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Ideal Cities: Utopianism and the (Un)Built Environment

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Ideal cities, or utopias, have been imagined in dazzling detail by philosophers, poets, architects, social reformers, religious zealots, and artists for more than two millennia, an abiding and ever-evolving vision Eaton cogently surveys in this unique, thought-provoking, and resplendently illustrated history. Utopias, Eaton explains, are most often conceived as panaceas du Ideal cities, or utopias, have been imagined in dazzling detail by philosophers, poets, architects, social reformers, religious zealots, and artists for more than two millennia, an abiding and ever-evolving vision Eaton cogently surveys in this unique, thought-provoking, and resplendently illustrated history. Utopias, Eaton explains, are most often conceived as panaceas during times of profound social unrest; aim for the greatest collective happiness and harmony; and tend toward geometrically precise and orderly designs as though mathematical balance can control nature's wildness and humanity's perversity. After presenting her working definition of paradisiacal cities, Eaton ventures forth to conduct elaborate guided tours of various utopias, many inspired by myths or religious texts. She explicates Plato's ideal city; Sforzinda, the first Renaissance utopian proposal; the urban dream of early-sixteenth-century Englishman Thomas More, who coined the term utopia; and so-called new-world utopian playgrounds. As Eaton moves into the machine age, plans for ideal cities (Le Corbusier presides) grow more and more ambitious, extreme, and morbidly entrancing.


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Ideal cities, or utopias, have been imagined in dazzling detail by philosophers, poets, architects, social reformers, religious zealots, and artists for more than two millennia, an abiding and ever-evolving vision Eaton cogently surveys in this unique, thought-provoking, and resplendently illustrated history. Utopias, Eaton explains, are most often conceived as panaceas du Ideal cities, or utopias, have been imagined in dazzling detail by philosophers, poets, architects, social reformers, religious zealots, and artists for more than two millennia, an abiding and ever-evolving vision Eaton cogently surveys in this unique, thought-provoking, and resplendently illustrated history. Utopias, Eaton explains, are most often conceived as panaceas during times of profound social unrest; aim for the greatest collective happiness and harmony; and tend toward geometrically precise and orderly designs as though mathematical balance can control nature's wildness and humanity's perversity. After presenting her working definition of paradisiacal cities, Eaton ventures forth to conduct elaborate guided tours of various utopias, many inspired by myths or religious texts. She explicates Plato's ideal city; Sforzinda, the first Renaissance utopian proposal; the urban dream of early-sixteenth-century Englishman Thomas More, who coined the term utopia; and so-called new-world utopian playgrounds. As Eaton moves into the machine age, plans for ideal cities (Le Corbusier presides) grow more and more ambitious, extreme, and morbidly entrancing.

41 review for Ideal Cities: Utopianism and the (Un)Built Environment

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    240115: this is a fascinating history of- mostly european- cultures, in conceiving the ideal city. this city is utopian in intent, and in the eras depicted it is clear what was considered the ideal human. this covers over two millennia, not in actual projects but in 'virtual' mode, and there was little humility, great faith in static perfection, and a kind of touching, quaint, belief in how architecture could perfect human society and thus humans. great images, insightful text, this might be onl 240115: this is a fascinating history of- mostly european- cultures, in conceiving the ideal city. this city is utopian in intent, and in the eras depicted it is clear what was considered the ideal human. this covers over two millennia, not in actual projects but in 'virtual' mode, and there was little humility, great faith in static perfection, and a kind of touching, quaint, belief in how architecture could perfect human society and thus humans. great images, insightful text, this might be only a five to architecture geeks. there are books to recount actual projects and failures of utopian city ideals, but this book is all on the dream, not the disappointments, not the failures, and maybe through knowledge of history, offers a way to avoid future utopian ideals falling to totalitarian sorts of results...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fan

    Nice pictures from lots of documents. Structured, provoking way of interpreting urban planning and architecture history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jules G

    Fascinating look at city planning and the philosophy behind it.

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    Chase Lin

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