In 1903, the theory of building a garden city proposed by a British scholar Howard by the end of the 19th century drove the British government to build the world's first garden-city-like satellite town, Letchworth, in the suburbs 56 kilometers to the north of London.
Then in 1920 the second satellite town Welwyn Garden City was established in a place 35 kilometers to London. It was London's intensifying housing pressure that triggered the construction of the two satellite towns. Focusing on their residential function, these two satellite towns were lacking in urban functions. British's first round of satellite town attempt was not that successful.
In the 1940s, the second surge of satellite town construction hit Britain. At first, the British government made a Greater London Plan, which was to divide the radius area of 48 kilometers of downtown London into four concentric circle belts, namely, urban internal ring, suburban ring, green belt ring and rural external ring. Later, eight satellite towns were set up within the radius area of 50 kilometers of downtown London. The construction of the eight satellite towns aimed to establish communities featuring the integration of residence and working, internal balance and self-containment. In addition to residence, priority was given to the launch of industrial projects in satellite towns to address a potential employment issue in case population increases in the future. Although this round of satellite town construction failed to disperse the population burden of downtown London, it significantly checked the crazy influx of transient population.
The Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1909 set forth a British urban planning system.
In 1946, the British Parliament approved Act of Satellite Town, legally defining the principles and strategies of building satellite towns.
In 1952, Town and Country Planning Act was issued, intending to rebuild and expand old towns surrounding London.
In the 1960s, a Greater London Plan was made to arrange construction cost, the capability of attracting industry and population in details.
Regarding city development, the construction of satellite towns in London was planned as a whole by development companies, whose leaderships were strictly screened and finalized by the government. However, once the development process started, the government was forbidden from over intervening in concrete operation.