Role of Utopia for Design of Future Cities: Utopia in Urban Planning Literature

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Saturday 30 December 2023

Ganjavie, A. Studies in Literature and Language 5, no. 3 (2012): 10-19  

Ganjavie argues against a Utopian model being applied to cities yet states that there is still a place for utopianism in urban planning. This article discerns between a singular utopia and many utopias, as utopia and the concept of utopia are constantly evolving. Classical utopian ideals would desire wealth, good education, and health for all, whereas a current utopian society would consider things such as sustainable development, globalisation, and gender equality as well. The claims of classical utopias have lost their importance. Diversity, pluralism, and tolerance must play a larger role in Utopia.  

The article states that there are two functions for utopian thinking in urban planning. One, to use utopian models as a laboratory to think about the future, to innovate and improve. The second is to present catastrophic scenarios and dystopian futures in order to educate citizens. The Utopian model is too static and fixed for an ever-changing world. Additionally, it generalises the political, economic, and social issues of the area it has been used on, without outside considerations. Therefore, using a utopian lens or utopian thinking allows for nuance and applied situations. Ganjavie argues against a Utopian model yet believes that the mindset of utopia should not be lost and should still be applied to cities. Overall, the article argues that this utopian lens can be useful for visualising future peace, and peacebuilding opportunities, but context should always be applied.  

Other library entries, such as ‘The Challenge of Conflict-Affected Cities: Building Peace Through Architecture and Urban Design’ and ‘Building for Hope: Towards an Architecture of Belonging’, continue these ideas of a utopian lens through urban planning.   

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