Foundational Basis of Architecture Design: A Machine of Space/Light/Order

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (aka Le Corbusier or Corbu), the famed Swiss/French architect, urban planner, and design theorist, exclaimed: “To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects”.

Looking at and experiencing Los Angeles personally in our era of time, it is hard to imagine function and objects, or Space/Light/Order working together as we collectively sit in gridlock on one of Greater Los Angeles’ myriad number of freeways. Architects facilitate the construction of forms and shapes to make things hold together. If those forms and shapes are well designed, then the architecture will “move us.” With the scale that is Greater Los Angeles, and the pattern of movement through this giant megapolis dominated by the automobile, it is hard to see the “machine” of architecture as Corbu did functioning as intended.

Le Corbusier was a visionary. He saw the potential of the modern city, after WWI in particular, as inextricably attached to the Industrial Revolution and the Age of the Machine. Le Corbusier developed planning ideas based on the foundation of three elements: Space/Light/Order. Le Corbusier wrote extensively of his insights to city planning within the maxim of “A house is a machine for living in”. Le Corbusier was a utopian thinker when most of the European nations and the United States was transitioning out of the Great War (i.e., WWI).

What are your thoughts on Utopia visionaries in general and in particular trying to apply their beliefs to Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-Century?

Le Corbusier, La Ville Radieuse (Utopian Radiant City)

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

44 Comments

44 thoughts on “Foundational Basis of Architecture Design: A Machine of Space/Light/Order”

  1. I tend to be suspicious of Utopian thinking. “Utopia for whom?” is a commonly heard refrain, and I think it is especially relevant in relation to architecture and city planning, two areas in which people are most likely to come into contact with the physical manifestations of utopian visions. Le Corbusier says “A house is a machine for living in.” But what happens if the machine is not built for you? What if the machine is designed to crush you in its gears? The architects and city officials making decisions about the construction and organization of our cities are rarely those whom these decisions might affect negatively, and the construction of the Los Angeles freeway system is a prime example.

    In his paper titled “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” Jovanni Perez illustrates how freeway construction in Los Angeles was used as a tool to segregate and displace non-white communities in order to realize a Utopian vision of white suburbs. Automobile transportation and a system of rapid transit highways were essential to this vision. “City officials would many times consider areas of predominantly Mexican, African-American, Italian, Irish, and Russian Jewish residents as slums. They often believed that these freeway construction projects would help eliminate them from the city landscape and simultaneously improve commerce and travel. This belief always left those without any political power at the mercy of those creating construction plans.” The paper is a pretty interesting read with lots of good sources in the bibliography; you can find it here: https://thetorohistoricalreview.org/2017/09/29/the-los-angeles-freeway-and-the-history-of-community-displacement/

    As we continue into the 21st Century, I think we need to move away from Utopian visions. At the very least we must move away from the paradigm of those with power forcefully imposing their Utopian dreams upon people whom the Utopians consider irrelevant or detrimental to their visions. Especially in the face of incoming climate change disaster, we need a new conception of how we will work towards our future.

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    1. Hi Keeva,
      I share your concerns in regards to who this Utopia is designed for. I think that if we are to continue down a Utopian track, Utopian ideals and plans need to come from a diverse selection of people who work together to create a vision that is also beneficial to those other than the dominant social class, race, etc. I liked your perspective on Utopia visionaries and I was unaware of the history of segregation behind Los Angeles freeways, so thank you for sharing the paper!

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  2. Attempting to create a Utopian vision for cities sounds like wishful thinking. Coming out of WWI, change was a feeling that was felt by most. Leaving the past, and hoping for a better future. Corbu seemed to implement this feeling as he tried to address “modern living” issues when it comes to city planning. A utopian city might have sounded nice, especially coming out of WWI, but Greater Los Angeles would not be what it is today if it was planned through a Utopian lense. The way Greater Los Angeles grew seems almost “natural.” Evolving to adapt in whatever new environment is presented since “modern living” issues are constantly changing as well.

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  3. The ideas provided by Utopian visionaries such as Le Corbusier should be taken as a guideline that is aimed to “put in order” in the city such as Greater Los Angeles. The main challenge of trying to apply their beliefs to the city is that the modern world is constantly changing. After
    WWI a new way of thinking was emphasized leading to a house being a “machine for living in.” The main concern with the topic of a utopia is that as technology advances new ideas arise and the city evolves. For instance, the global pandemic has once again changed our world and people are starting to realize that the city will not be returning to normal as a result of the virus. In this sense, Utopian visionaries had the correct mindset of proposing city planning solutions to issues still relevant today such as freeway traffic and the connection to nature. The ambitious goal to create a perfect city might be impossible but to strive for that “Utopia” and allowed adaption of new concepts as society advances can be accomplished. The Utopian visionaries of the early 21st center saw that the city of Los Angeles without careful architectural structure would develop without a sense of direction later causing complex obstacles harder to resolve as the population increased. As Le Corbusier said we need to put an order in “Function and Objects” to prevent chaos in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The ideas provided by Utopian visionaries such as Le Corbusier should be taken as a guideline that is aimed to “put in order” in the city such as Greater Los Angeles. The main challenge of trying to apply their beliefs to the city is that the modern world is constantly changing. After WWI a new way of thinking was emphasized leading to a house being a “machine for living in.” The main concern with the topic of a utopia is that as technology advances new ideas arise and the city evolves. For instance, the global pandemic has once again changed our world and people are starting to realize that the city will not be returning to normal as a result of the virus. In this sense, Utopian visionaries had the correct mindset of proposing city planning solutions to issues still relevant today such as freeway traffic and the connection to nature. The ambitious goal to create a perfect city might be impossible but to strive for that “Utopia” and allowed adaption of new concepts as society advances can be accomplished. The Utopian visionaries of the early 21st center saw that the city of Los Angeles without careful architectural structure would develop without a sense of direction later causing complex obstacles harder to resolve as the population increased. As Le Corbusier said we need to put an order in “Function and Objects” to prevent chaos in the future.

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  5. Utopian visionaries like Le Corbusier seem to strive to move away from the horrors of WWI and create a vision of order and uniformity. They build to put memories of war in the past and help work towards their idea of a utopic society. Some people end up displaced and excluded from these plans, since it is a “Utopia” for people but not all people. Typically, with this kind of Utopian vision they want middle-class-nuclear-families while the poor are undesired.

    In attempting to apply their Utopic beliefs to Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st century, they don’t want to reflect reality at all. They aim to “sanitize” the city and make it more homogeneous. It removes a sense of individuality and gives off the feeling that people who reside in a “Utopic” society are generally the same and almost indistinguishable from one another. Everything that Utopic visionaries don’t think have a place in a “perfect” city is pushed out.

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  6. The Utopian visionaries of the past should be appreciated for the immense forward thinking and their intention for envisioning what cities could become. Although examples like Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, or Wright’s Broadacre City never truly came to fruition, they were extensive visions that had lasting impacts on what cities like Greater Los Angeles would become. The main concept these visionaries brought along was the idea of structure and developing a sense of connectedness that would help mold the vast amount of ingenuity happening after the war. To this day we still see some of these ideas in Los Angeles, especially with freeways such as the 110 which basically takes you from the rolling hillsides of Pasadena, to the coastal culture of San Pedro without ever feeling like you left the city proper. This shows us just how horizontal of a city Greater Los Angeles became and yet can still be structured in some cases. Although this isn’t evident city wide, I still believe it was that search for intentional structure which allowed the adaptation of new ideas as time went on and cities expanded. After all, no matter how organized Le Corbusier and other urban planners were, change is something that is constant and was inevitable in the dynamic megalopolis that Los Angeles became.Thus, these tremendous thinkers of the early 21st century must be lauded for their radical search to find solutions to the rapidly growing urban and social crisis of their era. While their visions may not have emerged as planned, their ideas became the threshold for the planning of the future.

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  7. Cities such as Los Angeles are rapidly changing and evolving. What is now a megapolis, was once different cities with clear borders and spaces in between. Greater Los Angeles is the result of exponential growth, and with this growth, new buildings and structures are being built to accommodate the influx of people and their vehicles. Utopian visionaries such as Le Corbusier imagine bringing more structure and cohesiveness through introducing his own ideas of “Space/Light/Order.” I think that envisioning and potentially implementing modern solutions to current problems within large cities is important, especially today within the context of the pandemic. While I don’t believe that achieving a perfect city is entirely possible, many significant architectural and structural advances can be accomplished in striving to do so.

    However, I think it is important to question the handful of those that envision and work towards this Utopia for the masses. What they view as a Utopia may be a vision that has negative consequences felt by large communities of people.

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  8. I agree with the comment above made by Keeva, I think the motivations behind creating “Utopias” are often suspicious, and rooted in the idea of keeping people separated by class and race. Even if the planning behind a Utopia is created without this intention, it’s hard to anticipate all the needs of every community member ahead of time without leaving any room for adaptation and growth. While I don’t think it’s possible to create a “perfect” community in one go, I do think it’s important to plan certain aspects of neighborhoods, such as access to food and green spaces. Here in Las Vegas there are areas (low income and usually non white) that don’t have easy access to healthy food, and that isn’t by accident. If someone is going to create a true “Utopia” it has to be for everyone, not just those who have means.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t have thought of Las Vegas as an area which some groups have a hard time accessing healthy food, but you are probably right. I lived in Philadelphia for a few years which is a much bigger city, and it was definitely hard for many people to get to a decent grocery store. Usually all that was in the hood was little corner stores with junk food and flavored water, no real juice or anything with nutritional value. Also, there is very limited nature such as trees or any other plants. Just concrete. I also believe it is done intentionally, but I hope everyone has access to healthy food in the future. That would be my version of utopia.

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  9. My thoughts on Utopia visionaries are a bit mixed. I believe that visionaries like Le Corbusier had wonderful ideas about the potential that the modern city could reach. I also really like the idea of design based on space, light and order. Le Corbusier truly was a visionary and a utopian thinker. So while on one hand, I can appreciate a lot of the aspects and ideas utopian visionaries have to offer, I can’t fully support these beliefs, because I don’t believe they can be applied everywhere.

    Trying to apply these beliefs to the Greater Los Angeles area of the early 21st century might be problematic. Los Angeles is known for being a place of distinct cultures and distinct communities. The idea of a “Utopia” could lead to problems because it would be impossible to create a utopia that is actually a utopia for all of the communities and people of Los Angeles. This then might cause certain communities to feel excluded. I don’t believe that these beliefs would be a good fit for the 21st century Greater Los Angeles area. I think some other beliefs might work better and they should focus on embracing the diversity that is shared between all of the distinct communities and cultures of the area.

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  10. I think its best to move away from the Utopian visions. It may have been a good way to start post WW1 for them but no. Rapid growth of population, think about this global warming, etc. ts too much unforseen changes in the GLA.
    I’d have to agree with Keeva about the seperation and fwys. My god mother used to tell me stories about the history of LA and the plans of making sure blacks and hispanics wouldn’t still be able to touch white areas. That they would purposely build these things to seperate poc.
    This vision doesn’t work in the 21st century.

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  11. Utopian visionaries possess a certain forward moving energy that society needs in order to keep getting better. As humans, we are always trying to make things easier… easier is the wrong word, more convenient and sustainable. Utopian visionaries envision an environment where we live in harmony and that is a beautiful thing. I think that they envision a world where not only the architecture is what makes society ebb in a harmonious state, but also the people. The more we evolve, the more we come to understand each other, the more we come to care about each other and that is the underlying key to a utopia. Now, trying to apply these beliefs to Greater Los Angeles in the 21st century sounds crazy because people don’t want to cooperate with each other. But, Los Angeles is a place where there are people from many different walks of life and maybe that makes it the perfect place to implement this idea. LA is a city of people that understand what it is like to be a creative trying to leave a mark on the world. To me, they seem like the type of people that would be willing to work together and try to create something really spectacular.

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  12. Utopia itself means a state of which everything is ideal or perfect. Although this is a great idea, nothing can or ever will be perfect. For starters, technology, economics, and societal changes will prevent one from developing the perfect city. From needing more highways, rail lines, buildings, trails, and walkways as the city develops to the materials used to create said structures breaking down over time. However, the idea behind these Utopia visionaries is absolutely needed to live in a functioning city. For millions of people to live in a structured group and have enough space to function daily requires people with a mindset to see the potential that Le Corbusier did.
    The quote from Marc Maron in the PowerPoint presentation shows our frustration towards freeways and traffic, but no matter how prepared the developer may have been, cities will grow. So how much extra space could newer development give for expanding highways, rails, and trails without wasting space? While I think buildings such as offices are becoming more straightforward for Utopia visionaries to design. Because everything we do is on a computer, building spacious, light, and in order buildings that basically contain desks, wifi, and technology have become less cumbersome without worrying about massive physical storage for files.
    I personally can’t imagine trying to apply the ideals to the Greater Las Angels area. Although it may be difficult, I do believe LA and other cities could benefit from using those ideas of space, light, and order to continue their growth even with all the changes in society.

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  13. After the war, LA must have felt lost and unsure where to start but having the courage to express their dreams through Utopian design was a bold move because they could use space, light and order like no others had before them. New technology lead to new thinking which in turn allowed even more growing and the never ending cycle of evolution began. With the growing city there were also some growing problems such as cars becoming more and more popular without the city infrastructure changing to anticipate this sudden growth. However, overtime, ideas such as keeping pedestrians far from the roadways or creating a more cohesive life with the automobile became popular and are still evolving today into more ways of productive living.

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  14. While the thought of creating the Utopian vision for cities sounds wonderful, it is quite unrealistic in my opinion. While visionaries like Le Corbusier wanted to develop the city with better living and work spaces with the three elements space/light/order, it is impossible to please all people especially with the ever-changing community and advancements. The modern world is constantly changing, and society needs to adapt to these changes, and the Utopian ideals and visions conflict with this. It would be impossible, especially in the area of the Greater Los Angeles to create a Utopian vision that will appeal to everyone in such a diverse community. Somewhere in this Utopian vision in the Greater Los Angeles region there will be communities that feel displaced or excluded.

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  15. I took an elective a few years back on Utopian Societies and Utopian visionaries a couple semesters ago and it has very much changed my perspective of the “Utopia”. I feel like Utopian visionaries have ideas about transforming cities that can be very beneficial to the people living in those cities. They call for varying orientations of transportation (cities separating heavy traffic and pedestrians), transformative cities that change the placement of different infrastructure and so on, but theres seems to be a lack of consideration to how people will react to these changes to their typical city. For utopian visionaries to truly establish these utopian cities, wouldn’t they need to be populated by a utopian citizen – a citizen committed to upholding personal standards and mannerisms that would make them meet the demands of a utopian society, with the potential of having to sacrifice their own standards and mannerisms.

    If a Utopian visionary imposed their beliefs onto the Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-century, I feel like those beliefs would be difficult to adapt to. I haven’t spent more than a total of 2 months in Los Angeles in my entire life but a lot of that time I remember was spent traveling on the freeway for way longer than we should’ve been. Can we really see a separation of people and traffic in Los Angeles? Or is it the traffic that truly makes Los Angeles what it is? I contemplated the idea of Los Angeles having smaller satellite cities where each city has “everything” it needs and people wouldn’t have to travel so far to get to things and cause traffic. But greater Los Angeles has its hidden gems throughout the city and traversing to them in heavy traffic just so happens to be an added bonus to finding those gems. We see diversity throughout the city and this “homogeneity” created by Utopian beliefs seems to go against the greater Los Angeles scheme.

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  16. The modern city is something most would marvel when thinking about. Le Corbusier has been a pioneer in approaching the concept of a modern home, or modern living. Proportion and usage of natural light are recognized and applied in his projects. I would say he missed the mark on city planning, as he focuses on machine-like forms rather than livability. With good intentions, Corbu sought out to explore the meaning and significance within a modern city. In that period of time, I think it was appropriate to consider the removal of chaos through space and order. The sound of “machine” living feels as if the city is a giant factory that is vigorously operating. Looking at images of Corbusier’s “Radiant City”, it gives off a stark contrast to how cities have developed over time. The mass blocks of order, has consequentially distorted the ideas, values and culture that individuals bring to a city. In todays context, I would say the beliefs and idea’s of utopia visionaries are irrelevant and unreflective of the history and culture that brims in Los Angeles. There can be order brought to a city, but it has to be cohesive yet flexible for change. If the approach such as ones taken by Le Corbusier were to be implemented, iconic cities around the world would loose its form of individuality.

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  17. Utopia visionaries seems to be subjective. Every human being desires perfection in some sort of way. The problem is the city is favoring the group of people who have a high income to give them their comfort of living. It makes sense that after WWI utopia desires came to place. People wanted a new life. Le Corbusier’s idea of having “space/light/order” sounds wonderful but with the growling population of Los Angles would be impossible. Then also, the different communities Los Angles has, a symmetrical, everything being connected in aesthetic manner, could be boring. The beauty of Los Angles communities make it much more desirable.

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  18. Utopia visionaries in general are forward thinkers and are proposing urban planning for the future, you must appreciate that. However, planning a utopia is always going to cause controversy due to the pressure of designing a perfect city for the people, citizens having their own opinion and beliefs on what the view is as a so-called perfect city. When applying Le Corbusier’s three elements of urban planning such as space, light, and order to the greater Los Angeles of the early 21st century, I believe it lacks all three elements. Los Angeles is a very dense city that is overpopulated, the urban spacing of this city could have been planned out way better to solve this ongoing problem. Although, there has been tremendous strides with this issue of the early 21st century by designing taller buildings and more mixed used buildings. Le Corbusier’s is well known for saying “Light creates ambience and feel of a place, as well as the expression of a structure”. Los Angeles does offer light throughout the city that creates an emotion on the structure and an ambiance, but the city still lacks street lighting for the pedestrians in walk able areas. Los Angeles also does not have the most efficient order within the city due to there always being traffic and the free ways turning into parking lots. I believe that the utopia visionaries’ beliefs are applied to our cities with hopeful forward thinking, but we must continue thinking of ways to make our cities more efficient and work In proper manner.

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  19. The idea of Utopia is an interesting one. While it comes across as “dreamy,” there are elements of it that should be commended. After the war, it makes sense that Le Corbusier would feel inspired towards a change. From what I’ve read and seen on T.V., the ending of the “old ways,” and a shift towards modernization was in motion after WWI. New technologies were being developed and society, in general, was progressing. The initial idea of wanting to create a high functioning, sustainable, and well-designed city is an important one. However, the Utopian vision is a bit unrealistic. What is a perfect society? What’s perfect for me is not perfect for the next person. My personal belief is that while cities do, to some extent need to go through new developments to keep the economy going, there are also negatives that could take place. Some examples include cultural divide, gentrification, destruction of history, etc. However, cultural development, community togetherness, etc can also become possible with a good team of forward-thinking artists. I think that visionaries who “think outside of the box” are important, even if I don’t agree with everything that they believe or do, as they help pave the way. While I don’t believe in a perfect society, I do believe that artists/developers can pick the working aspects of the Utopian visionary to improve the great city of L.A. What’s interesting about L.A. is that it is always changing. There is always something new happening at any time you visit. I think that there is a place for Utopian ideas, especially in a place like L.A. The concept of space, light, and order are all worthy. People in L.A. are used to changes and new ideas, so in some shape or form, Utopian Visionaries would likely be able to create a version of their ideas.

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  20. My opinion on utopia visionaries and them trying to apply their beliefs to Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-Century is a very positive one. I think the people who strive and attempt to build or make progress towards an ideal version of their city, country, or even world are the ones that lay the groundwork for a better future to come. Many people seem to believe that a utopia is impossible to achieve but I would disagree to an extent, it might not be possible to get rid off all the problems in the world but over the years humanity has demonstrated the ability to solve or rework many of the things that plague it. I do have faith that one day we will reach a true utopia and those visionaries might be the ones pushing us towards it, much like what the city of Las Angeles represents.

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  21. Utopia Visionaries have great ideas to help the city be ideally perfect, but sometimes their ideas can be the opposite where visions can result in chaos. Le Corbusier is a great visionary, believed that there should be a system in a megacity (Space/ Light/ Order). The perfect radiant city: where people have the luxury to have a shared green space in the center of the buildings, where each floor of the tower is like a village, schools, and playgrounds for children are on the rooftop, vehicular traffic is far from human interaction (underneath the ground) and businesses are on the vicinity. These are what Le Corbusier describes the radiant symmetrical city of the future where it caters to humans living comfortably. Le Corbusier’s idea of the “Radiant City” can be seen in minuscule examples within mixed-use buildings, the implementation of the macro changes of the city, it can be impossible to create.
    Applying these ideas to the modern greater Los Angeles of the 21st Century can become hectic. The differences in the hierarchy of people (from the wealthy to the middle class and the ones in poverty) can be an issue. The financial status of the constituents may conflict in forwarding these changes. The people may not want to mingle with people they have nothing in common. There is also the segregation of many different communities created by the freeways and have different cultures and beliefs. In able for these Utopian ideas to come to fruition, there must be a massive reconstruction of the city. Rebuilding will need to take time and money. The idea is leaning towards more into the ideal ways of communism, where people live in equal harmony and hard work may not get you the reward you deserved. Utopian societies are just not cut out to be implemented into modern Los Angeles because the city will lose its culture and individuality.

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  22. In theory, I think that utopia. visionaries had a good intention for applying their beliefs to Greater Los Angeles. It would be amazing to have a city like Los Angeles more organized and easier to navigate through. The truth is that this isn’t really achievable because there would be a select few that would benefit from a utopian city especially with a city as large as LA. There are communities and members in LA society that would be pushed aside and displaced in order to accommodate a city like that. I feel like this is a way to separate people by race and class and that is damaging.

    It makes sense that after all the trauma and horrors of WWI, that LeCorbusier would want to create something that is really stable without thinking of the other effects that it could have to people living in the city. We can always borrow some ideas from utopia to make the city easier to live in, but I think it would be difficult.

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  23. I have found that ideas about utopia are often grand idealizations that on paper sound amazing and very convincing but in reality are deeply flawed and unrealistic. On the other hand, I think it is important and necessary to constantly be on the look out for where things can be altered and improved, but maybe this is something that must happen over time rather than through a great overhaul. Keeva made a point that I had never considered before and made me question the concept of utopia – Somebody always loses out.

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  24. I believe utopian visionaries in general wanted to create idealistic living situations for all people. However, this vision is an extreme challenge. It is highly complicated to find ways to accommodate all individuals in a society because their needs are not all the same. I think that in order for utopian visionaries to apply their beliefs to Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-Century, they would have needed great foresight. Creating a masterplan is a good start, but these cities needed room to grow, and they obviously very quickly outgrew the original parameters that were put in place. I think that since WWI, civil engineers and other city planners have done their best to evolve and adapt current measures, but their efforts are soon outweighed by influx of new residents and the growing population. Ultimately, I think that Le Cobusier and other city planners of his time were right minded in things that would keep a city simple, organized, and include essentials, but unfortunately the could not ensure that the residents of their city would uphold and manage their systems.

    -Martha Hall

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  25. In the early 20th Century, Utopia visionaries, in general, were a magnificent idea if it would work, but as we know, it was unrealized in the urban masterplan by Le Corbusier. Trying to implement it again in the 21st Century would not work.
    When Le Corbusier projected ‘Ville Radieuse,’ (The Radiant City), a city of skyscrapers placed in open parkland, was presented in 1924 and published in 1933 Ville Radieuse. It contained an effective means of transportation and an abundance of free green space and sunlight; his utopia would create a better society and a better lifestyle. It was thought of as radical, strict, and in its order, symmetry and standardization were found in totalitarianism. Le Corbusier’s proposed ideals were influenced by modern urban planning and helped develop the new high-density housing typologies. Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition; the result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.” One could see in NYC above 23rd Street heading uptown when describing the geometrical layout. Le Corbusier’s plans make sense as he explained the reasoning behind his thinking. When placing the business district in the center, monolithic mega-skyscrapers with a height of 200 meters (approximately 50 floors or 653 feet tall), and accommodating five to eight-hundred thousand people, otherwise known as a civic district, with the main form of transportation being a vast underground system of trains that would transport citizens to and from the surrounding housing districts enabling them to travel to work without a car. The people would live in pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known today as apartment units, and could accommodate 2,500 people and function as a vertical village. Catering, laundry facilities would be on the street level, school and pool on the roof. Parks would be between the apartments, allowing natural daylight, minimizing noise, and placing all residents’ doorstep facilities. It sounds great in theory. Jovanni Perez explains in “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” how the politicians and people with power used the freeway to segregate what people called the undesirables non-white communities. Including the expansion of trolley railways allowed urban life to be taking advantage of the suburbs’ space and community. The railways were racially mixed, such as Watts and Boyle Heights, where they intersected. Which caused issues since some people believed the interactions along with tight quarters were detrimental to personal health. While this can be seen by the development of freeway planning and construction, which you would need cars to use, clearly separated racial fraternization. The freeway increased the urban sprawl horizontally and lead to the fall of the Red Car trolley system.
    The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government. In the aftereffects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier – 9. https://www.archdaily.com/411878/ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier/52001cc3e8e44e6db0000007-ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier-image

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  26. The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government.
    In the after-effects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier – 9. https://www.archdaily.com/411878/ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier/52001cc3e8e44e6db0000007-ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier-image

    Like

  27. In the early 20th Century, Utopia visionaries, in general, were a magnificent idea if it would work, but as we know, it was unrealized in the urban masterplan by Le Corbusier. Trying to implement it again in the 21st Century would not work.
    When Le Corbusier projected ‘Ville Radieuse,’ (The Radiant City), a city of skyscrapers placed in open parkland, was presented in 1924 and published in 1933 Ville Radieuse. It contained an effective means of transportation and an abundance of free green space and sunlight; his utopia would create a better society and a better lifestyle. It was thought of as radical, strict, and in its order, symmetry and standardization were found in totalitarianism. Le Corbusier’s proposed ideals were influenced by modern urban planning and helped develop the new high-density housing typologies. Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition, The result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.” One could see in NYC above 23rd Street heading uptown when describing the geometrical layout. Le Corbusier’s plans make sense as he explained the reasoning behind his thinking. When placing the business district in the center, monolithic mega-skyscrapers with a height of 200 meters (approximately 50 floors or 653 feet tall), and accommodating five to eight-hundred thousand people, otherwise known as a civic district, with the main form of transportation being a vast underground system of trains that would transport citizens to and from the surrounding housing districts enabling them to travel to work without a car. The people would live in pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known today as apartment units, and could accommodate 2,500 people and function as a vertical village. Catering, laundry facilities would be on the street level, school and pool on the roof. Parks would be between the apartments, allowing natural daylight, minimizing noise, and placing all residents’ doorstep facilities. It sounds great in theory. Jovanni Perez explains in “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” how the politicians and people with power used the freeway to segregate what people called the undesirables non-white communities. Including the expansion of trolley railways allowed urban life to be taking advantage of the suburbs’ space and community. The railways were racially mixed, such as Watts and Boyle Heights, where they intersected. Which caused issues since some people believed the interactions along with tight quarters were detrimental to personal health. While this can be seen by the development of freeway planning and construction, which you would need cars to use, clearly separated racial fraternization. The freeway increased the urban sprawl horizontally and lead to the fall of the Red Car trolley system.
    The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government.
    In the after-effects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier – 9. https://www.archdaily.com/411878/ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier/52001cc3e8e44e6db0000007-ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier-image

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  28. A Utopian idea for a city sounds good on paper but not in real life. There is a reason it doesn’t exist. As a former architecture student, I learned that cities, especially ones that are deemed “perfect,” are hurtful to the environment. If a city was made to be perfect, where does all the fun come from? If everything is exactly the same I would feel burn out. Diversity is important for creatives. Los Angeles is home to many creatives and I feel if their environment was perfect, it would be hard to find the beauty in it. Another reason this is bad is because the idea of perfect is not the same for everyone. The cities would have been designed with the designer’s idea of perfect. To me, imperfections are the greatest beauty when it comes to cities as they give character.

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  29. The idea of a utopia is a single persons vision. Utopia is established by each individual, so what works for one person is a prison to another. Some enjoy the busy downtown LA or NYC life where there is never a dull moment, full of fast pace workers, people, and everyone has something to do, so the size of their condos and living like worker ants doesn’t bother them due to the culture and experiences, home is used for just sleeping. Those like myself enjoy the more open aspects of being able to have a home, room, plenty of breathing room, able to live in a minimalistic style, while access to being able to garden outside. So to me, living permanently in an area where I do not have much space, not able to garden, not able to be by myself and enjoy the silence would be a hell. Utopia is individual and never ideal for everyone.

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  30. What are your thoughts on Utopia visionaries in general and in particular trying to apply their beliefs to Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-Century?

    In the early 20th Century, Utopia visionaries, in general, were a magnificent idea if it would work, but as we know, it was unrealized in the urban masterplan by Le Corbusier. Trying to implement it again in the 21st Century would not work.
    When Le Corbusier projected ‘Ville Radieuse,’ (The Radiant City), a city of skyscrapers placed in open parkland, was presented in 1924 and published in 1933 Ville Radieuse. It contained an effective means of transportation and an abundance of free green space and sunlight; his utopia would create a better society and a better lifestyle. It was thought of as radical, strict, and in its order, symmetry and standardization was found in totalitarianism. Le Corbusier’s proposed ideals were influenced by modern urban planning and helped develop the new high-density housing typologies. Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition, The result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.” One could see in NYC above 23rd Street heading uptown when describing the geometrical layout. Le Corbusier’s plans make sense as he explained the reasoning behind his thinking. When placing the business district in the center, monolithic mega-skyscrapers with a height of 200 meters (approximately 50 floors or 653 feet tall), and accommodating five to eight-hundred thousand people, otherwise known as a civic district, with the main form of transportation being a vast underground system of trains that would transport citizens to and from the surrounding housing districts enabling them to travel to work without a car. The people would live in pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known today as apartment units, and could accommodate 2,500 people and function as a vertical village. Catering, laundry facilities would be on the street level, school and pool on the roof. Parks would be between the apartments, allowing natural daylight, minimizing noise, and placing all residents’ doorstep facilities. It sounds great in theory. Jovanni Perez explains in “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” how the politicians and people with power used the freeway to segregate what people called the undesirables non-white communities. Including the expansion of trolley railways allowed urban life to be taking advantage of the suburbs’ space and community. The railways were racially mixed, such as Watts and Boyle Heights, where they intersected. Which caused issues since some people believed the interactions along with tight quarters were detrimental to personal health. While this can be seen by the development of freeway planning and construction, which you would need cars to use, clearly separated racial fraternization. The freeway increased the urban sprawl horizontally and lead to the fall of the Red Car trolley system.
    The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government.
    In the after-effects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier – 9. https://www.archdaily.com/411878/ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier/52001cc3e8e44e6db0000007-ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier-image

    Like

  31. In the early 20th Century, Utopia visionaries, in general, were a magnificent idea if it would work, but as we know, it was unrealized in the urban masterplan by Le Corbusier. Trying to implement it again in the 21st Century would not work.
    When Le Corbusier projected ‘Ville Radieuse,’ (The Radiant City), a city of skyscrapers placed in open parkland, was presented in 1924 and published in 1933 Ville Radieuse. It contained an effective means of transportation and an abundance of free green space and sunlight; his utopia would create a better society and a better lifestyle. It was thought of as radical, strict, and in its order, symmetry and standardization were found in totalitarianism. Le Corbusier’s proposed ideals were influenced by modern urban planning and helped develop the new high-density housing typologies. Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition, The result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.” One could see in NYC above 23rd Street heading uptown when describing the geometrical layout. Le Corbusier’s plans make sense as he explained the reasoning behind his thinking. When placing the business district in the center, monolithic mega-skyscrapers with a height of 200 meters (approximately 50 floors or 653 feet tall), and accommodating five to eight-hundred thousand people, otherwise known as a civic district, with the main form of transportation being a vast underground system of trains that would transport citizens to and from the surrounding housing districts enabling them to travel to work without a car. The people would live in pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known today as apartment units, and could accommodate 2,500 people and function as a vertical village. Catering, laundry facilities would be on the street level, school and pool on the roof. Parks would be between the apartments, allowing natural daylight, minimizing noise, and placing all residents’ doorstep facilities. It sounds great in theory. Jovanni Perez explains in “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” how the politicians and people with power used the freeway to segregate what people called the undesirables non-white communities. Including the expansion of trolley railways allowed urban life to be taking advantage of the suburbs’ space and community. The railways were racially mixed, such as Watts and Boyle Heights, where they intersected. Which caused issues since some people believed the interactions along with tight quarters were detrimental to personal health. While this can be seen by the development of freeway planning and construction, which you would need cars to use, clearly separated racial fraternization. The freeway increased the urban sprawl horizontally and lead to the fall of the Red Car trolley system.
    The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government.
    In the aftereffects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier – 9. https://www.archdaily.com/411878/ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier/52001cc3e8e44e6db0000007-ad-classics-ville-radieuse-le-corbusier-image

    Like

  32. In the early 20th Century, Utopia visionaries, in general, were a magnificent idea if it would work, but as we know, it was unrealized in the urban masterplan by Le Corbusier. Trying to implement it again in the 21st Century would not work.
    When Le Corbusier projected ‘Ville Radieuse,’ (The Radiant City), a city of skyscrapers placed in open parkland, was presented in 1924 and published in 1933 Ville Radieuse. It contained an effective means of transportation and an abundance of free green space and sunlight; his utopia would create a better society and a better lifestyle. It was thought of as radical, strict, and in its order, symmetry and standardization were found in totalitarianism. Le Corbusier’s proposed ideals were influenced by modern urban planning and helped develop the new high-density housing typologies. Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical layout is repetition; the result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.” One could see in NYC above 23rd Street heading uptown when describing the geometrical layout. Le Corbusier’s plans make sense as he explained the reasoning behind his thinking. When placing the business district in the center, monolithic mega-skyscrapers with a height of 200 meters (approximately 50 floors or 653 feet tall), and accommodating five to eight-hundred thousand people, otherwise known as a civic district, with the main form of transportation being a vast underground system of trains that would transport citizens to and from the surrounding housing districts enabling them to travel to work without a car. The people would live in pre-fabricated apartment buildings, known today as apartment units, and could accommodate 2,500 people and function as a vertical village. Catering, laundry facilities would be on the street level, school and pool on the roof. Parks would be between the apartments, allowing natural daylight, minimizing noise, and placing all residents’ doorstep facilities. It sounds great in theory. Jovanni Perez explains in “The Los Angeles Freeway and the History of Community Displacement,” how the politicians and people with power used the freeway to segregate what people called the undesirables non-white communities. Including the expansion of trolley railways allowed urban life to be taking advantage of the suburbs’ space and community. The railways were racially mixed, such as Watts and Boyle Heights, where they intersected. Which caused issues since some people believed the interactions along with tight quarters were detrimental to personal health. While this can be seen by the development of freeway planning and construction, which you would need cars to use, clearly separated racial fraternization. The freeway increased the urban sprawl horizontally and lead to the fall of the Red Car trolley system.
    The world did try some of Le Corbusier’s plans, such as the Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer designed a geometrically ordered city that separated the administration zones and the housing districts owned by the government.
    In the after-effects of Modernism, the built cities are hardly ever described as Utopias. Brasilia has been rebuked for ignoring residents’ habits or desires by not providing public spaces. Also, the Unité-inspired apartment blocks, on the outskirts of nearly every major city today, have become a breeding place for poverty and crime; today, a lot has been improved or dismantled.

    CeCe Kay

    Gallery of AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier

    Like

  33. The idea of Utopia as stated in the post is an interesting idea, that if the city was shaped to his vision, it should move as the people operate within them. It would be quite a task to successfully build a place that caters to all people, may be impossible even. The idea of Space/Light/Order would be harder to work in the modern day, as we would have to think about who determines how the city would be restructured. As well, utopias are often seen in a static, undynamic light because in the attempt to reach a “perfect” balance, all the aspects of uniqueness and life are stripped away.

    Like

  34. In the search for ideal society and order, the utopian philosophy has led to efforts to optimize the spaces we live in overtime. Many ideas have been put forward over the centuries about how the ideal residence should be with the innovations brought about by mechanization at the beginning of the 20th century regarding ideal housing, which was shaped continuously in line with the technological, social, and environmental factors at the time it was designed. Concepts such as mass production, machine housing have emerged. In the 21st century, the concepts of mobility, new building materials, and sustainability have gained importance due to the constantly dynamizing structure and environmental problems.

    Le Corbusier’s new perspectives on architecture have unquestionably broadened the horizons of architecture. I think this rigid proportionality and functionalism is an exciting and must-try experience as well as the complicated structures of a highly compulsive and attentive view for Greater Los Angeles.

    Utopia is for the future. However, there is a contradictory situation today: The social utopias of today are no longer forward-looking but backward-looking. At the root of today’s social utopia is “nostalgia” such as natural environment, natural life, clean air, clean water .. Non-petrified environment, additive-free foods, the unperturbed ozone layer, a world without nuclear threat, equal income distribution… I believe utopias also revolve and update themselves, and that what Greater Los Angeles needs.

    Like

  35. In the search for ideal society and order, the utopian philosophy has led to efforts to optimize the spaces we live in overtime. Many ideas have been put forward over the centuries about how the ideal residence should be with the innovations brought about by mechanization at the beginning of the 20th century regarding ideal housing, which was shaped continuously in line with the technological, social, and environmental factors at the time it was designed. Concepts such as mass production, machine housing have emerged. In the 21st century, the concepts of mobility, new building materials, and sustainability have gained importance due to the constantly dynamizing structure and environmental problems.

    Le Corbusier’s new perspectives on architecture have unquestionably broadened the horizons of architecture. I think this rigid proportionality and functionalism is an exciting and must-try experience as well as the complicated structures of a highly compulsive and attentive view for Greater Los Angeles.

    Utopia is for the future. However, there is a contradictory situation today: The social utopias of today are no longer forward-looking but backward-looking. At the root of today’s social utopia is “nostalgia” such as natural environment, natural life, clean air, clean water .. Non-petrified environment, additive-free foods, the unperturbed ozone layer, a world without nuclear threat, equal income distribution… I believe utopias also revolve and update themselves, and that what Greater Los Angeles needs.

    Like

  36. The idea of creating a utopian city sounds ideal, but gets tricky the deeper you get into it. Who is creating this utopia? Everyone has a different idea of perfect, so what if one person’s utopia is another person’s hell? Walt Disney’s version of utopia was his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, also known as E.P.C.O.T. Who is to say though that E.P.C.O.T. is THE true utopia? You can’t please everyone, that’s why the ideal of a utopia is unobtainable. After WWI, I could understand why Le Corbusier would want to create a utopia, everyone was ready for such a change after the war but not everyone had the same vision. A utopia in 21st century Greater Los Angeles would be a difficult task, simply because there are so many different kinds of people, no one would be able to agree on one thing. Greater Los Angeles is always changing, how would this utopia keep up with changing needs, styles, and citizen’s wants?

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  37. I have always thought that a Utopia is a concept to be considered with a great deal of precision and stability, because it can go south very quickly. I think a certain type of utopia can be achieved if it is done in a certain way. Like if they got rid of homelessness, hunger, poverty, and other things that unfortunately affect many citizens within a society, then people would have the chance to work together or individually to create a utopia for others and themselves. That way everyone gets a little of what they want, without needing to subscribe to another person’s ideal of a perfect utopia. And you know in terms of applying it to a modern day and 21st century Los Angeles, I think it is not naïve to believe this can done, but I do think that then the essence of what Los Angeles really is can be lost. So, I do not think it should be done in such a full extent, only in small parts and ways.

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  38. I believe utopian thinkers were needed during this period in time. Many people were exhausted from the first Great War and didn’t have much motivation or energy. Even though utopian thinkers are often looked down upon for their extremely ideal thinking, their presence is appreciated because they invigorate aspects of living that others are unaware of. No one really thinks all too much of the greater machine of living, their lives are contained to only what is presented in front of them. Corbu thought of the bigger picture that no one else was thinking of, so that those same people could live potentially better lives. Whether or not Corbu or other utopian visionaries succeeded in their visions of Los Angeles is irrelevant. Their pursuit of perfection solidified that there vision would result imperfect, but without them the dream of Los Angeles becoming an “American Dream” city would have died a long time ago. They had created the foundation of modern Los Angeles.

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  39. I believe that Utopia visionaries are hopeful in some ways. Those who have the values of human life and only want the best for everyone definitely are respectable. However, I also do believe that Greater Los Angeles of the early 21st-Century can / could not become a Utopia. I think there is a difference between visions and reality. Everyone would hope for everything to go perfectly and equally. In reality, there are selfish people and other factors including environment, economy, etc. Utopia visions are nice to discuss and imagine. Besides that, we should branch out to other things and focus on the present problems we need to solve such as climate change. Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs. Le Corbusier is still a respectable and knowledgeable person.

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  40. I think the idea that any city including Los Angeles could actually achieve a utopia is foolish But I do not think that those that aspire towards it are wrong for trying. To explain further, utopia by it’s very meaning is a state of perfection and perfection itself by law of nature is unachievable. Knowing this however you still wouldn’t tell a chef to stop trying to improve their recipes because they can never be perfect. And in much the same way I believe we should treat those utopian visionaries, since they are only trying to improve conditions of life for everyone by envisioning utopia as goal. So in essence I feel that if Utopian Visionaries apply there beliefs to the L.A of today the results for the most part would be for the benefit of all. I say for the most part because I am of the belief that no one can account for all things and so even the best intentioned plan may negatively impact someone else inadvertently. but this a risk one has to take. For how can anyone know what is truly best without knowing what isn’t. As such I personally don’t have any-problems with Utopian Visionaries applying their beliefs to L.A I only urge that others understand Utopia is not a factual thing and that it should be recognized for what it is, an unattainable goal.
    .

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  41. I believe that Utopia visionaries were in the right with their thinking and beliefs; they had a point in wanting to make Greater Los Angeles into a Utopia, or an ideal place for living. Though, I believe that the world cannot be made into one giant utopia, at least, not all at once, especially in 2020 with the whole COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic forcing people to stay in their homes. Starting off small and creating a city into an ideal place for living may seem beneficial, but trying to force it into Utopia immediately seems like a fool’s errand. I believe that Le Corbusier’s line about how “a house is a machine for living in” is an interesting analogy and one that is fitting for him to say considering what he planned–to make automobiles a big part of his scheme and include more roads for one-way traffic to accommodate that vision. Corbu’s scheme was pretty genius and it seemed to have worked considering that automobiles and roads for one-way traffic are all the more prevalent today, especially in Los Angeles. I believe that Utopian visionaries like Corbu had an ideal way of thinking. Making an entire region, especially one as big as LA, into a Utopia may take time and it may be hard, but judging by how the economy has evolved to include more cars and roads as per Corbu’s scheme, it seems to be working. I believe that, if executed properly, a Utopian vision can be good for the betterment for the people.

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