Form of urban planning designed to relocate populations away from large cities by grouping homes, hospitals, industry and cultural, recreational, and shopping centers to form entirely new, relatively autonomous communities. The new-town movement was anticipated by the Utopian Ebenezer Howard in the early 20th century (see garden city). The first official new towns were proposed in Britain's New Towns Act of 1946. The idea found favor in other countries, especially in the U.S., Western Europe, and Soviet Siberia. New towns outside Britain often failed to incorporate enough of the mixed-use atmosphere that gives a town vitality. A dramatic increase in commuting and use of the car obviated the need for new towns to be so self-contained.
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