Innovation, the Agricultural Belt, and the Early Garden City


The emergence of the Garden City movement, inspired by Ebenezer Howard’s book To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), subsequently published as Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902), would have an enormous impact on future urban development and town- planning worldwide (e.g., Parsons and Schuyler 2002, 78; Ward 1992; Cooke 1978). Lewis Mumford claimed that the two most important inventions of the early twentieth century were the airplane and the Garden City (Mumford 1960). The Garden City model in many ways represents the antithesis to the historic city, as a model derived from smaller rural communities with a defined size, low densities, and a wealth of green space. Many subsequent urban models have expanded upon, altered, and diverged from Howard’s ideas. The Gar- den City has radically challenged the expectation that a city is a dense, vibrant, and largely hard-landscaped environment. In fact, urban environments developed over the last half-century have in many cases been dispersed, low-intensity, and soft-landscaped environments, resulting in substantial changes to the way cities are constructed, managed, and inhabited.

About the Author

Graham Livesey is a Professor and Associate Dean (Academic – Architecture) in the Master of Architecture Program (Faculty of Environmental Design) at the University of Calgary where he teaches design, architectural history, and urban design theory. He holds BArch and MArch degrees from McGill University, and a doctorate from the Technical University of Delft. Previously he was a principal of Down + Livesey Architects, and he has served with a wide range of organizations, including the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the Alberta Association of Architects. He is currently the chair of the Council of Canadian University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA). He has undertaken research in the areas of modern architecture and contemporary urbanism, and has published a number of books. He is presently co-editing a 4-volume anthology of writings on Le Corbusier for Routledge, and is co-editing a book on Canadian architecture since 1967 for Princeton Architectural Press.