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Physical Planning Assignment

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The Malawi Polytechnic Faculty of Built Environment BSc in Land Economy BLE 2
Introduction to Physical Planning Assignment 1
Submitting to: From Reg No S. Zuka : Alick Mazuza : BLE/13/ME/003

Due 9th September 2014

ASSESSMENT OF EBENEZER HOWARD’S, GARDEN CITY IDEAS AND ITS APPLICATION OF MODERN PLANNING In generic perspective, origination of every development and growth of this world starts with ideas and theories, brought by some researchers and great thinkers in the World. Orientation of development and growth of Towns and Cities is based upon the Planning concepts, in order to balance up the socio-economic needs and the beauty of the country. City and town entails planning a future community or the guidance and shaping of the present community in an organized manner and with an organized layout, taking into account such considerations as conveniences for its inhabitants, environmental conditions, social requirements, and recreational facilities. Ebenezer Howard is the least known and most influential, who given Modern Urban Planning theory and practices a push in the right direction, making what seemed like being light years away a reality of not just great architectural feats. In his tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898, now known under the title of the 1902 Garden cities of tomorrow), Howard expressed his ideas. He outlined the overcrowding, dirt, disease and poverty of the city, the monetary of the suburbs and the isolation of the countryside and offers a solution that seems too simple to be true to build new cities with the country within them. This would be of necessity that attract people from city at which point the country could re-enter the city with the slums replaced by parks and garden. Howard ideas were concerned with explosive growth of cities which he considered ‘ulcers on the very face of our beautiful island’. He put forward the garden city and the countryside. So powerful was this idea that it has dominated much of the thinking about cities for the intervening hundreds years. As we approach the end of another century we are still struggling with the implications of growth. However today the growth is not in population but households, it is being driven not so much by housing need as housing demand, and the pressure is being belt not in cities but in the countryside. New visions are now required if we are to accommodate household growth while making settlements more sustainable-a peaceful path to urban reform. Howard’s ideal Garden city would be located on a 6,000 acres tract of land currently used for agriculture purposes only. It would be privately owned by a small group of individuals, this


company in retaining ownership would retain control of land use. Revenue, to pay off the mortgage and to fund the city, would be raised solely by rents. Private industry would be encouraged to rent and to use space in the town. Only a fraction of the tracts land would be built upon by the town’s 30,000 inhabitants, the rest would be used for agricultural and recreational purposes. At the center of the city would lay a garden ringed with the civic and cultural complex including the city hall, a concert hall, museum, theaters, library and hospital. Six broad main avenues would radiate from this center. Concentric to this urban core would be a park, a combination shopping center and conservatory, a residential area, and then at the center edge industry. Traffic would move along avenues extending along the radii and concentric boulevards. Howard had to provide a justification of the case for new towns (Garden cities) that could be readily understood by practical men without much knowledge of economics. He did so in the famous diagram of the ‘Three magnets’ which in fact is an extremely compressed and brilliant statement of planning objectives. In this, Howard wanted that both existing cities and the existing countryside had an indissoluble mixture of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of the city were the opportunities if offered in the form of accessibility to jobs and urban services of all kinds. The disadvantages could be summed up in the poor resulting natural environment. Conversely, the countryside offered an excellent environment but virtually no opportunities of any sort.

Presentation of the diagram proposed the creation of new suburban towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agriculture land. These Garden cities were used as the model for many suburbs. Howard believed that such Garden cities were the perfect blend of city and nature and also civilization could be found by marrying the town and the country. The towns would be largely independent, managed by the citizens who had an economic interest in them and financed by ground rents. While many believe the diagrams and designs in Howard’s Garden cities to be physical plan for the perfect Garden city, Howard notes these to be merely suggestive as each city should be planned to be organized as per needs of the people and their environment. Application of this concept to Modern Planning has been demonstrated in many new cities and countries since 20th and 21st century. In Malawi, we can pick Lilongwe in its development. Lilongwe was named after Lilongwe River and it has existed for centuries as a small village with a Trading centre. It had 503,000 population in 1903.During the British colonial period in the Beginning of the 20th century, Lilongwe was chosen a British colonial administrate center due to its desirable geography. According to this information one would definitely appreciate that Planning of Lilongwe that it was adopted from the British Government which reflect obviously adoption Howard’s ideas in planning. In 1975, Lilongwe City Council was established being the Authority Council or Company that controls all rents and service provision, this is in line with a picture of Garden City, Howard had that there will be a small group of individual as a controlling Company, in retaining ownership, retain control of land use and that will fund the City services. The element of having industries in Kanengo and away from central town is one of manifestation that Howard planning ideas were adopted in planning the city of Lilongwe. This has also reduced over-crowding in some areas near to town as a lot of people have moved to areas close to this industrial area. For example; Area 25 and 51.This corresponds to the ‘Three magnet diagram’, where in first years of development of Lilongwe city people were flocking much to central areas of the town; for wages, status and other opportunities. Recently people have realized that low rents, fresh air and natural beauty are better present in the circumferences of the Town. That is why nowadays we can witness big mansion in Chitipi, Lumbadzi and along Bunda road.


The Central shopping Area Lilongwe has, is another application of Howard’s concept to modern planning. Lilongwe

Mall -2011 and City more has been built at the Centre of Lilongwe where people would accessibly move with linked public transportation available, offers
Figure 1:Lilongwe Mall-Capital City Lilongwe






Lilongwe is divided into the Old Town (to the South) and the New Town (to the North) with the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary between the two. The Old Town is built around the former village of Lilongwe, while the New Town (also called City Centre or Capital City).This fulfils the prediction of Ebenezer Howard he had in his Book; A Peaceful Path to Real Reform.
Iit la Z

Several modern cities in UK and USA based on these concepts (Radburn,New Jersey, USA Reston, Virginia USA, Letchworth (UK) and Welwyn (UK), and other Cities in Africa have a vivid demonstration of Howard ideas as we can witness the layouts and The Garden City movements concept. Of course, the author was not expert in any of these fields. What he is experts in is the discipline of town planning. For them Howard is an important founding Father in helping to create this discipline, the actual contribution of Howard may not have influenced the world, but he certainly influenced the discipline of town planning (Hall, Peter and Ward, Colin 1998). We should give onto Caesar what belongs to him, indeed the work of Ebenezer Howard and to Modern Urban Planning theory and practices has paved the way for a renewed and interesting future in Modern Urban Planning.


Council, L. C. (2013). Lilongwe City http// Council. Retrieved from

Hall, P. (2002). Urban and Regional Planning (4th ed.). Routledge. Hall, P. a. (1998). Colin 1998 Sociable Cities: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard, John Wiley & Sons ( ed.). Hatheley, O. (1998). Revolution In the Garden Cities. Garden Cities of To-morrow and Garden Suburbs of Yestaday. John W. Reps, P. E. (2002, November 27). URBAN PLANNING,1794-1918. Retrieved from http// Rhiney, D. K. (2012). Origins Of Urban Plannning. Rudlin, D. (1998). Tomorrow: A peaceful Path t Urban Reform.


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