Every dooryard a park

From Sylvester Baxter’s 1893 report on Boston’s metropolitan parks—five years before the first publication of Ebenezer Howard’s “garden cities” book.

An ideal urban community would combine the advantages of both town and country, and there is an unmistakable tendency to-day in the development of our modern social conditions to bring the country to the town and carry the town to the country. That is, with the facilities of quick transit, our rural communities are gaining more and more of the advantages that hitherto have been exclusively urban; while, on the other hand, the advantages possessed by the natural life of the country are becoming more and more appreciated by the cities, and the latter are gradually shaping themselves accordingly. For instance, this is seen in the desire to get rid of the noise and confusion of city life, in the vastly increasing esteem in which out-door life and amusements, and the athletic development gained thereby, are held by city people, and the part which great parks and public gardens are assuming in the social economy of our cities.

An ideal city would be one which would take every possible advantage of its site, and which would so alternate open spaces with areas occupied by dwellings that it would practically occupy one vast garden. A city planned in this way, beside its frequent great parks and its water-side esplanades, driveways and other reservations, would probably have its houses so arranged around pleasant garden-like open spaces, with such facilities for out-door enjoyment as we have mentioned, that every dwelling would face upon a pleasure ground of some kind.

Sylvester Baxter, Report of the Secretary in Report of the [Massachusetts] Board of Metropolitan Park Commissioners, House Document No. 150, (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1893), p. 72.