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Cultures, Communities and Design

Concept of Garden city in Wrocław (Breslau) after World War I
E. Naworska


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The presentation aims to present trends in urban planning and architecture of the first half of the 20th century, which can still be continued as they have successfully passed the test of time. Criticism of the great 19th-century city in the following aspects: social, hygienic, aesthetic, technical, functional, and cultural resulted in a breakthrough in the perception of urban problems. The garden city model developed by Ebenezer Howard was of great importance, followed by the concept of expanding the city with the satellite system of Robert Unwin. The implementation of the concept of a garden city was an attempt to implement at the threshold of the 20th century a utopian vision of an ideal city, which was to be a response to the overpopulation and low standard of living of the inhabitants of large agglomerations. In 1921, the Wrocław municipality announced a competition for the concept of a development plan for the city of Wrocław (Breslau) and its suburbs. Following the example of Howard and Unwin, Ernst May and Herbert Boehm proposed to move the expansion into a zone of new low-rise housing estates, which, as satellites with their infrastructure, would surround their home city in the form of a ring. The jury found the idea worthy of attention and awarded the project with a special award. Critics, on the other hand, noticed and pointed out the rigidity of the assumed system. As a result of a dispute and rejection of the concept, May left Wrocław in 1925, taking the position of a new construction advisor in Frankfurt am Main, and there he created the world-famous “Das Neue Frankfurt”. The garden city movement – despite the lack of a victory for May and his green satellite cities – brought projects also to Wrocław. The most famous housing estates – Sępolno and Karłowice, have stood the test of time well. They continue to gain positive opinions from their users who, according to Howard’s concept, enjoy the charms of living in the city, while admiring the beauty of the nearby nature and the timeless interwar architecture.


My name is Edyta Naworska and I am an architect and PhD candidate. My proposal of the article is based on my research carried out as part of the preparation of a doctoral dissertation on Wrocław (Breslau) before World War II. I graduated from Wrocław University of Science and Technology in 2021 with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning. Currently, I work in the well-known and awarded architectural studio PORT as an architect and project coordinator.