You are on page 1of 13

1. The meaning of Utopia in city planning / design.

UTOPIA
o An imaginary island, represented by Sir Thomas More, in a work called Utopia, as enjoying the greatest perfection in politics, laws, and the like. o the concept of utopia was devised by the philosopher sir Thomas More in a book published in 1516. In the book, Utopia is the name of a fictional island in the Atlantic which supports an ideal community with a seemingly perfect social, political, and legal system. It is significant that utopia was conceived as an island; the perfect society had to be isolated from the rest of the world to avoid being corrupted by it. o Crucially, more did not believe that such an ideal society was possible it was a purely philosophical concept. In fact, the word utopia comes from the greek term no place, indicating that for more utopia was an impossible dream. o Religios Utopia Religious utopias can be intra-religious or inter-religious. The interreligious utopia borders on a concept like Polyculturalism and is not deemed possible in the near future or the near-far future. Fledgling theories are generally canceled as impossible, but the ideology of God and Religion used in inter-religious utopia is commonly stated by many people as their view of God. In more extended theories it goes up to the level of different religious leaders setting aside their differences and accepting harmony, peace and understanding to unite all religions within one another, thereby forming a utopian religion or a religion of Humans with God any type of force that reigned before the birth of the universe. Religion and God being used as a self-motivating factor for people to believe in and raise themselves out of difficult situations.

Intra-Religious utopias are based on religious ideals, and are to date those most commonly found in human society. Their members are usually required to follow and believe in the particular religious tradition that established the utopia. Some permit non-believers or non-adherents to take up residence within them; others (such as the Community at Qumran) do not.

The Islamic, Jewish,

and Christian ideas

of

the Garden

of

Eden and Heaven may be interpreted as forms of utopianism, especially in their folk-religious forms. Such religious utopias are often described as "gardens of delight", implying an existence free from worry in a state of bliss or enlightenment. They postulate freedom from sin, pain, poverty, and death, and often assume communion with beings such as angels or the houri. In a similar sense the Hindu concept of Moksha and

the Buddhist concept of Nirvana may be thought of as a kind of utopia. In Hinduism or Buddhism, however, Utopia is not a place but a state of mind. A belief that if we are able to practice meditation without continuous stream of thoughts, we are able to reach enlightenment. This enlightenment promises exit from the cycle of life and death, relating back to the concept of utopia. In the United States and Europe during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century and thereafter, many radical religious groups formed utopian societies in which all aspects of people's lives could be governed by their faith. Among the best-known of these utopian societies were the Shakers, which originated in England in the 18th century but moved to America shortly afterward. A number of religious utopian societies from Europe came to the United States from the 18th century throughout the 19th century, including the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness (led by Johannes Kelpius), the Ephrata Cloister, and the Harmony Society, among others. The Harmony Society was a Christian

theosophy and pietist group founded in Impingent, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Wrttemberg, the society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, settled in Pennsylvania, and on February 15, 1805, they, together

with about 400 followers, formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common. The group lasted until 1905, making it one of the longest-running financially successful communes in American history. The Oneida Community, founded by John Humphrey

Noyes in Oneida, New York, was a utopian religious commune that lasted from 1848 to 1881. Although this utopian experiment is better known today for its manufacture of Oneida silverware, it was one of the longestrunning communes in American history. The Amana were communal settlements in Iowa, started by radical German pietists, which lasted from 1855 to 1932. The Amana Corporation, manufacturer of refrigerators and household appliances, was originally started by the group. Other examples are Fountain Grove, Riker's Holy City and other Californian utopian colonies between 1855 and 1955 (Hine), as well as

Sointula in British Columbia, Canada. The Amish and Hutterites can also be considered an attempt towards a better world to live in. A wide variety of intentional communities with some type of faith based ideas have started across the world. The book of Revelation in the Christian bible depicts a better time, in the future, after Satan and evil are defeated. One interpretation is that there will eventually be heaven on Earth, or a new Earth without sin. The details of this new Earth where God and Jesus rules is not made clear. It can be assumed that it will something like the Garden of Eden before the fall. Another possibility is that heaven will not be a physical realm, but instead an incorporeal place for souls. o Science and technology Scientific and technological utopias are set in the future, when it is believed that advanced science and technology will allow utopian living; for example, the absence of death and suffering; changes in human nature and the human condition. Technology has affected the way humans have lived to such an extent that normal functions, like sleep, eating or even reproduction, have been replaced by artificial means. Other examples include a society where humans have struck a balance with technology and it is merely used to enhance the human living

condition (e.g. Star Trek). In place of the static perfection of a utopia, libertarian transhumanists envision an "extropia", an open,

evolving society allowing individuals and voluntary groupings to form the institutions and social forms they prefer. Buckminster Fuller presented a theoretical basis for technological

utopianism and set out to develop a variety of technologies ranging from maps to designs for cars and houses which might lead to the development of such a utopia. One notable example of a technological and socialist utopia is Scottish author Iain Banks' Culture. Opposing this optimism is the prediction that advanced science and technology will, through deliberate misuse or accident, cause environmental damage or even humanitys extinction. Critics, such as Jacques Ellul and Timothy Mitchell advocate precautions against the premature embrace of new technologies, raising questions on

responsibility and freedom brought by division of labour. Authors such as John Zerzan and Derrick Jensen consider that modern technology is progressively depriving humans of their autonomy, and advocate the collapse of the industrial civilization, in favor of small-scale organization, as a necessary path to avoid the threat of technology on human freedom and sustainability. There are many examples of techno-dystopias portrayed in mainstream culture, such as the classics Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, which have explored some of these topics.

KINDS OF UTOPIAN CITY CONCEPTS

A. GARDEN CITY Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained surrounded by greenbelts (parks), containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. The concept of garden cities is to produce relatively economically independent cities with short commute times and the preservation of the countryside. problems of rural depopulation and the runaway to growth of great towns and cities was the creation of a series of small, planned cities that would combine the amenities of urban life with the ready access to nature typical of rural environment. The main features of Howards scheme were: (1) The purchase of large area of agricultural land within a ring fence; (2) The planning of a compact town surrounded by a wide rural belt; (3) The accommodation of residents, industry, & agriculture within the town, (4) The limitation of the extent of town and prevention of encroachment upon the rural belt; and (5) The natural rise in land values to be used for the towns own general welfare. Garden city is an impressive diagram of the three magnets namely the town magnet, country magnet with their advantages and disadvantages and the third magnet with attractive features of both town and country. Naturally people preferred the third one namely garden city. Howards solution to the related

<<Garden City Concept by Howard

B. CITY BEAUTIFUL City beautiful was an architectural manifestation of the social response to falling urban life. It was a response to what had been learned that if not planned and designed for public health and be benefit, cities and urban centers would descend into filth, along with unwitting inhabitants. David Burnham is widely credited as being the father of city beautiful. Although he worked with others including Frederick Olmsted. The McMillan Plan was an architectural plan for the development of Washington, D.C., formulated in 1902 by the Senate Park Commission of the District of Columbia. They were also strongly influenced by the City Beautiful movement, an intended to build civic virtue in the poor through important monumental architecture. . CAPITOL is the origin which both the quadrants of the districts are divided and city was planned.

C. SATELLITE CITY Satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers to essentially to miniature metropolitan areas on the fringe of larger ones. Satellite towns are smaller municipalities that are adjacent to a major city which is the core of a metropolitan area. They differ from mere suburbs, subdivisions and especially bedroom communities in that they have municipal governments distinct from that of the core metropolis and employment bases sufficient to support their residential populations, conceptually,

satellite cities could be self-sufficient communities outside of their larger metropolitan areas. However, functioning as part of a metropolis, a satellite city experiences cross-commuting. It may involve consciously planned cities to act as spiller or dormitory towns.

D. LINEAR CITY

The Linear city was an urban plan for an elongated urban formation. The city would consist of a series of functionally specialized parallel sectors. Generally, the city would run parallel to the river and be built so that the dominant wind would blow from the residential areas to the industrial strip, the sectors of a linear city would be: -a purely segregated zone for railway lines -a zone of production and communal enterprises, with related scientific, technical and educational institutions -a greenbelt or buffer zone with major highway -a residential zone, including a band of social institutions, a band of residential buildings, and a childrens band -a park zone & -an agricultural zone with gardens and state-run farms As the city expanded, additional sectors would be added to the end of each band, sp that the city would become even longer, without growing wider.

E. INDUSTRIAL CITY Garniers proposal was an industrial city for approx 35,000 inhabitants situated on a area in southeasr france on a plateau with high land a lake to the north, a valley and river to the south. Une cite industrialle is a well coordinated and monumentally conceived plan placed in a park like setting where both the classical spirit of the academic tradition and the primitive simplicity of utopian ideas is demonstrated. In his proposal, garnier tried to take into account all

aspects of the city including governmental, residential, and agriculutural practices. The various functions of the city were clearly related, but separated from each other by location and patterns. The public area at the heart of the city was grouped into 3 sections: administrative services, assembly halls, museum collections and sports facilities. The residential area is made up of rectangular running east-west which gives the cityh its characteristics elongated form. The residential districts are the 1st attempt towards passive solar architecture. Garnier had energy efficiency in mind as the city was to be powered by a hydroelectric station with a dam which was located in the mountains along with the hospital. The city was completed by a railroad station to the east. F.Contemporary City Laid out in a rigidly symmetrical grid pattern, the city consisted of neatly spaced rows of identical, symmetrical geometrical skyscrapers. This was not the city of the future, le Corbusier insisted, but the city of today! The centrepiece of this plan was the group of sixty-story; cruciform skyscrapers were set within the large, rectangular park-like green spaces. At the center was a huge transportation hub that on different levels included depots for buses and trains, as well as highway intersections, and at the top, an airport. He had the fanciful notion that commercial airliners would land between the huge skyscrapers. Le Corbusier segregated pedestrian circulation paths from the roadways and glorified the use of the automobile as a means of transportation. As one moved out from the central skyscrapers, smaller low-story, zigzag apartment blocks (set far back from the street amid green space, housed the inhabitants.

Le corbusiers villa contemporaine plan for paris 1992

G. WELWYN Welwyn garden city it was founded by sir Ebenezer Howard in the 1920s following his previous experiment in Letchworth garden city. Howard had called for the creation of

planned towns that were to combine the benefits of the city and the countryside and to avoid the disadvantages of both. The garden cities and town planning association had defined a garden city as: A town designed for healthy living and industry of a size that makes possible a full measure of socil life but not larger, surrounded by a rural belt; the whole of the land being in public ownership, or held in trust for the community The town is laid out along tree lined boulevards with a neo-georgian town centre. Every road has a wide grass verge. The spine of the town is parkway, a central mall or scenic parkway, along a mile long. The view along parkway to the south was once described as one of the worlds finest urban vistas. Older houses are on the west side of parkway and newer houses on the east side.

H. NEIGHBORHOOD UNIT. The concept of the neighbourhood unit, crystallised from the prevailing social and intellectual attitudes of the early 1900s by Clarence Perry, is an early diagrammatic planning model for residential development in metropolitan areas. It was designed by Perry to act as a framework for urban planners attempting to design functional, self-contained and desirable neighborhoods in the early 20th century in industrialising cities. It continues to be utilised as a means of ordering and organising new residential communities in a way which satisfies contemporary social, administrative and service requirements for satisfactory urban existence.

I. SUPER BLOCK A superblock is much larger than a traditional city block, with greater setback for buildings, and is typically bounded by widely spaced, high-speed, arterial or circulating routes rather than by local streets. Superblocks are often associated with suburbs, planned cities, and the urban renewal of the mid-20th century; that is, in areas in which a street hierarchy has replaced the traditional grid. In a residential area of a suburb, the interior of the superblock is typically served by cul-de-sac or looped streets. Superblocks can also be found in central city areas, where they are more often associated with institutional, educational, recreational and corporate rather than residential uses. Superblocks are also used when functional units such as rail yards or shipyards, inherited from the 19th and early 20th centuries, are too big to fit in an average city block. A contemporary function which reflects ancient practices that also requires larger than typical blocks is the sports stadium or arena. Just as the coliseum in ancient rome, sports complexes require superblocks. The jeld wen field stadium in portland, for example, takes up six normal city blocks as does the equally large Greensboro coliseum in north carolina. Other contemporary institutions, establishments or functions that require superblocks are: city halls, as in Boston and toronto; regional general hospitals or specialized medical centres; convention and exhibition centers, as the one in Toronto and Boston; and downtown enclosed shopping malls such as Eaton centre in Toronto, echoing the large gallerias of the 19th century. Cultural complexes, such as the Lincoln centre in ny, often occupy a superblock achieved through the consolidation of regular city blocks. A recent superblock user is the merchandise distribution centre. These centres can range in area from one to ten city blocks

J. NEW URBANISM CONCEPTS Within the concept of new urbanism today, there are four key ideas. The first of these is to ensure that a city is walk able. This means that no resident should need a car to get anywhere in the community and they should be no more than a five minute walk from any basic good or service. To achieve this, communities should invest in sidewalks and narrow streets. In addition to actively promoting walking, cities should also de-emphasize the car by placing garages behind homes or in alleys. There should also only be on-street parking, instead of large parking lots. Another core idea of new urbanism is that buildings should be mixed both in their style, size, price and function. For example, a small townhouse can be placed next to a larger, single

family home. Mixed-use buildings such as those containing commercial spaces with apartments over them are also ideal in this setting. o Finally, a new urbanist city should have a strong emphasis on the community. This means maintaining connections between people with high density, parks, open spaces and community gathering centers like a plaza or neighborhood square.

2. What is Letchworth?

Letchworth
o 1st developed Garden city started in 1902 & designed by Raymond Unwin & Barry Parker. The plan was a combination of landscaping, informal street layouts, main axis focusing on a town center. It was built in an area of 4500 acres(1800 Ha), 3000 acres (1200 Ha) for Agriculture, & 1500 acres (600 Ha) for city proper. o Correctly titled Letchworth Garden City, is a town and civil

parish in Hertfordshire, England, with a population of 33,600. o The town's name is taken from one of the three villages it surrounded (the other two being Willian and Norton) - all of which featured in the Domesday Book. The land used was purchased by Quakers who had intended to farm the area and build a Quaker community. The current town was laid out by Ebenezer Howard in 1903 using his radical new garden city approach which incorporated elements of the country, alongside

city life. Mocked in the press at the time, the design was supported by the Arts and Crafts the

movement and Quakers.

<-Letchworth Garden City shown within Hertfordshire

Letchworth today Several housing estates have been added to Letchworth since its inception. To the north of the town The Grange began construction in 1947 and to the south east Jackmans was built from 1961. These were council / municipal housing estates with many residents originally coming from the London overspill. Two more prosperous (and private) estates - Lordship and Manor Park - were built from in 1971 to the south west. Smaller areas of in-fill housing also appeared in the 1990s, particularly on land adjacent to Jackmans on the sites of a former creamery and the Willian Secondary School, which had closed in 1991 when school rolls in the town had begun to fall. Willian School, along with two primary schools (Lannock and Radburn) had been built as part of the Jackmans Estate, which was constructed with not only its own schools, but also shops, library, community centre, sheltered housing, and public house. Bordered by major roads this almost self-contained community developed a reputation as being slightly cut-off from the rest of the town and tends to be overlooked in most studies of Garden City development. This is an unfortunate oversight as the plan of the estate (based on the "Radburn principle" pioneered in Radburn, New Jersey - a town whose design was itself inspired by the original Garden City) was an impressive and largely successful addition to the town, and matched most Garden City principles. Certainly for a period that has a reputation for poor town and residential planning it is remarkably well executed piece of urban design. Almost all residential housing on Jackmans is in a series of cul-de-sacs with access off a single feeder road - appropriately called Radburn Way - which in turn is crossed by a series of underpasses. The effect is to largely separate pedestrians from motor traffic. Most houses do not open onto streets with passing traffic, but onto pedestrian squares, green areas, and children's playgrounds. The estate is crossed by a series of footpaths. The idea is not unique to Jackmans, and has been tried in New Towns elsewhere, but rarely so successfully. In some cases the housing itself varied in quality as - perhaps harking back to the Cheap Cottages Exhibition 60 years before - various different construction methods were tried, including the pre-fabrication of some houses at a shipyard in Sunderland. This resulted in dwellings with large amounts of internal space, but of variable build quality

(particularly, it is alleged, for houses whose panels were constructed on Friday afternoons). Other parts of the estate used more traditional methods. Over time increased mobility and changing age profiles has reduced the need for the estate to have its own facilities. Although a small parade of shops and a community centre flourish, the estate lost of its secondary school (Willian) in 1988, its public house (initially called the Carousel, later the Gateway) in 1998, and its public library in 2006. By 2007 the two primary schools on the estate were both running at under 50% capacity, and after a brief consultation the county council closed Lannock Primary School, the smaller of the two, in July 2009. Radburn Primary remains in operation. The Garden City estate began to turn a profit in the 1970s, leading to investment in a number of town amenities: a working farm, Standalone Farm, in 1980, a leisure centre and a theatre named Plinston Hall in 1982, a free hospital (the Ernest Gardiner Day Hospital) in 1984, and major refurbishment of the town's cinema and shopping centre in 1996 and 1997. A further major programme to improve and update facilities in the town centre - entirely funded by the Foundation - began in 2009. On 1 October 1995, the 'Foundation day' event took place celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the establishment of Letchworth. Markets and stalls ran throughout the day, whilst a fun fair was erected in Norton Common, where tribute bands would performed and a fireworks display was held. 'Foundation day' was shortly an annual event for around 56 years. The Foundation later celebrated the town's centenary in 2003 by building a landscaped path for walkers and cyclists. The path, known as the Greenway, forms a 20 km loop around the town.