off the chart…


Constantinos Doxiadis in his analysis of utopia observes that some see it as a happy, ideal place, while others consider it as an impracticable place, its existence impossible.

Lesson / Koan : Destiny or Density.

Often, utopia is given both positive & negative meanings simultaneously, making for more confusion. Doxiadis notes Patrick Geddes’ observation that “utopia” could have originated in either of two Greek words: u-topia, meaning no-place, or eutopia, meaning good place.

BTW,

Considering both meanings valid and necessary, Doxiadis proposes a diagram that overlays them on two axes. On one axis he plots degree of zeal which progresses from place (topia) to no-place (u-topia).

This is a measure of the possibility of realization, or perhaps of place-ness.

On the other axis he maps degree of quality, which progresses from dystopia (bad place) to eutopia (good place). While this diagram is subjective, which Doxiadis admits, it is useful for considering the utopias that guide us in the planning of our cities. Although Doxiadis used it to position various utopias, this essay is more interested in the terms he applied to the extents of utopia.

The term Ekistics (coined by Constantinos Doxiadis in 1942) applies to the science of human settlements. The notion of ekistics implies that understanding the interaction between and within human groups—infrastructure, agriculture, shelter, function (job) — in conjunction with their environment directly affects their well-being (individual and collective).

NOTE :

Constantinos Doxiadis had vision to foresee the problems coming to the US midwest in the 21st century.

from  TIME magazine – Friday, Nov. 04, 1966

Cities: Capital for the New Megalopolis

Another area is growing even faster, and will ultimately pose bigger problems. This is the potential “Great Lakes Megalopolis,” which will soon stretch without interruption from Pittsburgh to Chicago, by the year 2000 will contain a population of 45 million. Fortunately, in the opinion of City Planner Constantinos Doxiadis, the great heartland megalopolis has a natural focus and headquarters in Detroit —if the city will only rise to the challenge.

As Doxiadis projects it, Greater Detroit will eventually cover 23,000 sq. mi., stretch 150 miles long, 220 miles wide, and include 37 counties: 25 in Michigan, nine in Ohio and three in Canada. The area will have a population of 15 million centered in the Motor City but with secondary concentrations at Port Huron, 55 miles to the northeast, Toledo, Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor.

Manifest Destiny.

By that time, both Chicago and Pittsburgh will have expanded until the edges of the three cities touch. Because of its key location on the St. Lawrence waterway and at the junction of East-West rail and motor routes, Detroit “is in the most advantageous location to act as the central urban area of this space.” To be sure, Doxiadis added firmly, “Detroit’s role is not the most important at present. It is an industrial center, but it does not provide services for a major urban area. It is not attractive as a center city.

If Detroit is to live up to its manifest destiny by the second millennium, it will need massive urban redevelopment: roads, ports, airports, research facilities and shopping centers must be strategically located and built in the next 33 years.



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