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Howard's Social City


Ebenezer Howard imagined his social city as a cluster of new garden cities in the countryside, but largely ignored what was already there. ConnectedCities used the social city idea to rationalise the settlement structure and make cities and towns more prosperous and sustainable.


Vision from 2050

Unlike Howard’s social city, most ConnectedCities already had the transport infrastructure they needed. 

Howard suggested a population of 250,000, with 60,000 in a central city. In a ConnectedCity the central city role is played by towns of many sizes.  

In place of Howard’s six “spokes” a ConnectedCity has inter-town transport routes running outwards from the hub, with connected towns on each.

The ConnectedCity’s new green towns are similar to Howard’s garden cities, but in place of Howard’s wards and green rings they have villages separated by a green infrastructure network. 

Howard had all the industrial premises in his garden cities served by orbital railways, whereas a ConnectedCity's employment land is usually located alongside an inter-town route.

Howard's public transport allowed workers to live in one garden city and work in another; but he did not expect them to travel further. Today’s commuters may travel far to work, but public transport competes effectively with the car. Inter-town routes serving a ConnectedCity also connect it with its neighbours, and provide journeys to many other destinations including the metropolis. 

 Howard's Social City diagram