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Week 8 Lecture Note

Course Code
John Hannigan

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Frank Lloyd Wright Broadacre City
Frank Lloyd Wright = the final utopian thinker
Brilliant architect, completely convinced genius
Grew up in Wisconsin, poor student, left home, and ended up in architect office in
Found his purpose of life, teamed up with the other guy in architect office and designed
suburban homes
Became one of the most popular leading designers with suburban homes for middle
class in Chicago, in community Oak Park
Caught the eye of leading millionaire at the time, the guy who was largely responsible
for running the stockyards in Chicago, married his daughter and moved to upper class
in suburbs
Thought his life was set, but then fell in love with clients life, ditched his wife/family
and scandalized everybody and ultimately left US for Europe
Then as we move on, he stayed for a while, came back to US, decides to build his
greenhouse in Wisconsin and is a huge innovation when it comes to design because he
built an ecological design
Tragedy hits, happens to be away from Chicago in a mentally ill servant, burns down
the house with all his life and kids in it and house was burned down and devastated
Sits into a depression, moves into countries like Japan and observed various designs in
Japan and used them in US
Ditched Europe and returned to US
One of his romantic interests suggests he was charged and put in jail, finally he gets his
personal life turned around and he continues to design houses and build as an architect
In a way, he was the one who built modernistic house, his idea was what society and
cities looked like, came up with utopian notion/ideal city called Broadacre City
In a way, this is misleading because his solution in fact is to totally do a away with cities
Comes up with a scheme, which among other things recommends that every family in
the US be given one acre of land, and build the house on that acre, basically this is a
way of deurbanizing, and gets the ultimate solution in terms of closing down the
industrial city, as the industrial city is evil and provides a number of problems, so
decides to tear it down and dont build cities
Was a complete opposite of society
Utopian idea is completely based on decentralization
What he foresees is a nation which is made up of independent farmers and
proprietors the industrial economy shifts to something else
When he got his ideas in 1920s, in the midst of high point of urban industrial society
and this architect comes around and says do away with factories and shift back to
society, which is farming
In some ways, the manufacturing in economy has in significant ways gone down, in
many ways were moving to economies based on service industries and high tech, and the
old industrial economy disappeared
There are a few elements of Broadacre City which should be noted:

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oUniversal ownership of land: 1 acre per family do with whatever you like,
but most of them would be part-time farmers
But not everybody wants to be farmers and live out in the countryside,
basically have a distance among others
You cant be certain with this universal ownership of land that everybody
will hold onto their one acre unless you restrict places, there are all sorts
of ways to lose
oNo rent
Everybody will then go from being renters to owners
This suggests that renting is an urban evil, renting is what gives rise to
Do away with renting and landlords, and everybody becomes the land
This taps into a kind of ideology in US which is still strong when you
read about the tea party that has been hijacked, everybody should be
independent, its only by being a communist that you achieve freedom
So renters should be demolished
This notion can be tapped into from an influential writer from 19th
century called Henry George
Technically speaking, it was possible a few problems along the way, what if people own
the land already, you need to expropriate the land and hurtles obstacles for imposing a
scheme like this
Be part-time farmers and earn some extra money, smaller time on entrepreneurs
Where would they get their food and other goods? In and amongst these millions of acre
plots, we would run superhighways and people who wanted to get around in these acre
property, they could go on superhighways
Where would they drive to? Giant roadside markets = situated where the highways
cross, where people would go to buy food and other kinds of consumer goods
Many years ago, he decided to do something San Francisco people wanted added wine
Garden City by Ebenezer Howard believed that everybody not matter where they live
would be able to walk to places
This is same in Broadacre City, but rather than being able to walk, you could drive and
travel at 60 km/h and reach neighbours within 15 minutes
Frank Lloyd Wright is really looking into the future and describing suburbs
reorientation of city, is complete opposite of Garden City
Fundamental rule of his design of Broadacre City was that there must no physical
separation between rural and urban areas
Broadacre City was planned to ensure factories was not manufacturing based, stores
and office buildings are amidst farmlands and forests, its all interconnected with
highways and cars
There are few things that he didnt think through:
oPollution had factories and roads, its not that it leaves no ecological footprint
Industrial pollution affects crops
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