Utopias and Heterotopias

The purpose of this seminar is to examine two modes of thinking about space, its creation and its influence.The first mode – utopian thought – has been around for long time and, at least since the industrial revolution, has been a key influence on urban design and planning. The Socialist Utopians of the 19th century have offered mental images and examples of different and better societies largely relying on different spatial organizations and configurations. The first part of this course will focus on the influence that utopian thinking still has on present days urban planning and design.The second mode of thinking is suggested by the recent emergence of the concept of heterotopia. While utopias deal largely with physical space, this concept points at the existence of \”other spaces\” that coexist and overlap in the physical environment and create a multiple layering of spatial meanings, conflicts, and uses. Taking heterotopia as its starting point, in the second part of the seminar we\’ll discuss the characteristics of this social space and how urban planning and design can address it.