The 20th century witnessed the sublevation of industrial town planning, the culmination
of nearly 200 years of experimentation by employers in mining, lumber milling, and
manufacture. Examples of purpose-built settlements can be found in antiquity, but it was
the industrial revolution that propelled modern planning and development, creating a
distinctive and easily recognized type. Where a single enterprise owned the site and
employed an architect or landscape architect to design the factories and housing, there
was real opportunity to advance the science of planning and reduce environmental
Before Parker and Unwin planned the garden city of Letchworth, England, for
Ebenezer Howard and his benefactors, they planned the factory town of New Earswick
(1902) for Benjamin Rowntree. Rowntree was a manufacturer who developed New
Earswick as a single-enterprise town, following Lever and Cadbury, who earlier had
founded Port Sunlight (1887) and Bourneville (1895), model industrial villages. The use
of contour planning and the generous allotment of parkland in the design of industrial
villages was well known in the 19th century and would be employed in the first garden
cities. The principal difference between the two is that the industrial village or factory
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 820
town owed its existence to the business enterprise, whether extractive or manufacturing,
and was subordinate to the mine, mill, or factory, which could occupy a prominent site—
sometimes the center of town. The garden city, on the other hand, put community first
and then hoped to attract industry, and that industry was usually relegated to a peripheral
site. True garden cities were tenant associations of joint stockholders who were
prohibited from engaging in property speculation. In the factory town, the business
enterprise was the landlord, and where housing was sold it usually was financed by the
enterprise or one of its subsidiaries. In most instances, however, the housing was
maintained by the company and available only to employees and their families through
rental agreements.
The better factory towns of the 20th century offered a variety of houses in
construction, size, and style and made them available for purchase through a companybacked
building-and-loan association. Two- and four-family houses, as well as terraces or
row houses, eventually gave place to single-family residences in North America. The use
of contour planning as opposed to orthogonal blocks not only produced more interesting
and less repetitive layouts but also reduced street paving and utility lines. Public space in
the form of parks was sometimes incorporated into the plan. Schools and community
facilities symbolized the employer’s commitment to the community, and the architecture
could be exceptional. Unity in plan with variety in architecture could be obtained through
the selection employment of recognized design firms, such as McKim, Mead, and White
(Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, 1900) or George B.Post and Sons (Eclipse Park,
Wisconsin, 1915). In Europe and North America, many of the more prominent architects
and landscape architects received commissions to design industrial housing estates and
factory towns.
Stand-alone single-enterprise developments included Neponsit Garden Village (1907)
and Indian Hill (1912), Massachusetts; Kistler (1918) and Kohler (1915), Wisconsin;
Kincaid (1914), Illinois; Goodyear Heights (1913) and Firestone Park (1916), Ohio;
Alcoa (1919), Erwin (1914), and Kingsport (1915), Tennessee; Corey (Fairfield, 1909)
and Kaulton (1912), Alabama; and Torrance (1912), California, in the United States and
Temiscaming (1917) and Arvida (1926) in Canada. In later years, several were
incorporated into larger, neighboring communities. This early group favored the planning
principles employed in the garden cities, although in the case of landscape architects such
as Warren Henry Manning, John Nolen, Ossian C.Simonds, and Earle Draper, their
indebtedness was to the Olmsted firm far more than to Parker and Unwin.
In the interwar and post-World War II period, it is not North America but rather
Scandinavia and Europe that offer the better examples of industrial town planning.
The work of Alvar Aalto in Finland, especially at Sunila (1937–39), the lumber town,
combines creative planning and contemporary housing in a majestic setting. Aalto,
always the independent, managed to separate the mill from the housing and communal
buildings through careful site analysis. The architectural forms are contrasted in a most
interesting way with the natural setting. In Germany and Hungary, following the
reconstruction, there were several important new industrial towns. Sennestadt and
Wulfen, two German new towns of the 1960s, associated with extractive industries,
experimented with mid- and high-rise housing in the Zeilenbau, or parallel row, arrangement
celebrated by the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM). Dunaujvaros,
Kazincbarcika, Tiszaszederkeny, and Komlo, Hungary, built in the 1960s and 1970s, are
Entries A–F 821
mining and chemical towns that, like the German towns, combine contemporary
architecture in carefully zoned land uses that separate the industrial activities from the
residential and recreational areas.
Most new towns are mixed economy, and the singleenterprise industrial town is no
longer a sought-after or viable type in North America and Western Europe. However,
secondand third-tier countries, whose economies are based on extracting and processing
raw materials for export, will continue to build industrial towns in locations where
existing towns and lack of transportation are inadequate to meet demands for industrial
growth. These new communities will benefit from the example of the previously
mentioned towns.

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