Research Paper- Utopias_Essay - The Emergence of Utopian...

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The Emergence of Utopian Planning: A Brief Description of the History, Major Influences, Contributions, as well as Strengths and Limitations of the Utopian Approach. The Promise and Pitfalls of Contemporary Urban Planning Professor Arturo Ignacio Sanchez 11/18/2008
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During the 1890s-1900s the Industrial Revolution coupled with urbanization caused corruption in government, social inequality among the working class and economic turmoil within our nation’s developing cities. This paper will examine the consequential emergence of the Utopian Planning Movement, its intellectual influences and their contributions, as well as the strengths and limitations of the utopian approach. Urban utopias were theoretical framework for ideal cities. Rather than blueprints for actual development, Utopias were more or less detailed models designed to demonstrate principles for social harmony within cities. Advocates of utopian planning battled explosive growth as well as laissez faire theories which were thought to have contributed to uncontrollable development of American cities. They believed that an urban transformation was both vital and inevitable. Extensive reconstruction, as well as, abandonment of cities was necessary in order for this proposed transformation to unfold. Men such as Robert Owen, Charles Fourier and, arguably the three most prominent, Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright were supporters of the Utopian Movement. These men knew that the industrial city embodied everything but social cohesion, equality, and distribution of wealth and power. At the height of the City Beautiful Movement Howard, Le Corbusier, and Wright criticized the idea that physical facilities could alone solve social problems. Therefore, they often found themselves working alone, trying to create a solution to the city –country dilemma. Ultimately their ideal cities called for a rethinking of conventional urban planning; one that would entail beauty, rationality, and social justice. “They were the manifestoes for an urban revolution” (Fainstein, 22). Howard, Le Corbusier and Wright did not entirely formulate their ideal cities alone. They were-in part influenced by early nineteenth century utopian socialists who were further swayed by the even earlier tradition(s) of Plato’s Republic and later Sir Thomas More’s Utopia .
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(Bobonich, 1). These reformers such as Robert Owen (1771-1858), Charles Fourier (1772-1837), and Henri de Saint Simon created elaborate portrayals of communities that avoided class struggles fashioned by the Industrial Revolution. Owen paid particular attention to the improvement of factory workers’ living conditions and made a variety of innovations with the need for a better quality of life in mind. Around 1810 Owen planned a model for an ideal, rural, and self-sustaining community. The community would consist of approximately 800-1200 inhabitants with a large centralized public space surrounded on one side by low-rise housing, and
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This essay was uploaded on 02/19/2009 for the course CRP 2000 taught by Professor Arturosanchez during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Research Paper- Utopias_Essay - The Emergence of Utopian...

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