The garden city idea has spread rapidly since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are garden cities all over the western world - created at different times, under different conditions, in different structural forms and with different goals and aspirations. Even in the recent past and in the present, initiatives, architects and urban planners are opting for the garden city as a model in their search for sustainable settlement models.
Despite the original cross-country and cross-system approach of the fathers and mothers of the garden city movement, there is no network today that could serve these settlements and their inhabitants to exchange ideas. The 'International Garden Cities and Town Planning Association' founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1913 (today: International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) based in The Hague) pursues other goals.
However, an exchange of garden cities on a civic level is desirable and meaningful: Garden cities have a common or comparable history of origin and pursue similar goals, which were or still are linked to political, social and partly life-reforming concerns. Moreover, the settlements and their inhabitants are confronted with very similar problems today - be they of an economic, social, structural or demographic nature. An exchange among the garden cities can provide ideas and approaches to solutions.
The upcoming anniversary of the garden city Hellerau is therefore taken as an opportunity to establish such a network, which offers garden city residents and associations as well as all those entrusted with the administration, preservation, mediation and development of garden cities or those interested in them the opportunity for international contact and exchange.
The undersigned declare the following intentions:
- The "European Garden City Network" is a voluntary "garden city partnership"; it sees itself as a "contact exchange". No private persons are involved in the network, but representatives from local parliaments and administrations, cooperatives, associations and initiatives from garden cities in Europe. With the help of the network, garden cities should be able to exchange information about their own concerns as well as to keep the interest in the garden city alive in the public and to remind that garden cities are a significant contribution to the European urban culture.
- Initiator and initially also coordinator of the network is the "Verein Bürgerschaft Hellerau e.V." with its headquarters in Dresden Hellerau. In order to keep the organizational effort as low as possible, the task of the coordinator is mainly to provide and maintain an internet platform. The role of the coordinator can rotate among the network partners.
- The inclusion of a garden city in the network, represented by one of the above-mentioned institutions, is voluntary and free of charge upon written request to the coordinator. The coordinator will forward the request to the network partners for their information. If no objections are raised by these against the admission, the admission is confirmed. This does not result in any legal ties or other obligations for either party. The withdrawal takes place unilaterally to the knowledge.
- Each network partner appoints a representative who acts as a contact person for the other network partners.
- The network offers its network partners the opportunity for regular exchange on an international level. During mutual visits, the network partners get to know the specific strengths and problems of the other participating garden cities and thus receive suggestions for their own questions and activities.
- A common internet platform serves as the basis for the organization and external presentation of the network. On this platform the present charter and the current network partners with the respective contact persons are presented. The coordinator of the network is responsible for providing and maintaining the website. Each partner is given the opportunity to link this platform to its own website in order to provide further information for interested parties. In the foundation phase the website www.100-Jahre-Hellerau.de takes over this function.
Dresden Hellerau, June 8, 2008
The first signatories of this charter are:
- Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, UK (est. 1907)
Mervyn Miller (Life President Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust, UK)
- Garden City Marga, Senftenberg-Brieske (founded in 1907)
Elke Löwe (1st Deputy Mayor of Senftenberg)
Christina Nicklisch (Mayor of the district Brieske-Marga)
- Garden City Karlsruhe (founded in 1907)
Ralf Neudeck (Chairman of the board of Gartenstadt Karlsruhe eG)
- Garden City Hellerau, Dresden (founded 1908)
Wolfgang Gröger (Citizens' Association Hellerau e.V.)
Carola Klotz (Citizens' Association Hellerau e.V.)
- Gartenstadt Wandsbek, Hamburg (founded 1910)
Hans-Peter Siebert (Chairman Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft Gartenstadt Wandsbek eG)
- Gartenstadt Mannheim (est. 1910)
Heinz Egermann (Chairman of the citizens' association Mannheim - Gartenstadt)
- Gartenstadt Falkenberg, Berlin (founded 1912)
Sylvia Walleczek (Berliner Bau- und Wohnungsgenossenschaft von 1892 eG)
- Podkowa Leśna (b. Warsaw), PL (1925)
Andrzej Kościelny (mayor)
Jacek Wojnarowski (Chairman of the Association "Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Miasta-Ogrodu Podkowa Leśna")