Page:Garden Cities.djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
14
GARDEN CITIES

For the future we must form a clear perception of what we want to attain, and the conditions favourable to its attainment, and these we must spare no effort to secure. Now with regard to the distribution of the population upon the land what is it that we want? Do we want large tracts of sparsely inhabited land, where agriculture languishes and the population ever decreases on the one hand, and overcrowded centres where manufacture proceeds at the physical expense of the nation on the other hand? This is what we have got, and it is admittedly unsatisfactory. The towns already too large are continually increasing without regard to the advantage of the country as a whole. Amorphous masses of seething humanity put to shame by the domestic policy of the ant and the bee. Surely human intelligence is not incapable of devising some better way of utilising the land for the benefit of its inhabitants. If old towns are incapable of adequate improvement why not provide for the overflow and increase of the population by new towns—new towns not growing up haphazard as they do now, the owner of every plot pursuing his own advantage without thought or care for the appearance, comfort or convenience of the town as a whole—but new towns built on a definite plan for a definite purpose? There is plenty of land available. Let no one talk of England as overpopulated until he has calculated the population it would hold if that population were uniformly distributed at five to the acre, not an excessive number.

Let us consider the requirements for such a scheme of distribution. In the first place the land upon which the town is to be built must obviously be in the hands of one central organising body. Secondly that body must hold not only the land upon which the town is to be built, but a sufficiency of the surrounding land to prevent the model town from being encroached upon by irresponsible