Course Description

How have utopias influenced the imagination, imaginaries, and design of cities? Utopias are “non-places” of ideal societies conceptualized through the desire for perfected economic, social, and political relations and values. These values in turn influence social and physical infrastructures, and spatial and cultural formations. We will ask what can we learn from these desires? Whose desires do they center? How do they help us think about the city? 

This course will tap into the history of modern utopias that have given people ways to think about radical transformations as foils to existing social and spatial configurations. Utopia and the City examines these ideal visions critically to examine their promises and shortcomings. Each week we will tackle the concept of utopia, heterotopia, or dystopia and analyze case studies by using thematic lenses rather than following a linear chronology. 

Utopia challenges “straight time”: history as linear, with “no future but the here and now of our everyday life.”
-José Muñoz