Page:Garden Cities.djvu/24

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15
GARDEN CITIES

persons. These conditions satisfied, we have in a nutshell the principle of the Garden City originally advocated by Mr. Ebenezer Howard in his book entitled "To-morrow." The benefits calculated to arise, from the the laying out and formation, of a town upon a definite plan from the first, are too obvious to need explanation, but when coupled with the ownership of the land in the vicinity of the town site, the advantages are greater than at first sight appear. A local authority thus equipped can control the size of the town by rigidly adhering to the original plan, and can approximately control the density of the population, by limiting the number of houses to be erected per acre, but in addition, a double advantage will be secured by the retention of the surrounding belt of agricultural land, for not only will the health of the industrial inhabitants of the town be ensured, as far as abundance of fresh air can ensure it, but the proportion of the population employed in agriculture will be increased, by providing an adequate local market for the consumption of what I may call the smaller agricultural industries such as the production of milk, fruit, poultry and vegetables. These smaller industries, some of them requiring spade labour, employ a large number of hands.

Now assume a distribution of the population to have taken place under the conditions indicated, and contrast the position of the working man and his family under the old conditions and under the new. If he be engaged in mechanical industry instead of living in slums or tenements, his principal recreation being found in the public-house or music-hall, he will live in a cottage in a town having immediate access to fresh country air. He can if he wishes it have a garden sufficient to occupy his leisure, and to return him a little profit in addition to his wage, or if he prefers them outdoor amusements will be ready to his hand. Beyond his actual working hours no part of his day need be spent within doors.