University of Hertfordshire

  • Paul Cureton
  • Laurens Versluis
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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2015
EventUtopia: Experiments in Perfection - Spirella Building, Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Nov 201512 Nov 2015


ConferenceUtopia: Experiments in Perfection
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLetchworth Garden City


The concept of utopia, for many people, may have extinguished but the power of imagining cities remains vital (Brook 2013). David Pinder’s (2005) call for critical utopianism in comparison to authoritarian forms of future city is particularly relevant in contemporary projections of ecological cities in the United Kingdom. The evaluation of past visions of cities is therefore of particular importance for utopian studies and future cities. There is of course a disjunction between pure city imaginaries and landed utopias. Welwyn Garden City is a primary case in which to explore the latter and the normative realities of a planned utopian city one hundred and five years later. A Spatial Accessibility by Space Syntax supports several theorems of contemporary city performance regarding landscape urban form and transportation for this paper. These theorems are used to examine the agency of the original planning images of Louis de Soissons (1920), and diagrams of Howard (1898) which are blueprints for an ideology displayed in a paper world, translated into built form. This built form and everyday life of Welwyn Garden City has eroded many of those ideologies but nonetheless they remain a dominant category of city imagination (Hardy 2011).

Research outputs

ID: 9848623