GGRA03H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Modern Architecture, Utopia, Eurocentrism
by Hal Zoubaidi
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Lecture #4 (January 28, 2014)
- Urban crisis:
- Parks were an urban technology for playing fields that children use to stay healthy.
- It also helped cleanse oxygen and provided greenery
- Most municipal governments were not elected
- Social housing, unemployment insurance, & health care were municipal affairs before becoming
- It helped to create healthier workers, who could work, and boost the economy
- Europe and North America caught up to Britain’s development
- Cities were taking a larger population from rural areas, but while the city advanced and became
wealthier, its rural immigrants were still unchanged, uneducated, dirty, and poor.
- Modernity & Europe:
- Europe was still more advanced than the rest of the world due to its new technologies.
- Japan, Thailand, Ottoman Empire (Turkey), few places in Africa, were not conquered by Europe.
- Places that were conquered had their governments, economy, & religion replaced with a new one
- Orientalism: The Euro-centric idea that the Middle East, Asia, & Africa societies were static &
undeveloped, while Europe was developed, rational, & superior
- Modernity & the city:
- Images and art depicted the city’s future & progress
- Modern architecture includes glass buildings
- Thomas More created the word “utopia” in 1516
- It is unsure whether the place he described actually existed or if he was making it up
- Plato described his Utopia as governed place with sunshine, clean water & in good location, etc.
- Some ideal city plans address poor quality housing, horse manure on the streets, etc
- Fallacy of Utopia: Remove horses so that their manure is removed from the street. Several years
later, cars are causing more pollution than the manure is.
- Slums were eradicated and replaced with high buildings and new houses.
- Dystopia: Movies with disasters happening to cities are examples
- The uses of Utopia & Dystopia: Utopia is seen as the result of scientific engineering
- The Garden City was seen as an ideal Utopian city
- Ebenezer Howard created it & wrote a book called “Tomorrow” which stated how his Garden City
would help save money for the area in the future
- People lived in the suburbs surrounded by nature, but worked in the city full of pollution
- The Garden City allowed for people to work and live in the same place, but this idea didn’t work
- Despite this, the Garden City Association still helped design the new kind of town.
- Thomas Adams was the secretary of the Garden City Association, & he came to Canada to write
the first city planning legislation of the country
- Le Corbusier was Swiss but worked mostly in France
- Jane Jacobs critiqued his work and other modern model plans
- Megastructures were solutions but were hard to change after.
- Megastructure example: SW & HW’s connection.
- Tabula Raza: Blank/empty space
- People had to find another place to live because their land was to be used for other purposes
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