Despite being the founder of the Garden City Movement, Ebenezer Howard was neither a planner nor an architect, he was a shorthand typist. Born in London in 1850 to modest, middle-class parents, Howard left school at 15. He worked as a shorthand clerk in a number of offices before becoming private secretary to Dr. Joseph Parker, a well-known preacher at the time.
When he was 21, he left for America and his path led him to Chicago, working as a stenographer, where he stayed for four years.
Chicago allowed Howard to recognise the solutions to rapid growth and housing shortages, such as ‘the blend of town and country.
On returning to the struggling city of London, and working as a parliamentary reported at the centre of rapid urban expansion. These factors led him to formalise his ideas and resulted in the publication of his book in 1898, To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform. Just five years after, Howard had achieved his dream, at the age of 53 when his vision of a garden city came to life with the founding of Letchworth in 1903.