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Urban Utopias of the Present Past: New Lanark, a two centuries resilient experience

Grant number: 23/10812-4
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:Letícia Maria Martins Fleury
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Utopian or idealistic experiences typically 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 the machinery of government devices, methods, and responsibilities for territorial development. The research project for this scientific initiation integrates a broader investigation into experiences of past urban utopias that continue to exist as spaces functioning alternatively to real estate markets. These experiences are analyzed beyond the original magic and uniqueness of their birth and their role as precursors of modern and contemporary urbanism. The focus is on the dynamics and internal devices, decision-making instances, and individuals who have held administrative and political positions, allowing utopian experiences to survive over time. In their various configurations, these called "Urban Utopias of the Present Past" exist within non-state institutional, associative, and community spaces, neither as private market property. This specific project investigates two experiences of utopian territories built in the past but that have spanned decades and centuries as spaces of difference, alternative to the market-oriented and capitalist dynamics of land markets, historically constituted as foundations. The study of New Lanark has the capacity to problematize the relevance of this long term proposal in contemporary times and allows us to appropriate it and make use of instruments that present new analysis possibilities of contemporary realities as well as presenting the capacity of driving advances in the field of knowledge to which the project belongs. The research project for this scientific initiation integrates a broader investigation into experiences of past urban utopias that continue to exist as spaces functioning alternatively to real estate markets. These experiences are analyzed beyond the original magic and uniqueness of their birth and their role as precursors of modern and contemporary urbanism. The focus is on the dynamics and internal devices, decision-making instances, and individuals who have held administrative and political positions, allowing utopian experiences to survive over time. In their various configurations, these called "Urban Utopias of the Present Past" exist within non-state institutional, associative, and community spaces, neither as private market property. This specific project investigates two experiences of utopian territories built in the past but that have spanned decades and centuries as spaces of difference, alternative to the market-oriented and capitalist dynamics of land markets, historically constituted as foundations. The study of New Lanark and Fuggerei has the capacity to problematize the relevance of these centuries-old proposals in contemporary times and allows us to appropriate theses and instruments that present fascinating possibilities for challenging contemporary realities and driving advances in the field of knowledge to which the project belongs.

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