In defence of utopian urbanism: imagining cities after the 'end of utopia'

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    Abstract

    What is the role of utopian visions of the city today? What is their use at a time when, for many people, the very concept of utopia has come to an end? Taking a wide perspective on contemporary debates, this paper addresses the general retreat from utopian urbanism in recent years. It connects it with the so-called crisis of modernist urbanism in the capitalist West as well as forms of ‘utopic degeneration’, and assesses some of its implications. Arguing against the abandonment of utopian perspectives, it advocates a rethinking of utopianism through considering its potential function in developing critical approaches to urban questions. The authoritarianism of much utopian urbanism certainly needs acknowledging and criticising, but this need not entail a retreat from imagining alternatives and dreaming of better worlds. Instead, it is necessary to reconceptualise utopia, and to open up the field of utopian urbanism that for too long has been understood in an overly narrow way. The paper suggests the potential value of developing, in particular, modes of critical and transformative utopianism that are open, dynamic and that, far from being compensatory, aim to estrange the taken-for-granted, to interrupt space and time, and to open up perspectives on what might be.
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    TidsskriftGeografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
    Vol/bind84
    Udgave nummer3-4
    Sider (fra-til)229-241
    Antal sider12
    ISSN0435-3684
    StatusUdgivet - 2002

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