Ebenezer Howard imagined his social city as a cluster of new garden cities in the countryside linked by new railways. ConnectedCities uses the idea to rationalise the settlement structure around existing railways. They are modelled on Howard’s social city, but are not built from scratch; they are a blend of what is already there and new sustainable development.
Howard's Social City diagram showing towns linked by 'Inter Municipal Railways'
ConnectedCity diagram showing towns linked by existing railways but with no station more than 15 minutes travel from the hub town
Vision from 2050
There are hundreds of ConnectedCities throughout the country. They vary in size from under 50,000 to more than a million.
Each ConnectedCity is a group of towns in the countryside linked by frequent rail services. The city centre in the largest town plays a key role in the federation’s prosperity. Here are the central transport interchange (the hub), on which public transport converges, and many of the commercial and cultural developments that contribute to the city’s success. The other towns are no more than 15 minutes travel from the hub and each contibutes its unique ‘offer’ to the city. Together they prosper.
Unlike Howard’s social city, most ConnectedCities already had the transport infrastructure they needed. Howard suggested a population of 250,000, with 60,000 in a central city. In a ConnectedCity the central city role is played by towns of many sizes. In place of Howard’s six “spokes” a ConnectedCity has inter-town transport routes running outwards from the hub, with connected towns on each.
The ConnectedCity’s new green towns are similar to Howard’s garden cities, but in place of Howard’s wards and green rings they have villages separated by a green infrastructure network.
Howard had all the industrial premises in his garden cities served by orbital railways, whereas a ConnectedCity’s employment land is usually located beside the existing railway.
Howard’s public transport allowed workers to live in one garden city and work in another; but he did not expect them to travel further. Some commuters in 2050 still travel far to work, but public transport competes effectively with the car. Inter-town routes serving a ConnectedCity also connect it with its neighbours, and provide journeys to many other destinations including the metropolis. routes serving a ConnectedCity also connect it with its neighbours, and provide journeys to many other destinations including the metropolis.