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Garden Cities by Ebenezer Howard

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Book Reports, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Drogo

From the book Garden Cities of To-morrow by Ebenezer Howard 1898, 1902

Ebenezer Howard was a shop keeper’s assistant, farmer, writer, sociologist, and statesman. Howard valued good living conditions, democracy, nature, human rights, and personalities. Osburn and Mumford added notes that introduce, critique, review, and praise Howard. JH Osburn claims Howard may have been influenced by Bellamy’s book Looking Backward. According to Lewis Mumford Howard was also inspired by Spense, Buckingham, Wakefield, George, and Kropotkin. Howard’s narrow building lots were handed down from medieval English dimensions (20 x 130 ft).

Garden Cities of To-morrow begins by describing the “Three Magnets”: Town, Country, and Town-Country. Howard explains why we are attracted to the best of both Town and Country aspects. Town-Country benefits have cooperation, beauty, nature, green fields, green parks, good utilities, good commerce, social opportunity, high wages, low rents, low price rates, and low pollution!

In most chapters, Howard proposes how Garden Cities would function with diagrams. He describes inter-connected urban nodes. Central City is shown with a constellation of satellite micro-cities (garden cities, towns, villages, developments). Garden Cities at their heart have a central garden, with rings of dwellings, shops, roads, industry, fields, and farms. The ordered layout is meant to improve biological, social, economic, and personal life for everyone.

Howard considered some difficulties with analytic self-criticism. He saw the weak points in his plans, and how they might fail. This foresight can allow us to prepare for the worst problems, to better shape designs for the future. He maintained that human ideals are worth trying; quoting Darwin “Selfish and contentious men will not cohere, and without coherence nothing can be accomplished,”. Howard believed that Socialism and Individualism must come together in the future to realize a true, vital organic society and state.

Ebenezer Howard felt that Garden Cities would work, because the plans were based on understanding human nature. He indicated that Urban or Communal failures are a result of the ‘Duality Principle’ (Janus). Ignorance of the Duality Principle allows kindred mistakes, by regarding one principle action to the exclusion of others. Howard believed we are all communists to some degree, even those that shudder at being told this, because we believe in roads, parks, and libraries. Individualism is no less excellent, in his mind, as he compares good society to an orchestra that plays together, but practice separately. Expense, however, always tends to get in the way of progress.

Sir Raymond Unwin worked with Howard. In 1903 they designed and established the first Garden City in England, named ‘Letchworth’. Letchworth proved a success, and in 1919 the second Garden City ‘Welwyn’ was founded. By 1950 the cities had a combined population of over 40,000. The account of their success is given in Purdom’s Building of Satellite Towns. Some key points regarding the study of Garden Cities are: how urban and rural districts connect, health and sanitation, zoning limitations of density and sprawl allowing light, gardens, and leisure, harmony rather than standardization, communications, ownership and cooperative leasing, public freedom and choice of enterprise.

Contemporary critics dismissed “Garden Cities” as more akin to the fantasy of H.G. Wells, than to the realities of urban planning. Despite the critics, Garden Cities of To-morrow is cited in countless planning bibliographies, and provides an organic alternative to bleak industrial future city-scapes. So what happened? Our suburbs in America do not follow his models, although some are better than others. Howard wanted to keep the city, town, and country distinct from each other, unlike amorphous suburban sprawl. He wanted more green around and in cities, by confining and condensing urban development, to keep the country rural, pastoral, and agrarian; yet integrating their foundations for healthy and function living.

“The pathway of any experiment worth achieving, is strewn with failures. Success is, for the most part, built on failure.”  – Ebenezer Howard

“Creative work always arises by the synthesis in one’s mind of material from otherwise unrelated sources…”  – J.H. Osburn

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Stories of Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure

Posted in Book Reports, Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by Drogo

Stories of Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure:

Short Stories Written In Grade School (Volume 1)

Stories of Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure is a collection of full-color illustrated short stories, written during grade school in the 1980’s. They were written to be read by kids, and to kids.

Although mostly fictional, some stories were based on real classes in real local schools. Names have been changed to protect the identity of all characters, thus making each story entirely fictional.

Warning: those that try to apply reality to these stories may get in trouble.

About the Author

Professor Stowell’s collection of stories from his childhood and teenage years were written mostly during the 1980’s. Many drawings were drawn for the stories at the same time, however the writing and art was altered for digital publication. Some of the ‘mistakes’ made in spelling were intentionally left in if they added to the ambiance of the story. Remember, kids are people too!

Book Details

Paperback: 136 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace (February 19, 2010)

Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches (small)

“Remember all those stories you wrote in school but eventually threw away? Do you wish you had them now? If your answer is “yes,” then you need this book. Walton Stowell kept all of his stories and has dutifully typed them, lightly edited them, and put them together for you to enjoy alone or with your children. Included are the digitally remastered original illustrations. They made me laugh. I’m sure they’ll make you laugh too.” – Noel L. Tavano

Order This Book Now on Amazon.com!

Interview for Drogo Empedocles

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2009 by Drogo

BEGIN INTERVIEW for Drogo Empedocles

 

1. Why did you start SCOD:

 

I started SCOD in order to have projects that I can do in life, directly relate to my friends and our common interests. It started with a few of us, and branched out from there. It is like the Round Table at Camelot in many ways, except everyone is more equal as King (or Queen) of their own lives and their own interests in SCOD. Members of SCOD, like at Camelot, were not always the same list of names. There were times when there was a lot of support, and times where no one showed up. The most important thing in both is faith in one’s own dedication to a common purpose.

 

2. Give some advice for anyone wanting to do what you have done:

 

Write things down, and be able to later access that writing to remind yourself. Do that and you are less likely to give up on your dreams. Also be hard on yourself more than others. If other people are being shitty and not cooperating, do something because you said you would, then if no one else comes through, at least you were true to yourself. Don’t be a fool trusting people who don’t follow through, but if someone lets you down but really wants to make amends, give them a few tries. Try to make things work without selling all rights to the property (metaphor).

 

3. How do you view “Sustainability” in what you do?

 

There are different aspects to that popular term. In architecture Sustainability usually means a structure built to last, and refers to it’s permanence. However Sustainability can also be judged by the structure’s impact on Nature and Ecology. If a building lasts forever but poisons the environment, then it is not a Sustainable habitat for life around it. Therefore sometimes a temporary structure built from renewable materials that bio-degrade is more Sustainable.

 

4. What is your opinion of “Cooperatives”?

 

Cooperatives are related to neighborhoods, communities, socialism, communism, and many work situations. Collectives of human beings and other animals, working and/or living together as functionally as possible for the common good. Jesus did it, so it must be a good thing, right?

 

5. How important is “Organic” design in your life, as opposed to simple mechanical design? For example in the food you eat, buildings you live in, and work you do…

 

Very important. I love organic things, maybe because I am organic.

6. Do you have any other plans for future “Development” of these or any other goals?

 

Yes.

 

END INTERVIEW

Thank you, Blessed Be.

 

Halloween Costumes

Posted in Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by Drogo

I wonder if one can ever truly know the separation between exterior expression; appearance through costume, clothing, ritual garb, skin, hair, sounds, words, movements; and the inner individual person?

For example, the more time we spend in a business suit, the more we feel we are a part of business, and the more we are perceived by others as such. We tend to think the less time we spend looking a certain way, the less we are like the associations of that image.  A costume is usually not something that is regularly worn by the wearer.

Yet I think there are exceptions. Sometimes we can find a costume that fits ourselves better than our daily uniforms, even a better side of ourselves. However just as we are amalgams of perspective, so too are costumes. There can always be more than one interpretation of the wearer and their costume, if it is even called a costume.

Happy Halloween!!!

Drogo(WP)