Utopian Archaeologies: Utopian Archaeologies

Paul Cureton, Nick Dunn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The end of the city may be understood in numerous ways yet the image of it endures. Indeed the concept of utopia, for many people, may have extinguished but the power of imagining cities remains vital. David Pinder’s (2002) call for critical utopianism in comparison to authoritarian forms of future city is particularly relevant in contemporary projections of ecological cities. New forms of infrastructure are being demanded with a near utopian zealotry as a reaction to climatic change. The merit of these projects remains a complex issue as they rest on ideals of artificial control and cultivation of natural systems as a mode for ‘better’ living. This could be understood as a neo-garden city paradigm, with underlying capitalist values of insulation and gentrification. Alternative futures are also emerging in the Smart City paradigm of centralised data sets and ‘all seeing’ capitalist eye, in effect a digital data panopticon. These future city imaginaries may be understood to be fully commensurate with neoliberal market forces in the West to produce meta-narratives of urban futures at the expense of alternative projections. This paper will examine the philosophical values embedded in future city visualisations as a mode of extrapolating forms of future city. These embedded positions reflect to Harvey’s passage on the desire for the city (2008: 315), which is interlinked with social cultural and technological values. Thus, visualisations arguably are not just reductive visuals, but evidence of the city we want, need and desire, artefacts of thought of an urban space-time axis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Event16th Int Conf of the Utopian Studies Society - Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 20154 Jul 2015


Conference16th Int Conf of the Utopian Studies Society
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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