Utopia and Dystopia in The Future City

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Throughout history man has always felt the need to envision and design ‘the future city’, whether it being one inspired by the concept of Utopia, ruled by technology or one that would go beyond the terrestrial limit of the earth. For a long time in western architecture there has been a fixed connection between utopia and architecture, in particular within the idealization of a ‘The Future City’. Its tradition to consider the Platonic discourse which treats of the idyllic city (the republic) as the first Utopia in this cultural thread. Thomas More nonetheless introduced far after the tangible term; who presented his ideal society as something constructed on a far away utopic island.

From the paintings of the Italian Renaissance, which idealized an antique utopic city (in the past), such as Raffeallo’s ‘The Virgins Wedding’ to the envisioning of a futuristic utopia as in the case of ‘La Citta Ideale’ one can trace the struggle humanity has endeavored in trying to envision such a detached and different world. Fast forward to a few centuries and we see that this obsession with planning for a future city still lives through Le Corbusier’s Radiant City master-plan. A master-plan where the rational and emotional merge through the concept of repetition as a standard, where a true geometrical layout is repetition and subsequently where the result of repetition is the standard, a perfect form. Nonetheless this feeling of optimism embedded in such projects and visions is now long and, with the turn of the century, instead of envisioning and seeking perfection, writers and artists now foresee the future city as something decadent. This sentiment is clearly portrayed through Deeley’s Blade Runner movie where the picture delves into the ...

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... the outcome of 3d modeling of Le Corbusier’s radiant City where the idealized utopic city of the future is doomed to become a dystopia due to the rebellion of the people to the government.



1. Iverson, Margaret. Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory. Boston: MIT Press 1993

2. Le Corbusier. The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1987

3. Meyerson, Martin. Utopian Traditions and the Planning of Cities. Boston: MIT Press 1961

4. Nietzche, Friedrich. The Gay Science, from Kaufaman's translation, Penguin Books, NYC 1968

5. Richard T. LeGates and States Frederic. The City Reader. London: Routledge: 5th edition 2011

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