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Anatomization of

UTOPIA -case of Barcelona city

Esa Shaikh
First year of Masters
Chapter 1
What is Utopia?
Utopia, disambiguation, is individual's or collective imagination toward the
best of what he can get or make in the future. It's the ultimate dream where instead of
survival, the adrenaline rush to live is the main subject to highlight. Each will have their
own perspective towards Utopia. Its not defined with any parameters, not judge by
any critics, not anaylysed by any subject. Its one own imagination filled with best
dreams without any Loopholes or tasks.Its a dream to create ideal society.
A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or near perfect
qualities. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in Greek for his 1516 book Utopia. The
term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an
ideal society, and imagined societies portrayed in fiction.

Utopian city
The imaginary city where
there is no issue of more related
Urban growth. There is well
synchronization to the growth of the
city. People don't have any problem
relating to the society or to the
Urban designing satisfying all the
need of the society of individuals. Its
transcends the limitation and gets
extended to the stage where no
modification is needed, neither with
Image of Utopian city shown in Movie Metropolis, 1927 designing nor with the

It's well noted from

centuries that when cities grow , due
to whereas reasons, it has always
face the issue of Urban
gentrification. Some or other issue
relating to lifestyle, transport,
communication, population,
pollution, etc. is administered. Its too
very impractical to imagine city as
perfect. There is no doubt, the
solving of issue is great upto certain
extent. But its not moving towards

Modern visualization of Utopian city

Italo Calvino has romantically sympathized Utopia city as city would be set
around a meandering river, with many beautiful bridges linking areas of different
character, with elegant squares and public spaces of different shapes and sizes, enclosed
by interesting buildings of varying ages and appearance, linked by lively streets bustling
with people. Landmark buildings of special interest would define key locations and
glorious vistas would lead the eye on from one space to the next. Vehicular traffic would
be unobtrusive and confined to defined zones, with innovative new transport systems
offering clean and speedy means of travelling from place to place. The air would be fresh
but tinged with the tantalizing fragrance of the country, interspersed with appetizing
smells of aromatic herbs and spices from a local market stall. So with my senses suitably
assuaged my emotions would be lifted by an overall feeling of comfort and wellbeing in
harmony with my fellow people .
But our perspective of Utopian City created is totally different. It can be said
that it's the generation art work inspired us. The view of Gloomy city with high tech
technology, with approximate site is oceans or sky is scratched on our mind by Movies
and Art works. s. The city is marked by strong contrasts. Huge structures rise from
crowded streets filled with outcast market traders dealing in cloned animals. These
images are even more frightening because we all know places a bit like this. Our cities
often have fringe areas where decaying backstreets are overshadowed by towering new
developments with strongly enforced security systems. We have homeless people living
on the streets and the lucky people with wealth and security are plagued with fear of
crime and violence. On bad days our cities seem congested with traffic, suffocated by
pollution and run down by crime and social problems .

Image of Utopian city shown in Movie Equilibrium and Blade runner.

Various Architects and Artist have their own way of Recording details and
Expressing Utopia with reference of that recording detail. This detail is also the notice
done with the problem going in that time period or era. Sometime it's totally imaginary
and some time its due to early molding of society with related issue.

Newton's cenotaph, Boullee, 1784

Minuscule clusters of visitors
ascend a monumental stairway at the
base of a spherical monument rising
higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza. An
arc of waning sunlight catches a small
portion of the sphere, leaving the
excavated entry portal and much of the
mass in deep shadow. Bringing together
the emotional affects of romanticism, the
severe rationality of neoclassicism and
grandeur of antiquity, Etienne-Louis
Boullée's sublime vision for a cenotaph
honoring Sir Isaac Newton is both
emblematic of the particular historical
precipice and an artistic feat that
foreshadowed the modern conception of
architectural design. Newton's cenotaph, Boullee,

Garden City concept

The need for the hour in U.K. where
the cities and lifestyles were rotting with
the Miliue of Urban form, Sir Ebenezer
Howard introduced the he Garden city
movement as a method of urban planning
in 1898. Garden cities were intended to be
planned, self-contained communities
surrounded by "greenbelts", containing
proportionate areas of residences, industry
and agriculture.
Garden City concept,
Core with garden surrounded
by residential and green spacing over
layered by industrial blocks.

Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the 1960s - based
at the Architectural Association, London - that was neofuturis c, anti-heroic and pro-
consumerist, drawing inspiration from technology in order to create a new reality that
was solely expressed through hypothetical projects. The main members of the group
were Peter Cook,Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton.

Concept of walking City Concept of City in Sky by Archigram

Broad acre city

Broad acre city was the antithesis of a city and the apotheosis of the
newly born suburbia, shaped through Wright's particular vision. It was both a planning
1) statement and 2) socio-political scheme by which each U.S. family would be given a
one acre (4,000 m²) plot of land from the federal lands reserves, and a Wright-
conceived community would be built anew from this.This concept came under heavy
criticisms in the late 1950 by many critics such as Jane Jacobs in her book The Death
and Life of Great American Cities.

Frank Lloyd Wright with his concept and Model of Broad acre city

Metabolist Movement
TheMetabolism movement was developed during the period of
reconstruction in which war-torn Japan worked to move toward its period of rapid
economic growth. Gathered around the iconic figure of Kenzo Tange the group of
young architects including Masato Otaka, Fumihiko Maki, Kiyonori Kikutake, Arata
Isozaki and Kisho Kurokawa engaged in heated debates over the ideal city, and
planned agreat deal of experimental architecture and cities based on ideas of lifestyles
and communities for a new era.
As their name suggests, the Metabolists responded to urgent
problems like the sudden increase in population and expansion of cities by proposing
large-scale architecture and urban planning that would continue to change in form
organically as opposed to static urban conditions illustrated in Le Corbusier schemes.

Funnel city 'Intrapolis' (Walter Jonas 1960) Kenzo Tange's classic (and unrealized) Metabolist planning
scheme for Tokyo Bay. 1960.

Kiyonoiri Kikutake, Marine City (1958-63). Space city (Yona Friedman 1959-63)

While moving towards Utopia , city has taken total about turn and turned
towards the degradation of themselves. The various Utopian scheme has failed with
changing times or growing demands of society. Society has either defuncted or not
critiacally and sensitively evaluated. This has led to drastic effect on societies and cities.
A dystopias is a community or society that is in some important way
undesirable or frightening. Such societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in
stories set in a future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian
governments, environmental disaster. Dystopian societies appear in many sub-genres of
fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society,
environment, politics, economics,religion, psychology, ethics, science,etc. which if
unaddressed could potentially lead to such a dystopia-like condition.

Dystopia by A. van Eyck, 1967.

Chapter 2
Every city tends to make progress. It tends to move towards utopia in its
own way. Becoming more complex and hence developed. Its very important to
highlight that the Utopia stage is reached in 2 different way that is 1) Scratch and start
way 2) Incremental step way.
Planned city of Brasilia and Auroviile.
1)Scratch and start way :
There is urgent and emergent
necessity of space that is needed to meet the
demand of population explosion and new
governmental administrations in the world.
This is solved by the development of totally
new conceptually designed habitat. This is
further more taken as scratch and the start city.
Its totally developed on no use land or ground
. Some of this city is made to show the aura and
power of the Country or the administration its
ruled by. This design method and process stand
for specific number of population. And if
proper scope of future expansion is not made,
this methods fall into the unusual aspect of
society known as dystopia. Its also noticed the
expansion for future in number of years.
Secondly if scale is small it
completely forms different sect of community
Planned ‘Neighbourhood Units’ by Clerance Perry.
as seen in 'Neighbouring Unit Model' of
american Architect Clearance Perry. This leads
to exploitation of builders and
neighbourhood.etc. Originally surrounded by a
British-style green belt, Chandigarh has long
been bursting its bounds. Designed for a
population of up to 500,000, it is now home to
double that or more. People are attracted by
the city's standard of living: incomes are high,
child mortality low. As well as the green spaces,
there are museums and colleges in abundance,
and new jobs in the IT sector.

Chandigarh, India which Le Corbusier himself contributed to was initially
perceived as a failed city. Kalia claims that the problems experienced by Chandigarh
were from “the absence of local authority, a lack of understanding of the local culture
and values on the part of the planners, and the history of the region. Authority relations,
lines of accountability, and decision-making structures never became clear” .
Chandigarh experienced a sudden confrontation with modernism in what was a
“tradition-bound, rural, and financially conservative” location. Thus, his design was
considered sterile and “profoundly alienating because of the absence of street life”
such as bazaars. Also, in line with the segregation of uses principle, Le Corbusier placed
the capitol complex away from the city, which also had an alienating effect on the
citizens – “this act rendered the monumental dimension of Le Corbusier's vision remote
and distant from the citizens” .
In one sense, this could be interpreted as a failure of Le Corbusier's
ideological belief that design should be ahistorical, but the fact that managerial issues
and explosive population growth were also involved shows that political contexts also
contributed to Chandigarh's problems.

Plan of Chandigarh by Le corbusier

Plan of Chandigarh showing extended city and growing slums

Slums in Chandigarh at colony no.5

Artificially created lake Increase in Crime Rate after 8 p.m. because of deserted street

2) Incremental Steps way towards Utopia
From the centuries long, habitation prevailed in the livelihood of people.
As man is a social animal , Societies are formed within his neighborhood. The space is
sooner converted into Milieu. As soon as the society grows, the clusters of
neighbourhood comes together to form a unit called as town or city. Initially it was very
essential to form cities for securitical, social and economical reasons. This cities are
interconnected for trades , economics and various other reasons giving enormous
velocity for their development. Fast forwarding to 17 centuries, this cities or colonies
have outgrown marvelous architecture and planning sense. Science and technology
have given cities a better place to stay.
As there is transformation, evaluation and modification of small town to
cities with passing time, its essential to understand that the space has responded to
people needs and modified into betterment. Various city has responded to this condition
such as ever growing and transforming Vetican city, initial 7 Island of Bombay forming
Mumbai City, timely planned and designed Beautiful city of Barcelona.etc

City of Paris take big planning steps with introduction

of Hauzzmanization and later providing concept by Le corb
of ‘Radiant city’ for residentials .

Centuries old City of Vatican, underwent many changes to

suit the need of planning .

Athens city took steps to conserve the Fabric so its not lost
with the passing of time, it can be view in the steps of city planned .

Chapter 3 : Anatomization of Barcelona
Barcelona: geography and development
Barcelona is located on Spain's northern Mediterranean Coast. For
centuries, the ancient rivers Besos and Llobregat formed the western and eastern
boundaries of Barcelona: they also determined the position of access routes into the
city. The sea and the coastal strip are to the south of the city, while to the north is the
Sierra of Collserola, a natural mountain barrier to urban development; the plain on
which the city has been built is confined within these natural barriers of the sea, rivers
and mountains: it is punctuated by the foothills of the Collserola and the two hills
near the sea, Montjuic and Mons Taber, a crest overbuilt by earlier settlements. The
piercing of the Sierra Collserola and the building of other major highwaysin Valles,
Llobregat and the littoral has stimulated new urban growth beyond the historical
confines ofthe Barcelona plain.45 Barcelona's distinct urban form originated some
2,000 years ago as a compact Roman oppidum. The
walled medieval centre expanded from that core, supported by an economy linked
closely to maritime activities.
By the nineteenth century, growth stimulated by industrialization
necessitated the demolition of the city walls to permit its expansion. This expansion
was based upon a grid plan by the engineer urbanist Ildefons Cerda. The Eixample,
which is Catalan for expansion, is composed of 550 square blocks set out on an 113
metre module.
The plan by Cerda covered the alluvial plane between sea and mountain
incorporating outlying independent towns, increasing the city footprint to ten times
its original size. The most central part of the Eixample straddling the Passeig de Gracia
became the context in which modernist architects such as Lluis Dominech i Montaner
and Antoni Gaudi built ostentatious homes for the turn-of-the-century nouveaux
riches. It was here too in Eixample that Guadi started the building of his still unfinished
masterpiece, Sagrada Familia.

Old fortified vity of Barcelona where deliberately large space is left behind for defensives purpose .

Slums that came up because of population explosion . City of Public Spaces .

Urban Renewal
The major catalyst of the modern transformation of Barcelona in the
eighties to the present was the 1992 Olympics. With the end of a long dictatorship
known as Franquismo, the city took advantage of its new found democracy as the
Urban Social Movement began. Faced with serious problems of urban decay in both
inner and peripheral
districts, planners used the Games to gain enough funding to complete an amount of
reconstruction that would take any city decades to accomplish.
Olympic facilities were built on neglected urban areas, with the Olympic
Village, developed on brownfields close to the coast. The rail lines that cut and divided
the city from
the sea were opened and for the first time in its history, Barcelona has been able to
turn and face the sea with pride. Six artificial beaches were created to handle the
capacity of tourists that would be in the city for the upcoming Games.
This change was championed by one planner in particular, Oriol Bohigas,
who used the Games as a springboard to built more than two hundred parks, plazas,
schools, and
other public facilities in Barcelona. Most of these amenities were inserted into derelict
areas where crime was high. In one area in particular, El Rival, buildings were retrofitted
to house a modern museum, police station, and other amenities.

Octahegonal blocks of Planning .

Barcelona is now widely known as one leader in innovative planning in the

world. Internationally, it is celebrated for its accessible open space and walkability. It has
survived the economic, environmental and social changes of the last decades through
focusing upon the provision of great urban spaces that centralize activity on a variety of
scales: city, neighborhood, and within each block. In short, Barcelona has been
transformed into a city that provides an example of how to facilitate increasing density
while maintaining a livable and relatively compact city.

Essential Planning Timeline:
1860- Walls surrounding Barcelona demolished to make way for Ildefons Cerdá's
Plan for Urban Renewal
1975- End of Fraquismo and beginning of democracy
1976 - General Metropolitan Plan Implemented
1979 - First democratic municipal elections were celebrated
1980's - City is transformed in preparation for the 1992 Olympics
1980 - Architect Oriol Bohigas arrived in the city council
1983 - The inauguration of public spaces started
1982-92 - More than 490 acres of park had been gained (while 40 years of Franco
produced only 172 acres)
Modal - split method of Transportation is selected encouraging public transport.

Policy to restore and conserve very Narrow lanes and policy to respect Familia sagridia by heights obstruction are passed .

Some of the guiding principles of Barcelona's urban planning include:
Focusing the creation of public amenities in dilapidated neighborhoods first.
Orienting the city back to the Mediterranean Sea by creating access and usable beaches.
Provide adequate public facilities to every neighborhood.
Reuse of brownfields sustainable planning.
Restricting urban sprawl by focusing on redevelopment rather than new development.
Reclaiming famous inner courtyards that act as open space within each block.

Context of the city:

The foundation for Barcelona's transformation has been the city's Example
district, a series of 520 street blocks planned on a grid with major boulevards cutting
through the pattern at 45 degree angles. The visionary urban planner Ildefons Cerdá
worked on the design for twenty years and has been an example to planners. Ever since
the 1860 plan was implemented. Its high quality architecture, attention to community
green space on large and small scales, and ease of access have stood the test of time and
still provide a city that people from around the world love to visit.

Making walking and cycling exciting making La ramble streets .

 Urban Forms - The Death and Life of Urban Block (Architecture Art Ebook)
 Urban Design - Street and Square, Third Edi on
 h p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia
 file:///C:/Users/Esa%20Shaikh/Downloads/a-utopian-city-chris-wilkinson.pdf
 h p://www.archdaily.com/544946/ad-classics-cenotaph-for-newton-e enne-louis-
 h p://contemporaryjapaneseart.blogspot.in/2011/10/utopian-modernity.html
 h p://orange cker.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/le-corbusier-how-a-utopic-vision-
became-pathological-in-prac c/
 h p://www.plane zen.com/node/42309
 h p://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20718410?uid=3738256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21
 h p://architecturalmoleskine.blogspot.in/2012/11/chandigarh-and-le-corbusier-i.html
 h p://www.etsav.upc.es/personals/iphs2004/pdf/166_p.pdf


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