New Urbanism in The Truman Show Essay

New Urbanism in The Truman Show Essay

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The Town of Seahaven Island is spiritually uplifting, quaint, and completely artificial. Everything and everyone, including the main character, Truman, are predictable in habit and pattern. Nothing happens spontaneously or out of synch. When Truman steps out of his usual routine, the entire town must leap into choreography of damage control. Carefully anticipated, controlled perfection must be restored, but this portrayal of contemporary urban life, however exaggerated, may be inappropriate (Rees; 2003; 104). New Urbanists believe physical design can influence behaviours and attitudes and cause organic evolution of ideal communities. In fact, romanticizing the village model through architectural codification and rules of development may be less engaging than vague and bland. Several criticisms of the New Urbanism style of community, versions of which are becoming extremely privatized, have been discussed. The New Urbanism regime of community is utopian and unnatural—a contradiction of the very ideals purported.
New Urbanism is “family values architecture” of middle-class conservatism (Rees; 103). The simulated island portrayed in this film is certainly that. There are no distinctions of citizen wealth; everyone has a job except for the father who is initially portrayed as a wildly uncharacteristic homeless person. There are even an inordinate number of street sweepers and window washers. The costumes are decidedly 1950’s conservative values in style. These symbols are as stereotypical as the architecture, invoking a sense of pretense rather than the social transformation New Urbanists advance as “new” and therefore “good”. The New Urbanist outlook is one calling for an attractive, usable and democratic public commun...


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...gle of totality (anything that is not New Urbanist is “bad”), the premise of New Urbanism being postmodern is confusing. “The location of New Urbanism both inside and outside postmodernism is as much a suggestion of the tensions within the definitions of postmodernism developed among architectural critics and cultural critics as it is a reflection of the movement” (Rees; 100). The Christof character expresses, “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” Unfortunately, it is the escalating degree to which existing with each other seems to be regulated—and worse, regulated from within—that causes concern that the domino effect of withdrawal from larger society will occur. That may be Utopia for some; it is completely synthetic for most. The New Urbanist design and codification is unlikely to be sufficient to allow a community to evolve.


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