TDSR 22.2 Spring 2011

Editor’s Note

You Can’t Go Home Again: The Place of Tradition in Firefly’s Dystopian Utopia and Utopian Dystopia
Robert Brown
The Prophecy of Code 46: Afuera in Dubai, or Our Urban Future
Yasser Elsheshtawy
“Stone upon Stone”: From Pablo Neruda’s House in Isla Negra to The Heights of Macchu Picchu
Patricia Morgado
Borderless Village: Challenging the Globalist Dystopia in Ansan, South Korea
Jieheerah Yun
Automobile Utopias and Traditional Urban Infrastructure: Visions of the Coming Conflict, 1925–1940
Ted Shelton

Book reviews


Editor’s note

You Can’t Go Home Again: The Place of Tradition in Firefly’s Dystopian Utopia and Utopian Dystopia
Robert Brown
Science fiction has long been a site in which utopian-dystopian visions have been articulated. This article uses one exemplar of this genre as a springboard into a discussion of the desire for a return to origin and of flawed attempts to impose an image of that origin, with discursions into illustrations drawn from contemporary conditions. In opposition to the hegemonic and reductive tendencies inherent in such attempts, the article proposes an alternative which engages with the everyday reality of life. Intrinsic to this proposition is that our traditions and utopias must be founded upon a continual (re)making in the everyday.

The Prophecy of Code 46: Afuera in Dubai, or Our Urban Future
Yasser Elsheshtawy
Using the premise of Code 46 — a science fiction film whose setting blends existing cities and locales to envision a global metropolis — the article argues that the city of Dubai is emblematic of this imagined dystopian future. The movie is pertinent since it relies on existing locales in Shanghai, Dubai and Seattle, rather than stage sets, and thus evokes a future that is thoroughly grounded in the present. Following a discussion on the role of dystopia in urban studies and science fiction, the article shifts to an investigation of Dubai, focusing on its marginalized district of Satwa. Satwa is revealing because of its outsider status, its proximity to glamorous new developments, and the currently stalled effort to replace it according to a utopian urban renewal plan. The case of Satwa perfectly captures what can be termed the Dubai paradox, containing as it does both utopic and dystopic conditions. As such, it evokes a poignant sense of realness and humanity, a recurring theme within the utopian discourse of science fiction. The article concludes with a discussion of the relevance of such analysis to our understanding of globalizing cities.

“Stone upon Stone”: From Pablo Neruda’s House in Isla Negra to The Heights of Macchu Picchu
Patricia Morgado
Pablo Neruda’s long poem The Heights of Macchu Picchu (1945) transformed the “lost city of the Incas” into a Latin American symbol. During the two years that passed between his visit to the site and writing the poem, Neruda witnessed the art of cut-stone masonry in the process of adding onto his house at Isla Negra on the Chilean coast northwest of Santiago. By examining the design and building of this addition, the article explores the imprint that both the construction project and his visit to Machu Picchu had on his work.

Borderless Village: Challenging the Globalist Dystopia in Ansan, South Korea
Jieheerah Yun
This article discusses the development of Borderless Village, a multiethnic town in the planned industrial city of Ansan, South Korea. Despite the original vision of Ansan as a clean, self-sufficient model community, its subsequent development resulted in the creation of seemingly dystopic conditions. The perversion of initial planning goals, however, has not been able to prevent the emergence more recently of a vibrant community based on the promotion of global citizenship rights. This article argues that ambiguity within the process of globalization may bring both negative externalities and opportunities to transform dystopia into utopia.

Automobile Utopias and Traditional Urban Infrastructure: Visions of the Coming Conflict, 1925–1940
Ted Shelton
Five automobile utopias presaged a conflict of infrastructures that had profound implications for traditional urban form throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century: Plan Voisin (Le Corbusier, 1925 and 1929), The Metropolis of Tomorrow (Ferris, 1929), Broadacre City (Wright, 1932), La Ville Radieuse (Le Corbusier, 1935), and Futurama (Bel Geddes, 1939–40). Each of these proposals sought to resolve the conflict between the ever increasing speed and large-scale geometries of the automobile and the much finer grain and slower speeds of the traditional city street. The article explores each utopia’s typology, intentionality and presentation and its attitudes toward and uses of traditional urban infrastructures.

Book Reviews
Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty, by Stuart Elden
reviewed by Megan Massoumi
Travel, Space, Architecture, edited by Jilly Traganou and Miodrag Mitrasinovic
reviewed by Mike Robinson
Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean: Vernacular Dialogues and Contested Identities, edited by Jean-François Lejeune and Michelangelo Sabatino
reviewed by Anna Goodman
The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation, by Steven W. Semes
reviewed by Kathleen Corbett
Rethinking the Meaning of Place: Conceiving Place in Architecture-Urbanism, by Lineu Castello
reviewed by Carlos Balsas
Art of Building in Yemen, second edition, by Fernando Varanda
reviewed by Joseph Aranha

 

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