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Lecture 4

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Andre Sorensen

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Lecture 4
Utopia and Dystopia
Urban crisis
- last week talked of the urban crisis in industrial cities
- radical changes of technology, society and living environments
- technological solutions: piped water, sewers electricity parks playgrounds
- social solutions: democracy, municipal services, infrastructure, free public
schools, public health, social housing, unemployment insurance, health care
- highly contested- fought over
city and country
- also a new conception of the relationship between people and environment
- split between country and city
- city as man made environment, technological solutions
- parks as a simulacra of nature green spaces pretending to be natural
- modernism: belief of continuous progress, improvement, technical solutions
to problems
- but what city? Whose city? Whose vision?
The uses of utopia and dystopia
- imagining different future
- seeing existing world from a different viewpoint
- warning of possible terrible futures
- critiquing a problematic present
- political commentary
- a setting for alternative designs and visions
- selling new ideas, technologies, interpretations
- promoting engineering solutions to complex social and economic problems
the city as a vehicle for utopia
- throughout history prominent thinking about alternative arrangements of
society, economy, class, and family have been framed in par through plans for
the physical rebuilding cities
- assumption is that the problem is bound up in the form of the city
- to solve one, the other must also be reformed
- does this make sense?
Le Corbusier- the radiant city
- attacks the idea of the garden city
- Plan Viosin
20th century city design radicalism
- modern movement, city functional advocated radically new urban forms
designed around cars, rapid transit, functionalism
- CIAM congress Internationale d Architecture Moderne
- The functional city- CIAM proposed that the social problems faced by cities
could be resolved by strict functional segregation and the distribution of the
population into tall apartment blocks at widely spaced intervals
- Objected to ornamentation argued for simplicity form follows a function
- Traditional cities seen as worthless to be destroyed and replaced
- mega structures
- clearance and renewal
- the concept of Tabula Raza- one of the most powerful ideas of the 20th
century, clean slate, designing a brand new town
- the city functional
- master planned communities
- ownership
- technology
- people