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GGRA03H3 (139)

January 28

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Andre Sorensen

Week 4- Utopias and Idea of Modernity Urban crisis (last week) - Associated with the industrial revolution and urban growth that led to disastrous living conditions in N.Aand Europe. Polluted environments with expansion on industry with little infrastructure (sewage and transit system) - Different solutions that appeared in this urban transformation o Technological: sewers, street cleaning, paving, electricity to avoid burning cold, parks children to play around and be physically fit o Social solutions: social housing, health care (all done at municipal level first) these ideas and solutions to solving problems of industrial cities were deeply contested o When people proposed that a municipal gov should invest in building better sewer systems and health care, some people did not want to raise the taxes o The other idea was the spread of market relations throughout society o Many aspects of urban living provided within families and merchant houses were bought in open markets. o Most people received housing from institutions and employers (it was a problem and caused radical decline in housing for poor people) Modernity - (due to rapid technological growth) electrical industry, steel industry etc. - sudden expansion of new technological society - people saw this productive capacity of new technology as an indication that the world will get better significantly and potential way of solving other problems that were being created by industrial cities - there was incredible optimism - thru research and science and investments/changes in social organization and cities there will be continuous process to better world - that sense of growth and optimism is related to the fact that cities were expanding were taking larger shares of population and taking people from rural areas that were backwards. - They were seen as the past (rural, poverty, low technology, lack of education) country side was the unchanging, poor, uneducated etc. (negative light) - This dichotomy gets reinforced during this period (this was the idea of modernity) - This ideology of progress/possibility became a hegemonic idea of the time (it was unquestioned) something people do not question but carry with it a number of problematic ideas - One of those were that modernity was bound up with Eurocentricism Modernity and Europe - these ideas were associated with Europe and it was going to wipe away traditional ideas (backward ideas) - Europe was thought to be advanced compared other parts of the world - The idea that modernity would overcome tradition partly tradition based in rural and the dominance of the Christian church - As well as tradition represented by the rest of the world - It was used to justify that colonization project - Orientalism – describes European dominance around the world - Syed examines the intellectual ideas that justify imperialism and Europe being so advanced - Modernity was used to transmit another set of ideas that were not discussed - Which included (sets of values of what is important, who is important, racial stereotypes, backward races and advanced races, embedded racism in these ideas, technology is neutral Modernity and the city - the assumption is that the city could reason problems with technology and applying these technological solutions - the idea that an ideal city was achievable became widely accepted - it made sense (some solutions to urban problems eg. Cholera diminishing in cities) - the other assumption that was equally problematic was that progress will eliminate poverty - because production was so much greater (work of Owens) - people though they were able to come up with solutions and implement them in a short time (part of modern project) Modernity: starts with enlightenment when there was early signs of scientific revolution in Europe. Rejection of the churches ability to dictate knowledge.And also rejection of feudalism, economic control of feudal lords, creation of independent governments etc Modernism: it relates to art movement. There is a continuous progress in art and that the technology and different thinking + rejection of tradition occurs in literature and art and creates modernist movements (architecture). It celebrates new material and speed and this challenge of modern architect vs. traditional architecture Utopia - closely associated with idea of progress and improving the world radically - a utopia is an ideal society - Plato’s ideal city (urban utopia, well governed, nice water supply etc) - They always describe a place (not abstract and placeless) have prescribed a specific urban design but they social organization (lacking poverty etc) the idea that ideal city will solve social problems - The many utopias seem to be created in times of crisis’s (Wars, famines) - Thought of in the 19 centaury - It makes sense to think like this (solution found in building a better physical cities) - Many ideas centered around a particular urban design - Thomas more coined the term in 1516 - It is an imaginary place (this is when European explorers are discovering) The city as a Vehicle for Utopia - removing slums and rebuilding on top of it - changing urban forms may solve social and economic problems and crimes ( this proved to be wrong) Dystopia - imagining a terrible future (the opposite of utopia) - projecting forward existing problems and magnifying and making it extreme - these dystopias are people making a case about existing problems - many films are about how cities have gone wrong The uses of Utopia and Dystopia - it is imagining a different future - you can see it as things getting better or worse - see things from a different set of values or pov - it is proposing a solution - dystopia is a warning of terrible fut
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