Piece of Cake PR

Battle for the Garden City: New Book Showcases 20th Century Breakthrough in City Planning History

In 1894, Britain’s Sir Ebenezer Howard spawned a city planning concept that would change the urban world forever. In 2012, more than 110 years after it was conceived, writer Jan Jansen examines how the concept was applied to Zion, Illinois – a city which boasts a rocky yet fascinating history.


Green Bay, WI -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/13/2012 -- To those living in Zion, Illinois, their city may feel no different from thousands of similar areas up and down the country. However, the land they live on holds the accolade of being part of a master grand –plan in city building history. Now, for the first time ever, the city’s history and life is being showcased in full literary glory.

Battle for the Garden City: Zion, Illinois in the 20th Century, by Jan Jansen, offers a fascinating and rich insight into a city that was completely pre-planned, yet suffered a series of unplanned setbacks. As the book’s synopsis proves, it’s a text that offers an inside view of game-changing city planning tactics.


The story of the Battle For The Garden City, or in short, the battle for Zion, is the history of a city-building event in the first half of the twentieth-century and the dynamics that transpired, culminating in the modern "Garden City" of Zion, Illinois. Zion Illinois was totally preplanned before building began in 1901 and is planned according to the Ebenezer Howard idea known as the Garden City. The city of Letchworth in England, near London has been believed to be the first Garden City. Jansen argues that Zion in Illinois is the first Garden City.

As the author explains, the book chronicles an important part of U.S and city planning history.

“Battle For The Garden City is important because it argues that the city of Zion is the first city in the United States designed and built according to the Garden City concept formulated in 1894 by British-inventor, Ebenezer Howard,” explains Jansen, a History Lecturer at the the University of Wisconsin-Marinette.

Continuing, “Historians and city planners have long believed that Radburn, New Jersey, partially designed on the Howard idea in 1927-28, was the first United States "Garden City". Further, because the construction of Zion was begun in 1901, predating Letchworth, England, Zion, Illinois is the first Howard, Garden City, in the world.”

The book exposes the city’s glorious grand design, as well as the political war it generated and its fall and rise from bankruptcy. In short, it’s a text that opens up the world of 20th century city planning like never before.

“Many have forgotten the glorious era of Garden City planning. This book offers a journey through the history of one of America’s best achievements; something modern planning just can’t match,” Jansen adds.

Battle for the Garden City, published by My Sister Publishing Company, is available from: http://www.mysisterpub.com

About Jan Jansen
Jan Jansen is a history lecturer with the University of Wisconsin-Marinette. Jan received her master's degree in urban history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Jan was born in Illinois and grew up in Zion. She presently lives in Wisconsin where she teaches and writes novels for fun. Jan founded the publishing house of My Sister Publishing and named the company in honor of her sister, an aspiring writer of children's books.