"Visions of the City" is a dramatic history of utopian urbanism in
the twentieth century. It explores radical demands for new spaces
and ways of living, and considers their effects on planning,
architecture and struggles to shape urban landscapes. The author
critically examines influential utopian approaches to urbanism in
western Europe associated with such figures as Ebenezer Howard and
Le Corbusier, uncovering the political interests, desires and
anxieties that lay behind their ideal cities. He also investigates
avant-garde perspectives from the time that challenged these
conceptions of cities, especially from within surrealism. At the
heart of this richly illustrated book is an encounter with the
explosive ideas of the situationists. Tracing the subversive
practices of this avant-garde group and its associates from their
explorations of Paris during the 1950s to their alternative visions
based on nomadic life and play, David Pinder convincingly explains
the significance of their revolutionary attempts to transform urban
spaces and everyday life. He addresses in particular Constant's New
Babylon, finding within his proposals a still powerful provocation
to imagine cities otherwise. The book not only recovers vital
moments from past hopes and dreams of modern urbanism. It also
contests current claims about the 'end of utopia', arguing that
reconsidering earlier projects can play a critical role in
developing utopian perspectives today. Through the study of utopian
visions, it aims to rekindle elements of utopianism itself.
"A superb critical exploration of the underside of utopian
thought over the last hundred years and its continuing relevance in
the here and now for thinkingabout possible urban worlds. The
treatment of the Situationists and their milieu is a
David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, City
University of New York Graduate School
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