Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and le Corbusier

Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and le Corbusier

Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and le Corbusier

Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and le Corbusier

Excerpt

What is the ideal city for the twentieth century, the city that best expresses the power and beauty of modern technology and the most enlightened ideas of social justice? Between 1890 and 1930 three planners, Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier, tried to answer that question. Each began his work alone, devoting long hours to preparing literally hundreds of models and drawings specifying every aspect of the new city, from its general ground plan to the layout of the typical living room. There were detailed plans for factories, office buildings, schools, parks, transportation systems—all innovative designs in themselves and all integrated into a revolutionary restructuring of urban form. The economic and political organization of the city, which could not be easily shown in drawings, was worked out in the voluminous writings which each planner appended to his designs. Finally, each man devoted himself to passionate and unremitting efforts to make his ideal city a reality.

Many people dream of a better world; Howard, Wright, and Le Corbusier each went a step further and planned one. Their social consciences took this rare and remarkable step because they believed that, more than any other goal, their societies needed new kinds of cities. They were deeply fearful of the consequences for civilization if the old cities, with all the social conflicts and miseries they embodied, were allowed to persist.

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