The idea of limiting the population of cities has been recorded as far back as Spartan tirnes, but it was Plato1 who suggested the fir st ab solute figure for optimum size, which was 5, 040 families, excluding slaves. This nurnber is the product of multiplying all numbers from one to seven, and sois divisible by every number up to ten, and also by twelve. Plato thought it a good number from the administrative point of view, since the populace could be readily divided up into groups of any size for different activities.

 

His ideal location was ten to twelve m.iles from the sea with no other city near it, and with sufficient local resources to support it, but not too great an abundance, since this would pron10te a large foreign trade and cause too many foreigner s to take up residence, and so disturb its social balance. He suggested that the city be divided into twelve neighbourhoods, and that subdivision of land amongst the inhabitants was to be arranged so that each citizen was to receive an equal share of fertile land in the centre and poor land on the margins.

 

Aristotle  also gave some thought to the siting and design of ideal cities. He was less idealistic than Plato and conceived a city situated on the coast to promote health and trade, and near a river to ensure a constant water supply. He visualized a combination of Hippodarnus 1 s grid plan with irregular streets so as to confuse enemies in times of attack. It is thought that Aristotle owed son1e of his ideas on cities to Hippodamus, whose work he recorded in the Politics.

 

The Roman concept of a new town was primarily a fortress from which colonization was effected, their policy being annexation fir st, and the subjugation of the native population second. In Britain the Romans founded the first true towns, since at the time of the invasion there was probably little more than tribal organisation in the country. The towns were usually built to a rectangular plan, the surrounding walls forming the main fortifications, and the internal layout a chess board pattern of military precision. Many of the Roman forts of Britain grew into towns, and some, such as Chester, Lincoln, Colchester, Canterbury, London and Chichester retain their importance today.

 

The most notable new towns of the Middle Ages were the “bastide s 111 , built in the latter half of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in France. These towns were also at first primarily fortresses, sited for strategie reasons and designed to be defended. They were generally fairly small, and walled and ditched. The street pattern was rectilineal, the major ones opening out to fortified gates in the wall. The centre of the bastide was laid out as a market square, usually dominated by a church and town hall. Examples of such towns are Cadillac, Montpazier, St. Clar, and Vianne. In England at the same time Edward I was having castles built at strategie points to contain the Welsh. Castles were introduced into England with the Norman Conquest as a necessity to hold down the newly conquered and usually hostile population. However, eventually their functions extended far beyond that of a fortress, and they became centres of local government and administration through the aegis of their Lords.

 

The activities of Edward I in building castles at such strategie places as Beaumaris, Criccieth, Conway, Harlech, Caernarvon and Flint, and the deliberate policy of encouraging the growth of towns at such places as Flint and Rhuddlan, also for strategie reasons, gave Britain her Medieval new towns. The federal motive in planning new towns in the middle ages was strong not only for strategie reasons, but also for mutual benefit in trade and commerce. Bruges became the centre of twenty-four associated towns between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

 

The same federal motives brought into being the powerful Hanseatic and Lombard leagues in the thirteenth century. The founding of new towns had the dual purpose of mutual interdependent support and provided the means for preserving the internal organic structure of the parent cities. These same motives persisted throughout the Renaissance and prompted Leonardo da Vinci 1 s scheme for ten satellite towns for Milan. The Renaissance also brought to light the writings of Vetruvius, introducing the town plans of an ideal classical city to a civilization anxious to assimilate the culture of the classical past. The influence of these plans 1 on such designers as Alberti, Martini, Scamozzi and Vasari was marked in their productions of geometrically perfect plans of ideal cities, based on polygons, stars or circles. One such city that was built, was Palma Nuova, laid out in 159 3 by Scamozzi in the form of a star with a fortified tower in the middle rep1acing Vetruvius idea of a temple.

 

A more famous Renaissance contribution to the concept of the ideal city was put forward by Sir Thomas More by means of a 6 comparative satirical description of an ideal state, Utopia, and Britain at that time. More 1 s Utopia strongly foreshadows the garden city pattern postulated by Howard. He imagined a state with fifty-four towns strictly limited in size, at least twenty miles apart, with one central city two miles square. The inhabitants of the towns were to be familiar with farming, and the farmers were to visit the town each month. He makes a strong point of the populace of the towns having easy contact with the country, in particular the children.

 

A spa te of literary utopias followed the publication of More 1 s book. 2 Bacon (1561-1626}, Hobbes (1588-1679). Filmer {d.l653) and Rousseau (1712-1778} to name a few, each contributed their ideas of an ideal state. Cecil Stewart3 comments 11 When one looks back from the vantage point of a twentieth century observer, one realises that the Utopians failed because they did not take sufficiently into account the ordinary human failings.

 

Their tragedy was not that they were irrational, for they were much tao rational; they tried to create a setting for sane people in a world that was becoming les s concerned with sanity and more concerned with sanitation. It was not without significance that the eighteenth century saw the invention of the fir st water closet, the widespread use of the handkerchief and the general adoption of the fork to supplement the knife and spoon. The Utopias that were to come in the end were all sanitary

 

Utopias of spartan simplicity; Buckingham’ s Victoria, Owen’ s New Lanark, Salt’ s Saltaire and the rest, were all dominated by ideas of equalitarianism and efficient plumbing. 11 The beginning of the Enclosures in Britain in the late seventeenth century began a new era of urbanism. More food was being produced by fewer people, and this coupled with industrial invention, invited rural people to move into towns. Thus began the great age of industrial expansion. The horrors and triumphs of the industrial 1 revolution have been well documented, and there is little need to enlarge upon them at this point. It is sufficient to see that the result was that the nineteenth century utopia became a tool of social reform, rather than an ideal city or a paradise on earth. Sorne of the most spectacular reformers at this time came, surprisingly enough, from the ranks of industrialists, the very group who were blamed for the propagation of urban squalor. The utopians worked in isolation, and were strongly opposed in their work by the majority of their countrymen. Robert Owen (1771-1858),2 a Scottish cotton spinner, put forward a “Plan for relieving Public Distress, and Removing Discontent, by giving permanent, productive Employment to the Poor and Working Classes, under Arrangements which will essentially improve their Char acter, and ameliorate their Condition, diminish the Expenses of Production and Consumption, and create Markets co-extensive with Production.” He envisaged a society of agricultural villages with populations from 800 to 1200, situated so that

 

everybody could enjoy the country and the town. He believed that the provision of favourable working and living conditions paid dividends both to society and to industrialists. He successfully tested his theory by setting up an industrial village at New Lanark, where he reduced working hours, introduced welfare schemes and abolished the employment of young children. The scheme was primarily based on education, an Institution for the formation of Character being opened, which was a day school for children, and a night school for adults.

 

Despite these practical successes, however, Owen’ s theoretical approaches were widely rejected largely because he suggested communal lodgings, with private residences for families with children up to the age of three years old, but communal living for children over this age. The influence of Owen was marked, however, in the writings of contemporary social reformners. Jeremy Bentham, with whom he was personally acquainted, drew up a scheme for an ”lndustry House establishrnent which was to accommodate 2000 people. Following Owen carne James Silk Buckingham (1786-1855} whose writings 2 had a more direct influence upon the later Garden City theories. He drew up a plan for a city, Victoria, which was 8 to be a mile square and built in the country, and made up of buildings decreasing in height from the centre outwards, and arranged in concentric quadrangles. The inner buildings were to be public, and the outer ones, private houses.

 

The inhabitants of Victoria were to all be shareholders in the Model Town Association, which was to own all the land and buildings. Obnoxious industries were to be set aside from the site to preserve the health and comforts of the inhabitants. This formal plan reflects Buckingham1 s travels in Italy and France, his social idèas were those of Owen, and his ideas of communal ownership possibly sprang from Marx. The idea of a consciously planned community as an asset to industry, however, became more common, the impetus coming from individual benevolence and enterprise of private individuals.

 

Karl Marx labelled his contemporary social thinkers who based their hopes for the future upon such people 11 Utopian Socialistst, a phrase which has persisted with an unfortunately derogatory implication for a movement which was to have profound results. In 1852, Sir Titus Salt1 built a model village in connection with his woollen mills on the banks of the Yorkshire Aire, near Bradford. In 1879, Bournville, 2 a garden village, then four miles from Birmingham, was founded by the Cadbury Brothers to house their factory and employees. An interesting feature of this scheme was that Cadbury did not intend the housing in the village to be solely for his employees.

 

At st houses and building plots were let or sold to private persans, but this led to development contrary to the wish of the founder, soin 1900 the Bournville Village trust was established under the control of the Chief Commissioners