Page:Garden Cities.djvu/25

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16
GARDEN CITIES

The most important point of all, the difference in the life of the child of the Garden City and of the slum child, I need not dilate upon; it will appeal to all. On the other hand the choice of agricultural labour will no longer involve the dullness of country life. The agricultural labourer will be able to share the advantages of town life with the mechanic. I am convinced that the redistribution of the people upon the land would do more to transform the members of the working class than any other conceivable alteration of the conditions under which they live. It is not generally recognised, or indeed I think adequately realised by any of us, what effect healthy bringing up and healthy conditions of life have upon a man, or the extent of the evils induced by want of fresh air and insufficient out of door exercise. We are apt to imagine that the symptomatic pain and discomfort which we recognise as resulting from particular diseases are the beginning and end of the matter. In my belief it is far otherwise. Unhealthy appetites are largely dependent upon the conditions of life and the habits induced by them.

But to return to the Garden City. In the case of existing towns the high value of the building sites are due to two causes. To some extent no doubt the value of the land has been increased by expenditure, but this bears but small proportion to the total value. The main increase is the result of the demand arising from the competition occasioned by the aggregation of the inhabitants. In other words, as was long ago pointed out by John Stuart Mill, the increment in value realised by the owners of town lands is largely if not entirely unearned. It is this unearned increment which forms the financial basis of the Garden City scheme.

If a town be started upon land where no town previously existed the owners of that land will find the value very