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Ebenezer Howard

Ebenezer Howard (1850 - 1928) was a prominent British urban planner.

Howard came to America from England at the age of 21, moved to Nebraska, and soon discovered that he was not meant to be a farmer. He moved to Chicago and worked as a reporter for the courts and newspapers. By 1876 he was back in England, where he found a job with a firm producing the official Parliamentary reports, and he spent the rest of his life in this occupation.

Howard read widely and thought deeply about social issues, and one result was his book (1898) titled To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, reprinted in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-Morrow. This book called for the creation of new suburban towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agricultural land. These Garden cities were used as a role model for many suburbs. Howard believed that such Garden Cities were the perfect blend of city and nature.

His ideas attracted enough attention and financial backing to begin Letchworth, a garden city in suburban London. A second garden city, Welwyn, was started after World War I. These towns led to the development of "New Townss" after World War II by the British government. This movement produced more than 30 communities, most significantly perhaps Milton Keynes. His ideas also inspired other planners such as Frederick Law Olmstead II and Clarence Perry.