Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Urban plodding

A reader forwards us an entry in Strange Maps that provides a glimpse into the combined social engineering and regimentation ambitions of early urban planning (click image for larger view).

From the description in Strange Maps:
The map was drawn up by Sir Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), the father of the garden city movement. Howard believed the living conditions of the poor, huddled masses cramped together in giant, insalubrious cities could be improved by combining the best aspects of town and country and carefully allocating space to housing, industry and agriculture.

[…] the garden city movement didn’t quite achieve what it set out to do. Its laudable motives and egalitarian vision contrast with the often depressing artificiality of ‘garden cities’, and the fact that they merely function as dormitories to the larger cities they so often adjoin.
If the motivations seem familiar to those of contemporary planning, so do the unintended results. Otherwise, the grandeurs of symmetry seem to have been tempered by experience, but Londoners at least will recognize the regulated concentration of social services … even if we've come up with nicer names than "Insane Asylum," "Home for Inebriates," "Homes for Waifs," and the "Epileptic Farms."


Anonymous said...

I surely hope that this is not the first time that you have seen this image/map. It is one of the very staples of planning theory from across the globe

MapMaster said...

I'd never had the fortune to come across the map before myself, but tracing its lineage into modern planning isn't difficult even without the benefits of planning theory education.

Richard said...

A perfect balance of theology and geometry.