Where was the First Greenbelt Town?
The answer may surprise you. Greenbelt Towns were also known as Garden Cities, New Towns, and Planned Communities. These cities had all the development planned out before the construction began.
The idea is not new. One of the earliest planned communities on record is Miletus, Greece, in the fourth century B.C. There were several planned cities in Europe during the Middle Ages. Early in the twentieth century, Ebenezer Howard started the British "Garden City" trend, which was the start of the modern-day planned community. These communities were created because the Industrial Revolution brought about crowded, dirty cities. Garden Cities were planned and constructed away from the urban centers, contained open land, and limited commercial and industrial activities.
Ebenezer Howard (From Greenbelt: History of a New Town 1937-1987)
In the early history of America, Planned Communties were quite common. Jamestowne, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., are examples of this trend. The subsequent development of the United States, however, made planned cities both impractical and unpopular. It was not until the twentieth century that the New Town idea was revived. Following the example of British Garden Cities, Radburn, New Jersey, was begun in 1929. It was followed by government sponsored "greenbelt" towns: Greenhills, Ohio; Greendale, Wisconsin; and Greenbelt, Maryland. After World War II, Park Forest, Illinois joined the list of American New Towns.