- J. M. Richards
(b London, Jan 29, 1850; d Welwyn Garden City, Herts, May 1, 1928).
English social reformer, writer and shorthand-writer. He worked first as a clerk in the offices of various London merchants, stockbrokers and solicitors. In 1872 Howard emigrated to the USA where he worked as a shorthand-writer in the law courts, first in Nebraska then in Chicago. After returning to England (1877) he joined the firm of Gurney and Sons, official shorthand-writers to the Houses of Parliament, London, later becoming a partner in their successors, William Treadwell. Howard devoted his spare time to social reform, applying himself especially to problems of urban overcrowding and the depopulation of the countryside. His response was the idea of the economically self-sufficient satellite town, surrounded by agricultural land and limited to c. 30,000 inhabitants. In 1898 he published an influential book in support of his ideas: Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform. It set out not only his concept of the garden city but also his proposals for financing and administering it. The garden city was to consist of rural-like residential neighbourhoods surrounding a central park, an extensive cultivable green belt to prevent urban encroachment, and facilities for shopping, cultural pursuits, community activities and recreation, the whole laid out concentrically and linked to a large town of no more than 58,000 inhabitants. No railways or highways would pass through the garden city. The scheme was anticipated by two years by that of the German political theorist ...