Proprietary Communities

Associated Individualism

A Victorian dream of freedom


A sense of the possibility of a life at once orderly and free dawns upon the heart and mind.

Not often can a reviewer look back three quarters of a century from the time a book was published and draw on hindsight of such magnitude. The book in hand is Ebenezer Howard's TOMORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM, published in 1898 in London and now being reprinted by the Irish University Press, Dublin. The better known and somewhat revised second edition appeared in 1902, under the title GARDEN CITIES OF TOMORROW.

In many respects Howard's book was before its time, which is why it may be appropriate to discuss it now. One of the two grand themes of the book seems to have been ignored totally by the reading public. The book's fame as a classic in the literature of urban planning rests on its physical planning innovations (e.g., functional zoning, density control, design control, greenbelt) which, revolutionary in their day, have long since been absorbed into the mainstream of planning, so that the venerable book is no longer read, though commonly cited.

The remarkable idea of the book, which Howard presents fully on a par with his ideal physical plan for a city, is a voluntary plan of public finance, a radical alternative to taxation. Howard's exposition is faultless. The problem evidently was the idea itself: it was simply too revolutionary to be entertained seriously.

The practical purpose of the book was to help launch a local venture which was subsequently formalized and got under way in 1902. As a social reformer, Howard set as his goal the solution of two pressing social problems of the day, the congestion of London and the "land problem," by building new towns which would combine the qualities of city and country and in which a leasehold form of land tenure would render taxation unnecessary. Through his personal efforts, he was responsible for the actual building of two new towns on the English landscape, Letchworth and Welwyn—called "Garden Cities"—of some 30,000 population each.

The venture was actually one of the boldest and most significant social experiments in history. The amount of attention it drew was not spectacular, however, and there was little if any appreciation of its true significance. A supporter wrote plaintively in 1946:

Howard and his associates made one propagandist mistake in siting Letchworth and Welwyn—building them in England within an hour's journey of London. One should have built on some remote island like Mauritus, and the other in the Soviet Republic of Uzbuzchakistan. Planners and journalists would then have visited them and written them up, and we should have had lots of iluminating books on them. Also we should be excited about them as wonderful achievements, and be wanting to know why we can't have new towns of the same type in Dear Old Stick-in-the-Mud England. [1]

The idea of voluntarily financing public services out of land revenues through a leasehold system of tenure was not entirely novel with Howard. Howard credits Thomas Spence, more than a century earlier, and Herbert Spencer. Nor did the idea end with Howard, although he improved it significantly. It next appeared some four decades later, in a still more advanced form, in Spencer Heath's concept of the proprietary community—although apparently the Garden City experiment was unknown to Heath.

Thomas Spence presented the idea in a paper which he read before the Philosophical Society in Newcastle on 8 November, 1775, "for printing which the Society did the author the honour to expel him." [2] His idea was to assemble the landed property into community-size parcels called "parishes" and to administer it as income property, letting out the land on leaseholds instead of subdividing it and financing the public improvements and services from rents.

There are no tolls or taxes of any kind paid among them by nature or foreigner but the aforesaid rent, which every person pays to the parish, according to the quantity, quality, and conveniences of the land…he occupies in it. The government, poor, roads, etc.…are all maintained with the rent, on which account all wares, manufactures, allowable trade employments or actions are entirely duty-free. [3]

What Spence did not solve was the transition to this new social arrangement short of a popular revolution which by fiat would dispossess the existing land owners and establish the system at once throughout the country.

Herbert Spencer in his early writings admired the idea of leasehold tenures because it seemed to him to meet all the requirements of a system of perfect social justice. However, he later withdrew his advocacy on two counts, one of justice, the other of practicality. He could see no way of making the transition without working an injustice on the existing land owners—even if compensation were offered. Moreover, he envisioned the system being best administered on a national scale; yet he could not imagine the state being responsible or competent enough to administer such a program.

Ebenezer Howard, however, carefully analyzed the idea from the standpoint of economics and concluded that it would pay a company to borrow the capital to acquire and develop the land and amortize the indebtedness from the proceeds of the venture. By developing rural land for urban uses, the increased land values would assure the financial success of the project. In TOMORROW, he develops the economics of the plan at length to establish beyond doubt that the rents would be "amply sufficient (not only) to discharge all public burdens without any resort to the expedient of compulsory rates" (i.e. taxes), but "also for greatly extending the area of municipal activity" (original emphasis). [4]

By proposing to purchase the land in the open market, Howard made a fundamental advance over Thomas Spence and in doing so, overcame the first of Herbert Spencer's objections. The second objection he thought he could overcome by staying with Thomas Spence's original plan of local administration. He envisioned the company ultimately transferring title to a democratically elected body which would administer the community's lands in trust—an elective government without taxing powers. Howard was impressed with the ideas of municipal socialism that were current at the turn of the century, a major element in which was the belief that local government could be trusted where a distant central government could not. He may have believed along with many of his contemporaries, that the central government was even then so overburdened that the long-term political trend would necessarily be in the direction of decentralized power. In any event he enjoyed a basically optimistic view of the future in which "Garden Cities" could develop increasing measures of local autonomy.

A common theme running through the contractual community concept from Thomas Spence to Howard was the idea that the existing land owners had no role to play in the unfolding drama. Rather, they were obstacles to progress. Here is where Spencer Heath in his writings after 1935, offered a basic insight. Heath said that if the arrangement really made sense—as it seemed to him it did, in the light of his own long and successful career in business—and if it promised justice and a social order in which the public community services could be provided in the market place as private services are, then it offered the existing land owners an enormous business opportunity and one for which the conceivable public demand would be virtually unlimited. Besides developing the idea in writing, Spencer Heath spend years attempting to interest organized real estate interests in the entrepreneurial possibilities he saw lying within their reach. Thus he joined profit motive with humanitarian ideals. He died in 1963, at the age of 86, leaving many notes and papers besides his only published book, CITADEL, MARKET & ALTAR. [5] The latter has not been widely read. But passing time has only made its basic conclusions more relevant to current events, so that his ideas are drawing more thoughtful attention today than when he lived.


The proprietary community principle is relatively simple, once it is understood that what makes land valuable is environment. That is, the value of a site as such—apart from its improvements—is its location value relative to human activities and amenities to which the site gives access. This has an interesting theoretical implication which might be mentioned at this point before continuing with its entrepreneurial implications. The theoretical implication is significant for those who hold with the Georgists that land is in fixed supply and therefore (the logical sequitur is not clear) should be administered by government to prevent such an absolute "monopoly" from being wholly in private hands. Land as an economic good, however, is not to be defined as situs measured by geographical coordinates on the globe, but as location, which has utility, as just noted, by virtue of the access it affords to desirable human activities or facilities (and perhaps insulation from some undesirable ones). Thus location is artificial, being wholly dependent on surrounding human activities and amenities. Hence land, as an economic good, is manufacturable and not fixed in quantity.

This brings us immediately to the entrepreneurial implications. How does one create land value or location? I should like to answer this by retracing the career of a (perhaps hypothetical) land owner who inherited a family farm of 700 acres. He didn't want to live on the farm and, rather than holding it for speculation, which seemed uncertain, he decided to develop it. He wanted to administer it as capital to generate values. In the narrative that follows, note particularly the environmental considerations by all parties.

The land owner's initial market analysis showed a shortage of apartment space in the medium-to-upper rent range in the nearest town 10 miles distant and also that tenants would not mind commuting that distance, given some amenities such as parkland and golf course and convenience shopping near their homes. Therefore he determined to develop some small recreational and park facilities, including a swimming club. While this yielded little income in itself, it was the environmental amenity which, together with a small "7-11" store which he succeeded in attracting to the project, made the property suitable for a small complex of apartments. When the apartments were completed, they filled more slowly than had been anticipated, and it appeared that there were too few units for the investment to show a good return. One of the difficulties was inadequate shopping. Yet the project was too small to attract more stores; there was too little population in the immediate market area. Also the necessity of commuting to work seemed to be more of an obstacle than his marketing survey had indicated.

In this situation, the land owner next turned his attention to a part of the property that he had thought for some time might be suitable for light industry; a railroad spur came in there from an abandoned mining operation, and that together with ample space for expansion would appeal to industry. He had approached a small electronics assembly firm several years earlier but had been turned down because of the lack of any nearby population for a labor pool. The apartments now had changed that picture. The electronics firm, which had not found a better location, agreed to move, and it was followed in a few months by a latex molding company. There was a good possibility of a warehousing operation moving in the following year. The presence of these two industries provided a source of nearby employment, which generated new interest in the apartments. His turn-over rate dropped, and he found that he could increase the rent slightly. He began planning some additional apartments to meet the new demand. Moreover, he found that more merchants were willing to talk about the possibility of renting space in the shopping area, and two convenience shops, one of them a national chain, soon leased sites.

At this point something new entered the picture. About the time the land owner had acquired his property, a university had begun looking for a site for a new campus. The land owner knew of a site only three miles from his property which he thought would be ideally suited for the new campus, and one of the first things he had done had been to try to interest the university in it. They had by now narrowed their search to two sites, one of them being the location nearby. Consequently the land owner met with the board of regents of the university at regular intervals over a six-month period, sharing his market information and knowledge of the area in an attempt to persuade them of the advantages of the local site.

During this period, a science research firm he had earlier approached without success as a prospective tenant in the industrial park area said that they would be interested in locating there if the university chose the nearby site, since the latter would attract the kind of people to the area that they would want to draw upon for personnel, besides the library and other research facilities the university could provide. Furthermore, they thought they could cooperate with at least one of the departments of the university in carrying out special research projects and in making certain of their own specialized equipment available to the university on a contract basis. On the strength of this, the land owner, at the next meeting with the board of regents, offered to increase his plans for additional apartment buildings and to cooperate with the university in housing part of the faculty and students while the school buildings were being constructed. Soon after, the university announced their choice favorably.

The land owner chose this time to encourage a successful Montessori School in the nearby town to expand their program in his project which was now beginning to take on the semblance of a real community. The young faculty families with children would be an important source of patronage. He offered some specially favorable terms for the first two years, which made it financially feasible for the school to make the move. The presence of the school, in turn, along with some expanded recreational facilities (including a new bicycle trail) and his cooperative attitude toward the university, attracted many of the university personnel who otherwise might have commuted from town. The university in turn provided an important additional source of local employment, which together with the other growing amenities and activities in the environment soon warranted a second apartment complex on another part of the property, on the other side of the shopping area. The construction phase of the university encouraged a motel to begin building on a site adjacent to the shopping center several years sooner than it might have planned otherwise, and this provided a much needed facility for the growing residential community.

This story could be expanded indefinitely as the land owner built land value by bringing about complementary land uses both functionally, spatially, and with regard to timing in the evolution of the community. His object was to maximize his income from the over-all property by a suitable mix of both high and low intensity uses on the land itself. Each site within the project he conceived as the focal point of an environment which differed sometimes slightly, sometimes importantly, from every other site in the development or outside its boundaries. He then took what is sometimes called the "unit planning" approach, considering each site as representing a unit of land use, or activity, and trying to incorporate into its environment, as the community grew, all of the supporting environmental elements that might relate favorably to that particular use or activity.

The land owner thus found himself in the business of manufacturing, selling (through leaseholds) and servicing environment. He was the one person in the community whose sole business interest was to optimize the attractiveness and utility of the environment as such, since this was what attracted people to come to live and work and, in the process, to bid up the rents which they were willing (and able because of its utility) to pay in this new location. His was not a partisan interest. He was concerned for the success of the whole as a community. His lessees' recognition of this, together with the fact that his interest was that of a responsible businessman toward his customers, made for a far easier administration than might have characterized a conventional elective or political arrangement in which responsibility belongs to "everyone and no one."

In developing the philosophy of his business, the land owner came to realize the simple truth that because rent comes, of necessity, out of production—which is to say, the use of land—it was his interest to facilitate in every way the productive use of his property. He was vitally interested, therefore, in every environmental factor that contributed to the success of the lessees on his land. The university was an example of how this interest extended even beyond the bounds of his property. He was likewise concerned for the well-being of the nearby town, where his lessees traded, and for the honesty and efficiency of county and state governments in providing such services as lay in their province. He was further concerned to protect his lessees whenever possible from taxation, regulation, and harassment—the disservices of political government which directly burden the productive use of land.

With a view to looking after the lessees' interests, therefore, he encouraged the managers of each division of his project—the residential complexes, the shopping and professional center, and the industrial and research park—to cultivate relations with town and county political leaders and to become active with him in the Citizens for Better Government and the local chapter of Tax Reform. He also worked on a brief but regular basis with the local Board of Realtors, urging and assisting in the development of a land owners "Watchdog Committee" to monitor the efficiency and honesty of local governments. At the same time, he took care that his involvement in public affairs should not be controversial. This general policy of active but noncontroversial involvement in local affairs paid off in a number of ways which are not part of our present story.

The land owner was tempted several times, for sorely needed cash, to sell off acreage or to sell subdivision lots. He was tempted likewise to follow the usual approach of dedicating the streets to the county for maintenance. He resisted, because he recognized that this would compromise his planning integrity and flexibility in the future by tending to fix unalterably the present layout of streets and common areas. Subdivisions would also mean forfeiting the future increment of value in the lots he sold off—value which would be due to his own planning and development efforts in adjacent areas. Finally, as a businessman, he regarded land as capital, rather than as something to be consumed for one's own use or to be bought and sold as a speculative commodity, and he wanted to preserve it functionally intact.

Initially, he was afraid that his policy of offering only the option of leasing and not of purchasing would meet customers' resistance. But by publicizing the advantages of a continuing, integrated responsibility for the environment, he found very good customer acceptance. He could assure his lessees of a degree of neighborhood stability and privacy and a level of environmental advantages and amenities that would not be possible in a subdivision where the developer sold off the lots and moved away, leaving it to the residents, through covenants in their deeds or through enforced zoning, to attempt to police a vanished interest. Moreover, he found that most people understood quite well that ownership of a leasehold is no less ownership (indeed it is sometimes more secure ownership for the reasons given above) than ownership of a fee. It differs only in that the boundaries of that ownership have been defined by contract—as in any case it would be limited in fee ownership by deed restrictions, easements, mortgages and so forth. He found that most people in their own practical way shared the understanding expressed so clearly by David Hume two hundred years ago:

A man that hires a horse, tho' but for a day, has as full a right to make use of it for that time, as he whom we call its proprietor has to make use of it any other day; and 'tis evident, that however the use may be bounded in time or degree, the right itself is not susceptible of any such gradation, but is absolute and entire, so far as it extends. [6]


Ebenezer Howard was remarkable not only for his ideas. He was a man of ideals and of action and had the tremendous courage of his convictions. Although without resources of his own—he worked all his life and supported a family on a court stenographer's earnings—his sure sense for spiritual values and his firm practicality attracted many people to his cause. The result was that he succeeded in raising the necessary capital and assembling the talent to bring about the building of not only one but two complete new towns, or Garden Cities, in England.

It many ways, Letchworth and Welwyn were successful. They are viable towns today of more than 30,000 population each, with a wide diversification of industries, comfortable parks, winding boulevards and tree-shaded streets more attractive than most in England. Yet they fell far short of their potential and, ironically, provided the model for the present Satellite Towns program in England under which they were themselves nationalized: Welwyn in 1948 and Letchworth in 1962. Their very survival up to that time, however, may reflect the basic soundness of their financial approach. A multitude of difficulties beset both ventures, any one of which might have marked the end of a more conventional undertaking. The difficulties of Letchworth are impressive.


The location of the new town was the result of accident and without benefit of study. Extreme concessions were necessary to attract shops and industries to locate in this untried location. Not only were commercial and industrial leases set for impossibly long terms—99 to 999 years—but they were made without any provision for periodic renegotiation. This was a serious departure from Howard's plan, which envisioned perpetual leases with rent review at 10-year intervals. The socialist climate of the times and the idealism surrounding this particular reform effort (George Bernard Shaw was an early supporter and resident of Letchworth) hindered at each turn the business-like prosecution of the venture. It was not understood how much time was required for a land development of such magnitude to develop revenues, so that the initial financing was not sufficiently long-term. Nor was the venture helped by a poor decision in accounting method, which made it appear that Letchworth was not economically viable, more than a decade after it had actually reached a solid earnings position. The undertaking should have paid dividends from the third year, but it did not begin paying dividends on a regular basis until after World War I, and the accumulated arrears in dividends were not completely paid off until 1946. This is a fascinating story ably told by C.B. Purdom in his book, THE BUILDING OF SATELLITE TOWNS. [7]

There was no foreseeing, moreover, the additional burdens to be imposed by two world wars, depreciation of the pound by 75%, nationalization of the gas and electric business on which Letchworth depended for much of its revenue, and finally control of future building development under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947. The latter, revised in 1954, nationalized development values in all land, thus effectively removing the economic basis of the garden city.

Yet it would seem that the underlying cause of failure was more fundamental than any of the above. It was more fundamental because it was a matter of underlying principle rather than of circumstance, and it made it impossible for Letchworth to deal ably with circumstances as they arose. In setting up the town without any equity interest in its administration, and in looking ahead to the vehicle of a nonprofit trust whose members would be elected by the townspeople, the founders condemned the town to mediocre management. "The absence of any equity interest was to prove wellnigh fatal to the company," Purdom writes, for without it, "the sense of final responsibility needed to be maintained for the normal conduct of the enterprise was not there." [8]

From the start, the board was never sufficiently united upon a consistent policy of development to enable a program to be carried out with the energy that was needed. The organization of the company was never complete. Indeed, it gradually became something in the nature of a policy for the company to do as little as possible, and when a certain stage was reached it seemed to be the intention to sit down, collect the revenue, and allow the town to grow by its own impetus.…The directors were men of outstanding ability in their own spheres; but no single one of them knew enough about the business or was able to devote sufficient time to enter fully into the complex nature of the enterprise. [9]

Despite even this basic management weakness and all of the circumstantial difficulties enumerated above, the town was in a strong financial position in 1962 when it was nationalized. [10]

Such toughness for survival must indicate some basis soundness in the principle of financing community administration from land revenues. This was the essential concept of Henry George, that rents constituted a "natural fund" for the finance of community services, even though he proposed a poor vehicle, confiscatory taxation, for its implementation. Howard was strongly influenced by George, as was Heath after him. Like Heath, he conceived that he had found the practical means of application of the Georgian principle and tried, unsuccessfully, to interest Georgists in his discovery. Howard's insistence on voluntary means was an enormous improvement over his predecessors. But he failed to link it to the profit motive. He failed to gear it into an entrepreneurial engine.


Ebenezer Howard, the man and his ideas, remain fresh and vital, immensely rewarding as a subject for study, unlike the actual experience of the garden cities which, though instructive, is a tragic story of unfulfillment.

The reader, unprepared, might be taken aback by the admixture of socialist ideas and preconceptions in TOMORROW. Such ideas were rampant in England at the turn of the century, and it would have been strange if Howard had not found himself attracted to some of them. Yet he was a highly unorthodox socialist, if socialist he was. For his ideological commitment to socialism tended to abstractions, while his real, felt commitment of the moment was always strongly for the individual and freedom of private choice. The book contains some pungent criticisms of socialists, if not of socialism. Where he entertained ideas of government action at all—and this was almost without exception in the sphere of local government which he trusted far more than centralized government—he did so for reasons which I suspect he would discard if he were still alive, given the change and growth of business and economic experience since his day. An example is his proposal to control certain aspects of the retailing trade in Letchworth through popular referendum. His scheme reflects plainly a lack of knowledge of marketing, a subject we now know a great deal more about, especially since the development of shopping centers in the United States. Even his all-pervasive preference for cooperative forms of organization over profit-structured enterprise seems simply to arise from faulty understanding of economics—particularly the effects of competition—and the inference always is that the issue could be reopened with him. Howard's commitments to socialism were ad hoc and never out of antipathy to individual freedom, whereas his commitment to freedom always comes across as part of the fibre of his being. One has the feeling in reading Howard that his socialism, however professed in the moment, would always be open to question and reevaluation, whereas his commitment to freedom was long since settled.

Howard saw individualism in a full perspective, almost in the perspective of a cosmic consciousness, and this is certainly one of the rewarding insights for people who thoughtfully read this book. He understood that individual self-realization is poorly realized in isolation, that it fully blossoms only in cooperation with other self-actualizing individuals.

Isolated and individual thought and action are as essential, if the best results of combination are to be secured, as combination and cooperation are essential, if the best results of isolated effort are to be gained. It is by isolated thought that new combinations are worked out; it is through the lessons learned in associated effort that the best individual work is accomplished; and that society will prove the most healthy and vigorous where the freest and fullest opportunities are afforded alike for individual and combined effort. [11]

Elsewhere, he expressed his characteristic optimism that "the time will come when life will be seen stereoscopically—when the two different points of view from which life is simultaneously regarded—that of the individual personal well-being and that of the well-being of society—will enable a truer, because a more complete, view of life to be enjoyed by all its members." [12]

This stereoscopic vision is rare, perhaps because of the false dichotomy of interests and the ganging-up phenomenon which is forced upon us by our traditional political approach to our community affairs. It characterizes the philosophy of Spencer Heath, who sometimes developed it sharply by drawing a distinction between covenant and contract. Covenant he would say, is usually an agreement not to do some specific mutual harm. It is a treaty. Whereas contract is an agreement to do some specific mutual good. Contracts can be performed, but covenants cannot; there is nothing you can do about a covenant that will not be a violation.

This distinction suddenly becomes profound when we realize that property is covenant. It is a marking out of boundaries and an agreement not to cross over them. Hence property doesn't carry us very far as human beings. It permits us to consume unmolested and so fulfill our animal nature, but it doesn't permit us to become capitalists, to enter the market, and put our property to work serving others, which is our distinctively human option. That requires contract. The fully human perspective therefore involves both. Property is the necessary foundation, the static, the structural aspect of things. Contract is the dynamic, the functional, the creative aspect. Contract is the greater conception of the two because it assumes property and includes it. But while contract of necessity implies property, the converse is not true. He who in the name of individualism fastens his attention on property to the virtual exclusion of contract condemns himself to fighting forever a defensive action, a "Don't tread on me" posture at a less than human level of fulfillment. Many an intellect has starved on this path, mistaking it for the path to freedom.

Property is not distinctively human, as Robert Ardrey has abundantly shown, although in a large degree what he describes is not property but territoriality, which is a lower conception yet because it is that which must be defended. T.E. Cliffe Leslie, in his introduction to Laveleye's PRIMITIVE PROPERTY almost a hundred years ago, highlighted this crucial difference between possession and property.

No mere psychological explanation of the origin of property is, I venture to affirm, admissible, though writers of great authority have attempted to discover its germs by that process in the lower animals. A dog, it has been said, shows an elementary proprietary sentiment when he hides a bone, or keeps watch over his master's goods. But property has not its root in the love of possession. All living beings like and desire certain things, and if nature has armed them with any weapons are prone to use them in order to get and keep what they want. What requires explanation is not the want or desire of certain things on the part of individuals, but the fact that other individuals, with similar wants and desires, should leave them in undisturbed possession, or allot to them a share, of such things. It is the conduct of the community, not the inclination of individuals, that needs investigation. There mere desire for particular articles, so far from accounting for settled and peaceful ownership, tends in the opposite direction, namely, to conflict and the right of the strongest. No small amount of error in several departments of social philosophy, and especially in political economy, has arisen from reasoning from the desires of the individual, instead of from the history of the community. [13]

What is distinctively human is not merely the elaboration of property relations, but an enormous development also of its social and functional side, which is contract. By focusing on property, Ardrey has failed to develop a conceptual frame for dealing with market phenomena. Ironically, therefore, he does not discuss economic behavior, though this is the domain of human behavior above all others which may have the greatest potential for creatively resolving human conflict, the very problem with which he is most strongly concerned.

Ebenezer Howard was at the core a profound individualist. Perhaps, in a fundamental sense, he was more of an individualist than many calling themselves libertarians today. Howard himself termed his philosophy "associated individualism." The words are redundant, for how else but in association with others can an individual develop fully his individuality? But the redundancy conveys a corrective in emphasis that both collectivists and individualists today might ponder.

Howard had an intuitive view of the future. TOMORROW was written in the 19th century, under the reign of Queen Victoria, yet in it he anticipated air travel. He anticipated society in the future continuing to evolve in directions of ever wider social freedoms. He was, indeed, one who was "sensitive to the directions in which progress and destiny lie as an artist is sensitive to beauty." [14] While he never articulated very much about his personal philosophy, voluntarism was for him a comfortable life style. His strategy as a reformer was neither to turn to government, nor to protest or moralize. It was to try to awaken the constructive energies in people by creating something so attractive that it would inspire others to imitate it and to carry further the good that they found there.

A vignette of Howard's character is contained in an incident described by the American town planner, Clarence Stein, who visited England in 1928 shortly before Howard's death. The story is significant given Howard's background as a fanatic social reformer who had devoted a lifetime to the avowed purpose of getting industrial workers out of smoky, congested London and into a healthful, semi-rural garden setting. Some years after his visit, Stein wrote in a letter, "I remember walking about Welwyn with old Ebenezer, and how alive he was to the way his conceptions developed and changed in practice: 'Some people like to work in gardens but others don't. So we have learnt to lay out different types of lots to fit their varied desires.'" [15]

Spencer MacCallum is an anthropologist by training and a consultant in real estate and community development by profession. A Princeton graduate, he received an MA in social anthropology from the University of Washington and did additional graduate work at the University of Chicago. He is the author of THE ART OF COMMUNITY.


[1] Osborn, F.J. GREENBELT CITIES (London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 1946), p. 36.
[2] Howard, Ebenezer TOMORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Company, Ltd., 1898), p. 108.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Op. Cit,. pp 67, 54, and passim.
[5] The intellectual estate of Spencer Heath is administered by the Heather Foundation, 915 South Grand Avenue, San Pedro, California, where his unpublished notes and papers have been transcribed and organized for easy access. A complete duplicate file of this material is also maintained at the Institute for Humane Studies, Inc., 1134 Crane Street, Menlo Park, California 94025.
[6] Hume, David A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1896), p. 529.
[7] Purdom, C.B. THE BUILDING OF SATELLITE TOWNS (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1949).
[8] Purdom, C.B. THE LETCHWORTH ACHIEVEMENT (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1963), p. 14; THE BUILDING OF SATELLITE TOWNS (J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1949), p. 345.
[9] Purdom, C.B. THE BUILDING OF SATELLITE TOWNS (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1949), p. 174.
[10] The reason for nationalization was stated most clearly in the case of Welwyn. The Minister of Town and Country Planning thought it "undesirable that a private company, however public-spirited, should, by virtue of its ownership of most of the land and buildings, be in a position to determine the character of a whole town and the living conditions of the majority of its inhabitants." In this situation, the town "would be just what the company would like and not what the people would like. This is opposed to any sense of democracy."
[11] Howard, Ebenezer Op. Cit., p. 96.
[12] Op. Cit., p. 93.
[13] Laveleye, Emile de PRIMITIVE PROPERTY (London: MacMillan, 1877).
[14] TEMPLE BIOGRAPHIES: Introduction. Quoted by MacFadyen, Dugald, SIR EBENEZER HOWARD AND THE TOWN PLANNING MOVEMENT (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1933), p. 20.
[15] From a letter from Clarence Stein to Carl Feiss, 23 June 1953, quoted by the latter in "Letchworth and the U.S.A.," TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING, September 1953.