Urban Addendum

City planning finds its validation in the intuitive recognition that a burgeoning market society can not be trusted to produce spontaneously a habitable, sanitary, or even efficient city, much less a beautiful one. - Murray Bookchin, The Limits of the City (1986).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Designing the "ideal" city... (Post No1)

The "utopian" or "ideal" city is an idea that forms the dream of every urban planner. In the "Visions of Utopia" , Parker starts his timeline with Luskin's "Civic revivalism" and  Howard's "Garden cities". However, the idea of how the perfect city has to be, started to develop much earlier from Plato's "Kallipolis" (Republic) to the city model of 10,000 citizens of Hippodamus and the model proposed in the "De architectura libri decem" of  Vitruvius. In 1516 Thomas More in "Utopia" describes ideal societies and perfect cities and between  1850 – 1870 Haussmann's Renovation of Paris established the foundation of what is today the popular representation of the French capital.
One of the most controversial idea of how a city should be, has developed by LeCorbusier in his "Contemporary City", were he tries to provide better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. However, his urban design theories have exceedingly being criticized for breaking the social ties and the community character (Jacobs etc). Also, in Fishman's "Bourgeoi's utopias", there is an analysis of the history of the movement of the Anglo-American middle class to the suburbs, another unsuccessful model, that is connected with "bedroom cities" and "urban sprawl". And what about the temporary urban theories, such as "Smart growth" and "New urbanism"? Are they another attempt to rediscover the ideal city? Or they just reproduce ideas of the past?