Howard's Social City
Ebenezer Howard proposed that garden cities of 30,000 should be linked by electric railways passing through the countryside between the settlements, combining into a social city of 250,000 with all the amenities of a large city plus easy access to the rural environment necessary for healthy living.
But when he wrote the UK population was 40M and the interwar sprawl of towns had not occurred. Today there are no open tracts of land which would accommodate a new city of ¼ million without impacting on its neighbours.
ConnectedCities realise Howard’s vision of the social city by creating clusters of towns that together combine the resources of a city with easy access to open countryside. They utilise under-used rail lines to unite their towns into a thriving city.
Denser development around existing stations, together with new stations surrounded by compact new settlements, create a self-contained ConnectedCity in which most people live just a short walk and brief train ride from all the resources of commerce, entertainment, healthcare, education, etc. All growth occurs in the walkable ‘pedsheds’ of stations.
ConnectedCities provide the benefits of cities yet preserve the individuality of existing towns and villages by linking them together for their mutual advantage.
The views of developers and conservationists are often diametrically opposed. ConnectedCities provides common ground. It is in favour of urbanisation in appropriate locations and opposed to remote urban extensions. It accepts that new neighbourhoods and new towns will be needed, but insists that they are sustainable and coherent, with excellent public transport by a choice of modes.
The decsion to become a ConnectedCity is not imposed from above, but made by the local population - only if they choose to do so.
Growth is accommodated not by extending our already sprawling cities and towns, but by preserving and integrating the existing pattern of small settlements in the countryside.