November 8th

For November 8th’s class we were allowed to choose out own groups and then were required to answer questions on different types of Urban Planning. The Question’s focused on  Gaston Bardet’s French Urbanisime, Systems Planning, and Communicative Planning (both of which can be found in Ch. 10 of Cities of Tomorrow). I have provided a summary of the questions we answered in class but have also attached two questions that were unanswerable in class. These two questions are necessary to our last summation so if anyone has an answer please leave a comment!

Did designers of the Athens Charter-style developments think about the importance of the street?

Were they able to effectively address the kinds of issues that Jacobs ben satisfied?

Gaston Bardet:

Objections to Athens Charter

–       archaic and false simplicities

–       don’t apply to the modern world – too idealistic

–       social nature into question

–       ignores existing societies

–       infatuation with high rises – superior – not based on real evidence

–       town activities not taken into consideration

–       society should not adapt to machine – they dictate life


–       focus Marseille Poette – father of French Ubranisime steeped in history – influenced by the past

–       plan through deep understanding of city and how it evolved

  • do not tear it down and rebuild

–       social science should be applied to the city – different than earlier social scientists – not decadent or a problem, he appreciates it, complex organism that has evolved – not just buildings and social problems, defined by collective identity = CULTURAL DIMENSION


–       Based on functionality with a shift towards the human component

–       Based on regional understanding of planning – school of regional planning that develops {Patrick Gettes and Louis Munford}

–       Can’t plan individual settlements

–       Planner should be a facilitator – not as much of a designer

  • Create open ended plan – take in different opinions and then revise them

Departure from Athens Charter

–       didn’t take in modernist ideals – high rises, everything else archaic

–       different scales of community – taken into consideration

–       functionalism bypassed spirituality

–       regionalism – self-contained


Systems Planning

What was it?

–       using direct evidence to plan a city

–       seeking for a scientific/imperial method for planning a city

–       Engineering based – studies traffic, locational patterns of activity taken into consideration

–       Identifying systems in the city: traffic [where you locate things influence how they use roads and transportation method], land use, sewage, water filtration, public facilities, etc.

–       All interconnected systems – change of one variable catalyst facilitates other systems

–       Computing based

–       Forecasting future methods

Where did it come from?

–       comes from the Cold War – changing technology – aerospace and defense

–       academia – fields researching (geography, social sciences = conversions in data)

–       locational theory – amalgamation of disciplines


–       based on science

–       viewed as mechanical – broken down city – maximize resources


–       didn’t work with organic nature of planning – supposed to maximize, but only works – has to work, if one part doesn’t work it all fails

–       people matter – less predictable

–       didn’t take social dimension and individuality into consideration

–       have to delegate with multiple persons – collect massive amount of data and implement it with help from bureaucracy

–       contradictory goals


Communicative Planning

What was its approach?

–       planning is politics – who gets what they wants, who has power and can dictate the city

–       try to empower people who were disempowered (lower classes, those ignored)

–       leftist turn towards people power

Short comings

–       Top-down planning

–       Increasing paranoia of systems approach – everyone’s a skeptic (towards the systems approach and government influence)

–       Previous – physical content – destroying existing communities

  • Collective good made more important

Impact on planning profession

–       changes from design and system to the actual residents, bottom up approach – advocate planners

–       planer lost amount of power – gives suggestions and knowledge’s, offer mediation

–       have nothing left to do – no more expertise or authoritarian control

–       become educators – group think

  • no individual opinions


What was the Marxist critique of planning?

–       complete questioning of planning

–       a questions of Marxists looking into society as it was

  • not what planners were
  • historical stage that is capitalism and how planners fulfill it

October 9 Class Summary

Thomas More, Utopia (1515)

  • Collectivist
  • Lack of private property
  • Agrarian Rotation
  • Hinterland
  • No social stratification

John Bellers, Proposals for Raisinng a Colledge of Industry (1696)

  • Designed for profit of upper class through Joint-Stock company
  • Good living conditions for lower classes
  • Education for youth
  • Use of Certificates (pay for labour) instead of money
  • Company Town
  • Complimentary Industries

Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Architecture considered under the reaction of art and legislation (1808)

  • Chaux De Fond
  • Ellipse
  • Central public buildings
  • Similar to Panopticon

Robert Owen

  • Social Reformer
  • Community organized into one large linear building
  • Contained all the elements of a city (industry, residential etc.) within one compartmentalized structure
  • Proposed a radical new form of social organization in which children (older than three years old) would be organized and raised in cohorts
  • Population of 1.200 people
Charles Fourier, The Theory of Four Movements and General Destinies (1808); A Treatise on Domestic and Agricultural Association (1822)
  • Phalanstère
  • Self Sufficient society
  • Organized in townships
  • No private property
  • Capitalism abolished
Saint-Simon, Of the Reorganization of European Society (1814)
  • Anarchist reorganization of society
  • Lack of state coercion
  • No need for laws or police to oppressively uphold them
  • Economy based on industrial associations of independent workers
James Silk Buckingham, National Evils and Practical Remedies (1849)
  • Alleviate London population growth
  • Joint-Stock Company
  • Capitalist
  • Population of 10,000 people
  • Cured evils of society through temperance




Summary of October 11, 2012.

The Third Wave (1895-1905)

Edward Bellamy– American author who wrote Looking Backward, in 1887. 

  • Society is based on socialism.
  • Equality to all citizens.
  • Money is valueless, you are given what is needed.
  • Technology and mechanization leads to production.
  • Centralized government.
  • Influenced Ebenzer Howard.

Piotr Kroptin- The father of anarchism and author of Fields, Factories, and Workshop in 1898.

  • Society is based on communism.
  • Autonomous social units.
  • Emphasis on agricultural rural life.
  • Influenced Ebenezer Howard.

Theodor Fritsch- An anti-Semitic German publisher who wrote,  Die Stadt der Zukunft in 1896.

  • Anti-capitalist society.
  • Medium sized towns.
  • Open landscapes.
  • Circular planning that concentrates around nucleus and grows outwards.
  • Influenced Ebenezer Howard.
Our classes Utopia’s
  1. Danieltopia
  2. Zachtopia
Daniel’s vision of a utopia. Includes several agricultural zones for the production of food, and green zones for leisure and comfort. The city center, protected by a moat and ferocious dragon, contains the marketplace for trade and commerce. His residential areas are connected to the center through separate transportation networks.
  • High density, but green-space is abundant.
  • Universal Education and Health Care.
  • Inhabitants earn opportunities by working towards it.
  • Reformative justice.
  • Legalization of alcohol and marijuana, but authority over harder substances
  • Governed by science and logic.
  • Social Democracy.
Josh had also shown plans for his ideal city. If you could please post your drawing it would be appreciated!
Discussion on Ebenezer Howard
Howard envisioned a low-density city of approximately 30,000 inhabitants within a one and half mile diameter. Agricultural land would take up 6,000 acres of land, while parks accounted for 145. Neighborhood units were to be self sufficient and easily accessible.  Surrounding the city city was Greenbelts of 5,000 acres. He wished to marry the concepts of country and town within his Garden Cities to provide the comfort of rural life and the accessibility of urban centers.


Class Summary – September 27, 2012

For today’s class we discussed the response to the conditions created by industrialization in London and the response in Paris, how it was different and similar.

We began our discussion by summarizing Ferdinand Töennies article.  He saw the creation of an unstable social system and the role of the state as a coercive mechanism for cohesion.  We discussed the shift from a Gemeinschaft to a Gesellschaft, the dissolution of traditional ties and norms replaced by self-interests leading to an inherently unstable condition.

We then went on to discuss the role of self-interest in regards to poverty in London.  The middle and upper classes in London owned the means of production and the lower classes made up the main portion of the working class.  This division of classes led Töennies to become afraid of where industrialization was leading society.

Töennies is ‘building’ on the ideas of Marx and Engles in regards to industrialization.  Töennies was not against industrialization but supports the benefits of industrialization in terms of the workers.  Töennies seeks to give back to the people and focus on society not capitalism and ‘big business’.  Thereby the working class owns the means of production (the ability to produce wealth).  In summary, Töennies viewed the modern industrial city as exploitation of people.  Marx and Engles saw it as de-humanizing conditions that would create the state for revolution.

We later discussed different social scientists views of the city.

  1. Emile Durkheim – A French social scientist who had a more optimistic approach and disagreed with Töennies.  Durkheim disagreed with the idea that in modern industrial societies people rely on self-interest.  Durkiem believed the division of labour created a greater interdependence and fostered a better consciousness.  Industrialization should increase ties between people, thus he concluded that instead of having increased interconnectedness he identified ‘anomie’ whereby each individual becomes to feel more and more lonely.
  2. Georg Simmel – a German sociologist, theorized that modern life leads to nervous overstimulation and nervous exhaustion.  Intensification of urban stimuli – noise leads to feelings of indifference not caring about anything.
  3. Max Weber – another German sociologist approved of the city and what the city can do.  He views the city as a place of liberty and autonomy that came into being by a way to defend oneself from feudal society.

We also spent time examining the English response to the slums.  We discussed that the new residential neighbourhoods would be built on greenfield sites on the edge of counties.  The only downsides was the lack of existing infrastructure and transportation into the city.  By 1918 the Committee on Housing had met to discuss the building of suburbs on the green fields.

  • They concluded that the government had to be the main actor, they couldn’t rely on private enterprise.
  • They should build on cheap, undeveloped land near tramways.
  • Build a single family house per acre, making sure everyone has their own private lot that separates them from others.
  • Lastly, plans for the building needed to be approved by architects and local government.

Lastly, our discussion centered around Paris, specifically Hausmann’s Paris.  Following World War I there was a critical housing shortage.  Creation of the office of the Habitations à bon Marché (HBM).  Following the dismantling of a fortification that was built in 1844, a large amount of green space opened up after World War I.  Seeking refuge, the working class built ‘shanty’ towns around the city of Paris.  In this zone the HBM built garden cities and created community.

Class Summary: September 20, 2012

For today’s class we were discussing the Birth of Modernism with reference to the Ringstrasse in Vienna.

We started out the class with a recap of last class and the challenges to urban planning. We referenced the role and interest of the state, the challenges of absolutism and high modernism. We said that High Modernism is basically the use of science to better society which came out of Enlightenment thinking. We quickly talked about Haussmannization in Paris and the creation of the three main boulevards and how they were symbol of the power of the state and showed the states greatness by their unobstructed views leading to great monuments, but we also noted that there was a definite and clear alliance between Haussmanns project and capitalism. We also looked at Madrid and the High modernism there where science drove urban expansion, for example with the train.

An important definition from todays class was that of technocracy which is when society places its trust in scientists and highly trained specialists, or in technological bureaucracy. In this model, the power is held by technical specialists. This is important to todays discussion because we are dealing with a period in which there was lots of technology becoming available and the people who understood it were the people with the power over society.

We also defined Modernism which is the pursuit of modern aesthetic. And we defined Functionalism which is where the appearance reflects function.

The reading for todays class was: Carl E. Schorske. Fin de Siecle Vienna, “The Ringstrasse, its critics, and the birth of urban modernism.”

We talked about the concept of a monolith where there is one powerful ruling body and how Vienna up until this period had been ruled by a monolithic power but how that had just changed. The Habsburg Empire/ Monarchy controlled a multi-ethnical empire and as such they were very conservative. The 19th century gave birth to a rise of liberal movements including a separation from the church, the quest for (limited) suffrage, and the rise of the merchant class. These liberal movements wanted a National State. With the election of 1890, the liberals were now in power in Vienna. In essence the power was held by the middle class. This middle class was wealthy and were happy to have some form of political power. They were out to further the interests of a certain group, themselves, rather than control society.

One of the main things that this new liberal government did was to build the Ringstrasse around Vienna. It was mixed usage area which was a combination of boulevard and commercial and residential buildings which replaced the fortifications and no man’s land that had previously surrounded the city. This embraced Liberal values as it made space for public institutions which reflected the advancement. The most celebrated buildings in the Ringstrasse were the museums, universities, the parliament, the theatre, and the city hall. We talked about how there is an emphasis on motion and how this motion was linked to technology and progress. An important part of this Ringstrasse was that the liberals knew that there was the possibility that the monarchs could take over again so the Ringstrasse was built as a liberal noose encircling the city to limit the power of the monarchy.

We also spent some time discussing the reactions to the Ringstrasse by critics Camillo Sitte and Otto Wagner

Camillo Sitte Otto Wagner
Thinks the Ringstrasse is missing Greek and Roman creativity- The human element. Hates historicism- sees it as a lack of creativity
Rejects the modern elements of the Ringstrasse- dislikes the primacy of the road and the fact that the buildings have no relationship to one another. Believes that we are living in a modern age and as such that we need our own style.
Wants to put nature back into the city. He believes that modernity has a disintegrating influence on society and that squares and such would give a sense of community. Loves capitalism and believes that, “necessity is arts only mistress.”


Summary of September 18th’s class

Our class discussion on Tuesday focused mainly on the concepts proclaimed by James Scott. Scott claimed that in order to move towards the creation of modern states, cities had to be made legible or readable in a rational way. In one way this rationality was determined by an outsider being able to come into a city and simply using the universal code of city planning to maneuver around the unfamiliar space without any trouble. Everything was to be simplified, for example how to get to each location within a city and what specific objective each location has, whether trade, administration buildings or commerce. This also led to the emergence of modern capitalism that favored from the higher functioning administrative branch, efficiency of communication and trade as well as a new land market.

One question that stemmed from this discussion was whether the medieval city compared to the concept of the modern city was an irrational and unplanned creation. There was some consensus that there was in fact some planning with the way the city was set up with its fortresses and confusion to the outsider that would protect it from aggressive outside forces. However as the modern state developed and strong rulers emerged, the fear of rebellion was one reason this idea of making a city legible emerged. It worked in favor of a military function because the military could easily enter any city, due to rational city planning placing everything in its distinct location, and quell rebellions.

Along with the discussion of the creation of modern states, we also discussed another concept introduced by James Scott, which was High Modernism. High Modernism refers to a rational, sweeping engineering to order society and progress the human condition. This concept was shared across ideologies; however we agreed that it had a very authoritarian value to it as it was an imposition of science on everything and only a few certain elite could rule. In order to pursue these high modernistic goals, there are there conditions that need to be met. These three conditions are: having a person in power who wants to make these changes, unrestrained use of power of the modern state and a weakened civil society that cannot resist these powers.

Haussmann’s Paris and Peter the Great’s capital of Saint-Petersburg was two examples of legibility that were discussed in class. It was agreed that Haussmann’s Paris fit this description because of the complete redesign of the street to create sectors, one of these being the creation of a centralized market in which all food supply would come and all retailers would purchase their food from there. It became an example of a much rationalized system which was the dominant characteristic of a modern state. The reasons behind Haussmann’s reconstruction of Paris emulate one of the three conditions that make it possible to pursue high modernist goals, which were having a person in charge who wants to make these changes. Napoleon III who had an image problem was in power at this time thus Haussmann worked to create a monumental capital to improve Napoleon III image by using the monumental capital to symbolize the power of the ruler.

We also discussed the emergence of Absolutism from the 16th-18th century which replaced feudalism by flattening out the system of hierarchy that gave immense power to lords and the church. Thus the king became the absolute ruler, subordinating the role of lords and the church. Absolutist states were the basis of the first modern states due to increase of power of the state in terms of bureaucracy and tax collection. Another feature of absolutism was the power and will of the ruler to implement the vision of their states. An example that connected absolutism and High Modernism was Peter the Great’s creation of Saint-Petersburg as the new capital of his empire. Peter the Great wanted to bring Russia into the era of Modern states, basically by using the ideas of the Enlightenment to completely organize and re-invent a city among the lines of a strict science and rational based ideas of city planning. This was a very linear and grid based design that was a total metaphor or symbol of the rational and extensive power of the figure Peter the Great. He fulfilled the characteristics of High Modernism by using unrestrained power to completely build a city inside out, with a vision of order and elegance which was obtained by building everything out of stone and creating green spaces.

Summation of September 11th

On Tuesday’s class we discussed Max Weber’s definition of a city; the city is a settlement where the inhabitants move away from an agrarian society to an urbanized one in which they transition into a life that flourishes from trade and commerce rather than agriculture. A city is made up of three key points that we agreed upon in class: a market which generates trade and commerce; a political-administrative with at least partial autonomy (controls government and law); a fortress or garrison which allows for a defensive military function; and an interconnectedness of these activities in a city to allow for it to function. An example of a symbiotic relationship we discussed was between a City’s military and it’s market. This relationship functions because each party benefits from the other where the Military provided protection and a consumer for the markets products, whereas the market supplied goods and also taxable persons providing further funds for the city.

Further questions could be invoked from our discussions in this course like whether this definition can applied to all cities; can our modern day city be defined by Weber’s ideas; what is missing or dated about weber’s definition of a city. All these questions were answered in class, and the general consensus is that the city has evolved from Weber’s definition while also maintain some of the core elements. I chose to focus on what could be added to Max Weber’s original definitions because I found the additions to be multi-faceted where they could define today’s cities or not. Architecture, Culture, numerical and spatial factors, and the ability to provide activities or fulfill people’s desires are all important options that could fit the definition but were arguably not appropriate.

The Cultural aspect would provide a distinction between urban life versus rural since in today’s society one can order things online whereas arts must be seen and are therefore irreplaceable. An example is that a person can not order or view certain aspects of art which are essential to culture like the opera, plays, art exhibits, and more. Arguably, this could provide a negative connotation towards a city because Culture is very subjective and therefore cannot be applied to all.

The Numerical or Spatial element could also differentiate a city from a village. Further into our discussion, however, more observations provided a clear disassociation with this element as part of Weber’s definition. When comparing the population factor, refuge camps have the same population as large metropolitan areas but are distinctly different from each other because of the conditions within the two areas. These poorer nations also can be quite grand in space but it is because they must travel larger distances to acquire their resources. We can also look into the history of the city back in Europe and compare the population, which was small, but did not prevent this area from becoming labeled as a city. A key characteristic that helped define these ancient cities was the machinery and the specializations that their markets provided that drew people to it and therefore a minimum population could possibly be applied but not a maximum.

The last few comments we discussed in class touched on a few added points that could be added to the definition. Along with the specialties that these ancient markets provided that drew people to cities there was the question of whether a city provides activities and fulfill desires and was apparently proposed by Weber in a separate definition. There is also the architectural structure that a city has that elevates it from a township or rural community.

To sum up this class we mainly focused on Weber’s definition of the city, added to it with our own ideas, deconstructed his to apply it to Modern cities, and discussed if it does apply to our cities. We found that it could be applied to our modern cities, but they needed to be revamped by altering the language to fit appropriately. What I mean by this is that a garrison has evolved to our Nations Army and our markets have grew into grander shopping malls. Just as our cities have evolved from Weber’s times, so must his definition grow to fit these modern times.