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Lecture 4

GGRA03H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Richard Barry Parker, Le Corbusier, Ville Radieuse

Course Code
Andre Sorensen

of 6
Lecture 4
Modernity and Utopias
-belief of continuous progress, improvement, technical solutions to problems
-product of Enlightenment and scientific revol. (1650-1750)
orejection of tradition, feudalism and religious rule in Europe
orise of secular ideas, scientific method and capitalism
-19th C: economic growth, scientific advances, optimism on solving social issues
w/technology and good policies
osocial problems = poor housing, pollution, congestion, lack of green space
-related to urban growth and urban industrial development
Modernity and Europe
-modernity was highly Eurocentric
-progress was seen in contrast w/traditional societies who were “less advanced”
-justified European Colonization – “civilizing the world”
-Orientalism – Eurocentric idea that the Middle East, Asia and Africa were
societies that were underdeveloped – Europe = superior
-Ideology – a belief system that is projected as accepted, “normal”
-movement in art, literature and architecture beginning in the early 20th century
-celebrated technology, progress, speed, and simplicity of design
-challenged traditional ideas of art and architecture
-modern movement – 20th century; advocated by CIAM (Congress International
d’Architecture Moderne)
-describes ideas of an ideal or perfect community or society
-abundant food, good housing, beautiful, no poverty
-idea originated by Plato, 4th C BCE
-utopias involve cities and urban planning projects
-“ideal city” – would solve all social problems and conflicts
-utopian thinking popular during times of crisis, war, depression and uncertainty
Thomas More – Utopia 1516
-wrote a detailed vision of a beautiful city
-seen as a direct attack on the King
-political criticism of the current government at that time
-created the word “Utopia”
The City as a Vehicle for Utopia
-debates on physically rebuilding cities to become a Utopia
-assumption that social problems are bound up in urban form – to solve social
problems, the physical environment must be reformed
Lecture 4
oPeople may not agree
oEmbracing traditional ideas; there wouldn’t be any diversity
oThe issue of having the ability to change human nature – human societies
are complex
-contrasts of Utopias (opposite)
-argues a vision of the future in which current problems become dominant and
change society
-often illustrated in modern films – making a political point, warns ppl about the
future; dangerous
-examples: Metropolis (1927), Blade Runner (1982), Koyaanisquatsi (1982)
-critiquing a problematic present
The Uses of Utopia and Dystopia
-debates about alternative designs and visions
-selling new ideas, technologies, critiques
-promoting engineering solutions to complex social/economic problems
The Garden City
-Ebenezer Howard – “peaceful reform”
-To solve urban slums, the industrial city would be gradually emptied out into new,
purpose-built towns in the countryside
-All classes would live in each town, housing would be inexpensive, jobs nearby,
the land would be owned by the town and rented
-Families and children would live near healthy nature
-Argued that expanding land would be useful to handling the industrial city
-Howard's analysis of the urban and rural problem is brilliantly presented in his
'three magnets' diagram
-The answer to the question "The people, where will they go?"
-To Town-Country, or Garden City, where benefits of both urban and rural are
Garden Cities
-Towns were to be set in a municipally owned green belt
-Limited dividend companies were to be set up to build the towns
-Towns would continue to own all land, and would lease it for houses and factories
-Social City of linked towns
Lecture 4
-Problems – everything would be owned by municipal corporations
New Towns
-Howard's followers founded the Garden City Association in 1899
-The group built two garden cities, Letchworth and Welwyn
-The designs by Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker had a huge influence on later
suburban styles
-The social vision of public land ownership fared less well, did not survive
Important Key Concept
-The Garden City
-The Garden City was first proposed by Ebenezer Howard in 1898 in his book,
Tomorrow: A peaceful path to real reform’
-Extremely influential, beginning of Garden Cities and Town Planning movement
that helped to create first planning laws in UK
-Built two towns before WW2, Letchworth and Welwyn
-New Towns, Greenbelts, suburban housing design all greatly influenced by this
-Thomas Adams was Secretary of Town and Country Planning Association, came
to Canada in 1920s and drafted first Canadian planning legislation
20th Century City Modern Movement
-modern movement = new urban forms, designed around cars, rapid transit,
-CIAM – Congress Internationale d’Architecture Moderne
-The Functional City -> proposed by CIAM
oSocial problems could be resolved by strict functional segregation
oDistribution of population into tall apartment blocks @ spaced intervals
-Traditional cities = worthless; be destroyed and replaced
-Totalitarian Architecture
Plan Voisin