Urban Utopia

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Urban Utopia

The search for a Utopia is an old metaphor always a dream since the creation of an organized society and now a thorough vision by many politicians, urban planners and sociologist.

Now the city as we knew is finally melting, reasoning and proposing a possible ideal, urbanity might provide a conceptual and operative instrument to tune and develop political, cultural and aesthetical practices that might become inclusive and beneficial to inhabitants of the new urban condition.

The aim of this study is to enlighten these questions: How to discover the potential of continuity between Past, Present and Urban–Utopia Future? How to deal with the problems and incompatibili­ties caused by the impact of time differences, both in philosophical and in practical terms? And what are the new alternative approaches which could reconcile traditional princi­ples, contemporary needs and the Utopian future?

Keywords: Deconstruction, Restructure of time, Urban continuity, Urban Merge, Utopia

This is an interesting and relevant subject, but I have too many questions. The abstract is mystifying in several points, with concepts not well explained or referenced. I am aware this is only an abstract and it is difficult to introduce complex ideas, but these are the points I would like to see clarified: 1. "[utopia is] now a thorough vision by many politicians, urban planners and sociologist". First, the author must make absolutely sure his/her sentences are grammatically correct. Second, I am not aware of "many" politicians, urban planners and sociologists who build their policy making and analysis by utopian thinking. Could the author give a better explanation or perhaps examples? 2. "Now the city as we knew is finally melting", this is frankly the kind of bombastic assertion that finds little relationship with reality. What does "melting" it mean? Cities are melting, but where? Everywhere? In Europe? In Africa? 3.The research questions: A. How to discover the potential of continuity between Past, Present and Urban–Topia Future? (what does the author mean? Why do utopias need continuity?) B. How to deal with the problems and incompatibilities caused by the impact of time differences, both in philosophical and in practical terms? (This question is completely mesmerising. Is it based on any current discussion in philosophy and urban studies. Can the author provide a reference? What does "problem and incompatibilities caused by the impact of time differences" mean? Time differences between the formulation of different urban utopias? C. What are the new alternative approaches which could reconcile traditional principles [of what?], contemporary needs [of what? where?] and the Utopian future? [which one] I strongly encourage this author to clarify her/his abstract and resubmit.

Social justice in the plural

The reasons for the non-existence of the ideal can be found in the field of social justice. The idea is that in general, the utopian society ideal cannot achieve social justice. Utopia is, in fact, generally accompanied by more or less restrictive and more or less implicit rules that block the way to achieving the ideal, justice.

Social justice, like spatial justice, which is a major component of social justice, is judged here according to criteria of equality or equity and liberty. Although they only rarely spell out a theory on justice, utopias claim that they achieve a just society where individuals are free and where equality (or equity) is guaranteed.


Equality is often claimed but the concept of equality receives very different interpretations depending on the historical period and geo-political context (Rosanvallon, 2011). This is a dual question: equality of what and equality of whom? Equality of social conditions, equality of work conditions, equality of incomes, opportunities, rights, obligations, satisfaction, well-being or degrees of utility? When, for example, we refer to equality of incomes, is it for equal work, equal skills or in an absolute sense? Equality on the basis of a single criterion may be accompanied by the absence of other forms of equality. The principle of equality in the Declaration of the Rights of Man is equality before the law, an equality of rights. It can tolerate many other inequalities.

Equality expressed with regard to society as a whole can only be achieved in a sub-group of the society. Plato’s equality, like More’s, was compatible with a slave class. The egalitarian principle in 19th century America was also deemed compatible with slavery, then with racism and the resulting discrimination and spatial segregation (Rosanvallon, 2011).


With regard to equity, isn’t this a particular form of equality, the equality of satisfaction, or opportunities or outcomes? Simplifying to the extreme and taking inspiration from Aristotle, we could consider that equity consists of applying the same rules to individuals with identical characteristics (horizontal equity) and different rules for different individuals (vertical equity). But the latter principle is not sufficient. Equity is only achieved if the rules are adjusted in such a way that corrects the non-egalitarian consequences of the differences in characteristics. The policy of redistribution goes in this direction. But equity, too, is multi-dimensional and although it is possible to know if a rule increases equity, it is impossible to determine the conditions in which perfect equity would be achieved because it is impossible to define perfect equity.


define. Let’s consider that liberty is a set of effective options. Everyone has the option to act and to interact to achieve what he wants and to ensure equality or equity.

The analysis of the links between utopia, equality and liberty places us in an embarrassing situation. We can show that the association of the three concepts is generally impossible. Egalitarian utopia is likely to deny liberty, if not equality itself. Free utopia can limit liberty and/or result in inequality and inequity.

Utopia affirms the possibility, indeed, the will, to establish an ideal society, most of the time in the context of an urban microcosm. The possible, whether purely imaginary or intended to be tangible, necessarily assumes that there are playing rules that are consensual or imposed, more or less restrictive, more or less agreed to. The possibility of the ideal does not always go without saying. The ideal, even if imaginary, city’s rules of the game still rest on axioms that are to greater or lesser degrees burdensome, simplistic, and most often implicit. Although utopias are generally the result of a rational intellectual construction (Ruyer, 1950), the reasoning is imperfect and no utopia is completely free of flaws of logic. The failure of a single axiom is enough to destroy the possibility of the sought-after ideal. More generally, it could be suggested that since the utopia proposes another possible world, this world is necessarily imperfect (Lacroix, 1994).