Utopia on Trial – Vision and Reality in Planned Housing



(quotes from the book by Alice Coleman) 

pg 3. Because of the DoE’s reluctance to take design problems seriously. This book has been written as an analogy with a trial. what is put on trial is the ideal environment, Utopia, which design control was intended to create and which has been retrospectively described by a noted American architect, Phillip Johnson as follows;

“we really believed, in a quasi-religious sense, in the perfectibility of human nature, in the role of architecture as a weapon of social reform . the coming utopia with everyone would live in cheap prefabricated flat-roofed multiple dwellings – heaven on earth.” 


pg 6. It is sad and surprising that neither of the two mainsprings of our modern utopia – Garden city and Radiant city – had any scientific background whatsoever. On the contrary, both were based upon intuitive beliefs and prejudices, embellished by unsupported theorizing and made contagious by sincerity, enthusiasm, fine phrases and attractive sketches. They were carried into action by such powerful propaganda that they have become deeply embedded in our way of thinking, and difficult to dislodge.

pg 9. The existing should also be observed , to act as a constructive model, and ‘good’ should not merely be equated with aesthetic appearance but should focus upon what actually worked to promote a stable social structure.

pg 14 – Oscar Newman – He identified the design that seemed to encourage crime, Newman advanced three unifying principles that explained how crime was made easy to commit and difficult to prevent: anonymity, lac of surveillance and the presence of alternative escape routes 



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