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As one of the world's first new towns and the first garden city it had great influence on future town planning and the New towns movement; it influenced Welwyn Garden City, which used a similar approach and inspired other projects around the world including the Australian capital Canberra, Hellerau, Germany, Tapanila, Finland, and Mežaparks in Latvia.) There is a link to town planning in Stalingrad through the architect V. Semionov and an account of Lenin visiting the town when he visited England for a congress of the Russian Bolshevik party, then banned in Russia.

The village was located along the road now called Letchworth Lane, stretching from St Mary's and the adjoining medieval manor house (now Letchworth Hall Hotel) up to the crossroads of Letchworth Lane, Hitchin Road, Baldock Road and Spring Road, where there was a post office.

The book also advocated a rudimentary form of competitive tendering, whereby the municipality would purchase services, such as water, fuel, waste disposal, etc., from (often local) commercial providers.The town was laid out by Raymond Unwin as a demonstration of the principles established by Ebenezer Howard who sought to create an alternative to the industrial city by combining the best of town and country living.It is also home to the United Kingdom's first roundabout, which was built in 1909.These systems were never fully implemented, in Letchworth, Welwyn or their numerous imitators.A competition was held to find a town design which could translate Howard's ideas into reality, and September 1903 the company "First Garden City Ltd." was formed, Richard Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin were appointed architects, and 6 square miles (16 km²) of land outside Hitchin were purchased for building.

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