Arden, Delaware

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Arden is a village and art colony in New Castle County, Delaware, in the United States, founded in 1900 as a radical Georgist single-tax community by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price. The village occupies about 160 acres, with half kept as open land. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the village is 484.[2] In 1973, the entire village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two neighboring villages of similar size were founded on Georgist principles, Ardentown, in 1922, and Ardencroft, in 1950. In 2003 they were also listed on the NRHP. Many Ardenites, as the villagers of Arden are called, consider themselves to be "close-knit, nature-loving, liberal, tolerant, free-spirited, artistic, intellectual, even ex-hippie."[3]

Contents

History

Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price, based on ideas such as Henry George's single-tax, William Morris’s Arts and Crafts principles.[3][4] and Peter Kropotkin's theories of community. Philanthropist Joseph Fels funded the project.

The single-tax movement, popular in the U.S. and other countries from the 1890s until the 1930s, believed that the best way to raise government money was to tax only the value of unimproved land and the public-created value, like roads, added to the land. The tax, based on a systematized assessment, would recover both the value of natural resources and public investment for the public, while not impeding labor and capital from profiting from their efforts. Followers of Henry George's philosophy of economics created Arden as an experiment in the single-tax idea after a failed attempt to implement Georgism in the entire State of Delaware to its philosophy in the late 19th century.

William Morris, an Englishman, rebelled against modern cities and industry. He advocated a return to craft production, good design, and village life. While Kropotkin was primarily an anarchistic communist, many of his ideas regarding social and community living were used by the founders of Arden to advance William Morris' ideas for the return to village life.

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