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Embodied Utopias (Architext Series) by Amy Bingaman

By Amy Bingaman

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Such proscriptions are always space-specific. The power to write, inscribe and enforce spatial rules, all linguistic practices, is one facet of coercive potential 24 Ⅺ Chapter 1: Is There a Built Form for Non-Patriarchal Utopias? ■ based on class, race, sex, age, or even species (‘no pets’). Equally, linguistic graffiti, inscriptions of anti-rules, are forms of resistance. Hierarchies of Gender and Class Utopian hierarchies are often based on class and gender categories. The hierarchical spatial structure of Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City has been mentioned.

As the essays in this section show, since the late nineteenth century the modern metropolis has been invested with the ability to represent utopian national and cultural visions, but just as frequently reveals the dystopic aspects of such visions. These three essays suggest that utopia and dystopia may not be as easily distinguished as might be imagined, indeed that utopia is in some ways constituted through its opposite. In so doing, they illuminate the complexities of the modern metropolis and help to transform our perception of urban utopias.

He might have concluded that fear of chaos and disorder is male anxiety about this difference, and that it is utopia which has taught planners and city fathers how to remain dangerously immature. Urban and Rural Space flows through both built forms and nature, so has the potential to fulfil the most ancient utopian dream – the harmonization of culture and nature, urbs and rus. Gilman’s Herland’s town has not only beautiful, strong buildings – of dull, rose-coloured stone, clear white houses (which are the public buildings), and a fortress of ‘great stones’ – but these stand in green groves and gardens, like ‘rambling palaces grouped among parks, and open squares, something as college buildings stand in their quiet greens’ (19).

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