Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s Garden Cities
During the early 20th century, architects Clarence Stein and Henry Wright founded the Garden city movement in the United States. Their purpose was to design viable communities as a solution to the complex problems faced by the nation as it was being transformed into an urban society by the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution.
During two decades, Clarence Stein and his talented collaborators designed and constructed several Garden cities on the east coast, the mid-west, and finally in Southern California. Their community designs dealt with solving the recurring problems of an urban society— high density, lack of affordable housing, and a compromise in the quality of life for the common man.
The administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt funded several of these community projects in its efforts to provide adequate housing and build communities during the Great Depression.
Later, Stein wrote Toward New Towns in America (1950), which described how he and his colleagues designed and built these Garden cities. Stein’s book continues to exert national and international influence on how new communities are to be designed in today’s modern society.
Below is a list of the Stein Garden Cities, along with links to their historic nominations and current websites.
National Register and New York City Landmarks
Sunnyside Gardens and Phipps Garden Apartments (1984/2007)
New York City
No Historic Certification
Hillside Homes Apartments eastchesterheights.com
New York City
Cornell University is the major research center for the study of the American Garden Cities and the international Garden City movement.
The Clarence S. Stein Institute of Urban and Landscape Studies
Over two decades, it has supported research projects in the design and preservation of communities that meet contemporary needs and promote human rights.
- Michael Tomlan (second director) gave expert assistance to the preparation of the Baldwin Hills Village nomination (1996 to 1999). This work established the federal government's theme study (or survey) for the Stein Garden cities. It also advanced the new National Historic Landmark category for town planning.
- Kermit C. Parson (first director) contributed significantly to the research for the Garden cities' National Landmark nominations. He is the author of The Writings of Clarence S. Stein: Architect of the Planned Community (1998).
- Kristin Larsen (scholar with the Stein Institute) is the author of Stein's biography and the making of nine National Landmark Garden cities---Community Architect: The Life and Vision of Clarence S. Stein (2016).
- Contains Stein and Wright's archives with documents describing the design and construction of the Landmark Garden cities. Located at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Online guides are available.
- Contains dissertations relating to the Stein Institute's continual research on the Landmark Garden cities and the international Garden city movement.
Updated February 2017