  4. Ibid.,12.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Clarence Stein, Toward New Towns for America (New York: Reinhold, 1957), 19.
  7. Clarence Perry, Housing in the Machine Age (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1939), 50.
  8. Ibid., 79.
  9. Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Robert Alminana, The New Civic Art (NewYork: Rizzoli, 2003), 369.
  10. B. R. Mitchell, British Historical Statistics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988),11-13 and 25, 26.

  11. John Nelson Tarn, “Housing Reform and the Emergence of Town Planning in Britain before1914,” in The Rise of Modern Urban Planning, ed. Anthony Sutcliff (New York: St. MartinsPress, 1980), 90.
  12. In fact, the original title for Howard’s book was “To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Re-form,” published in October of 1898. The text was re-issued, with slight revisions, in 1902under the title by which it is now known, “Garden Cities of To-Morrow.”
  13. Ebenezer Howard, “The Originator of the Garden City,” Garden Cities and Town Planning 16(July 1926): 133.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ebenezer Howard, unpublished manuscript, EHo, F 10, Hertfordshire County Archives. Iwould like to thank the staff at the Hertfordshire County Library, Hertford, England, fortheir kind assistance in working with Howard’s manuscripts.
  16. Ebenezer Howard, “Spiritual Influences Towards Social Progress,” Light 30 (April 1910):195.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Peter Kropotkin, Brotherhood, December 14, 1896, 128.
  19. James Silk Buckingham, National Evils and Practical Remedies, With the Plan of a Model Town(London: Peter Jackson, 1849), 132.
  20. Ibid., 19.
  21. Ibid., 102.
  22. Ibid., 93.
  23. Ibid., 107.
  24. Ibid., 152.
  25. Ibid., 153.
  26. Thomas Spence, The Rights of Man, as Exhibited in a Lecture Read at the Philosophical Society inNewcastle (London, 1793), 3, as quoted in Robert Beevers, The Garden City Utopia: A CriticalBiography of Ebenezer Howard (New York: MacMillan Press, 1988), 21.
  27. Ibid., 22.
  28. Ibid., 24.
  29. Edward K. Spann, Hopedale: From Commune to Company Town 1840-1920 (Columbus: OhioState University Press, 1992), 1.
  30. Ibid., 14.
  31. Ibid., 17.
  32. Ibid.
  33. H. D. Barrett, ed., The Life Work of Cora L. V. Richmond (Chicago: Hack and Anderson, 1895),71.
  34. Spann, Hopedale, 24.
  35. Adin Ballou, Practical Christian Socialism: A Conversational Exposition of the True System ofHuman Society (New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1854), 28.
  36. Barrett, The Life Work, 68.
  37. Adin Ballou, History of the Hopedale Community (Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1972),1.
  38. Spann, Hopedale, 34.

  39. Buder, Visionaries, 10-13.
  40. Ibid., 5.
  41. Ibid.
  42. B. J. Butts, “The Man of Content,” The Practical Christian, May 7, 1853, quoted in Spann,Hopedale, 144.
  43. Ebenezer Howard, “The Originator of the Garden City Idea,” 133.
  44. Ebenezer Howard, “Spiritual Influences,” 207.
  45. Buder, Visionaries, 4.
  46. Ebenezer Howard, “The New Community,” unpublished manuscript D/EHo F 10, Hertford-shire County Archives.
  47. S. L. Randolph, “Social Servants,” Social Service 63 (July 1909): 145.
  48. Ibid., 147.
  49. Howard, “Spiritual Influences,” 208.
  50. Ibid., 196.
  51. Ebenezer Howard, “Unity,” unpublished manuscript D/EHo F 20, Hertfordshire CountyArchives.
  52. Ibid., 18-20.
  53. 3Ibid., 17-18.
  54. Ibid., 20.
  55. Ibid., 21.
  56. Ebenezer Howard, “Social-Individualism,” unpublished manuscript D/EHo F 20,Hertfordshire County Archives, 1.
  57. Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965), 146
  58. Howard, “Social-Individualism,” 1.
  59. Ibid., 1-2.
  60. Ibid., 1.
  61. Alonzo Griffen, letter to Ebenezer Howard, April 19, 1908, unpublished manuscript D/EHo F 25, Hertfordshire County Archives.
  62. Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow, 44.
  63. 3Ibid., 46.
  64. Ibid., 48.
  65. A. G. Gardiner, Life of George Cadbury (London: Cassell and Company, 1923), 121. I do notmean here to suggest that this singular statement represents the full scope of Cadbury’stheology. Cadbury was a Quaker. But the statement does point with some eloquence to adivine connection in nature in which Howard was inclined to find a sufficient source ofredemptive power.
  66. 6In a 20-page letter to Ralph Neville, chairman of the Garden City Association, 1901. SeeBeevers, Garden City Utopia, 73-77.
  67. Peter Hall and Colin Ward, Sociable Cities (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998), 39.

  68. Robert Lancaster (Director of the First Garden City Heritage Museum, Letchworth) in con-versation with the author, April 2005.
  69. Buder, Visionaries, 210
  70. G. K. Chesterton, “The Blessings of Abuse,” The Garden City 1.2 (February 1902): 5.

Lee Hardy

Calvin University
Mr. Hardy is professor of philosophy at Calvin College.