Radburn, New Jersey – Fair Lawn, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura

Radburn, New Jersey

Fair Lawn, New Jersey

The first neighborhood to implement the Garden City model in its suburban planning.  

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What may seem like an unassuming little suburb outside of New York City, Radburn holds the distinction of being a pioneer in urban planning. 

In response to the increase in car ownership during the 1920s, the Radburn neighborhood was designed so that houses’ front doors face a network of sidewalks, parks, schools, and community centers. On the other hand, back doors faced the street. It was believed that this format would be better for pedestrians and drivers. The experiment caught on and spread across Europe and Australia. However, the design eventually fell out of public favor. It was feared that the all-encompassing design was seen as a catalyst for increased crime.