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URBAN UTOPIAS OF THE PRESENT PAST: Cité Ouvrière and Letchworth Garden City, utopias of industrialization revisited.

Grant number: 23/10813-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Fundamentals of Architecture and Urbanism
Principal Investigator:Renato Cymbalista
Grantee:Mariana Batista Delfino
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Utopian or idealistic experiences usually play a secondary role in the history of urbanism, as they are dutifully credited in historiography as forerunners, enablers of a lexicon of experiences, and amplifiers of utopian horizons. However, they ultimately play a small structuring role in these narratives. The greatest highlight is usually given to experiences in which urbanism incorporates to the machinery of government devices, methods, and responsibilities for territorial development. This scientific initiation investigates some of the past urban utopian experiences that still exist as alternative spaces to the real estate market. These experiences are assessed beyond the magical originality of their birth syntheses and of their founding roles in modern and contemporary urbanism. The project addresses the dynamics and internal arrangements, decision-making instances, and individuals that held administrative and political positions, allowing experiences with utopian content to survive as time went by. Embodied in their different settings, the so-called Urban Utopias of the Present Past exist in an associative, communitarian, non-state, and institutional spaces. Yet, they are not private property either. This specific project investigates two experiences of utopian territories built in the past, but which span decades and centuries as spaces of difference, alternatives to the mercantilist and capitalist dynamics of land markets, whose historically constituted institutional configuration is that of foundations: Letchworth Garden City and Cité Ouvriere - SOMCO. This research has the ability to problematize the relevance of this type of experience today, which consequently expands the repertoire, erudition and historical awareness in the construction of the discipline of urbanism.

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