No-Place in Place: Utopia vs. Context in the 21st Century


Utopian Studies Society 13th International Conference, Tarragona, Spain, 4 - 07 July 2012

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Tarragona
  • Country: Spain
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Even though the presence of several conflicting urban trends around the world at any one time is not new, its acknowledgment falls into late 20th century. This acknowledgment coincides with the architects' and planners' shift in goals form creating the ideal city towards designing a sustainable environment capable of evolving in an era of conflicts, constant growth and change.  This shift from the dream of the ideal towards recognizing the forces of reality puts utopia on the table this time in a different position than the earlier ages. Its double meaning as "good place" and "no place" gets questioned in the 21st century within which contextual forces cannot be overlooked. Thus, utopia as 'no place' does not find its place in the contemporary society. On the other hand, however, not as a goal but as a tool of projection and critique its presence is obligatory. It becomes crucial to discuss the role and place of utopia in this age of recognized conflicts. It is critically important to question how utopian thinking in the 21st century may depart from this point and overcome the weaknesses of the past.  Therefore, the aim of this presentation is to elucidate the role/place of utopia in the contemporary age and question its (potential) transformation bound to 'context