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(en) ait russia: David Valters. Anarchists and urban planning [machine translation]

Date Fri, 12 Jul 2019 09:48:09 +0300

Public participation in planning and urban planning is an important enough topic to devote to it a separate chapter reviewing this aspect from the origin of the idea in the anarchist philosophy of the 19th century, its development by diverse groups of avant-garde pioneers of planners, including Patrick Geddes and Ebenezer Howard in the beginning of the 20th century on a wide range of planning and design activities, culminating in the practice of "charrette", described in detail in this publication. ---- Leading supporters of civic activism and strong communities in recent decades - Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Ralph Erskine, and Rod Hackney, the British pioneer of participatory architecture, along with many young architects and planners involved in the participatory architecture and advocacy planning movement in 1970s-1980s. This chapter looks at their activities in a historical and political context.

Public participation in planning and urban planning, the creation of master plans has become a key action of the state urban planning policy, proclaimed by the UK government at the turn of the century. The process is also gaining momentum in the US, along with the gradual awareness of local governments of the benefits of reducing conflicts with citizens about interfering with community life. Academic theory has also turned to public participation through the promotion of "participatory planning" as a means of ensuring the legitimacy of new planning efforts in postmodern society. This emphasis on planning as a process reduces the focus on getting the final result (in this case, the master plan), which consistently occurred from the 1970s to the 1990s, but together with "charrettes", the master plan manufacturing process has acquired a new format in which both the process and the result are effectively combined. With the beginning of the XXI century, such a revival of the importance of master plans once again made urban planning the basis of the practice of urban planning.


Events and circumstances in the modern world sometimes have unexpected roots, and the whole concept of public involvement in the planning of small and large cities is no exception. Essential for the evolution of participatory planning has become several completely unrelated historical events far removed in time and space from our present experience. In the summer of 1876, the 34-year-old Russian prince Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), "a hereditary member of the most privileged Russian aristocracy, but a revolutionary propagandist of his own choice," escaped from the prison hospital of St. Petersburg, skillfully avoided meeting Alexander the imperial gendarmes and spies II and landed on a ship departing for England seeking political asylum and freedom of thought to spread their radical anarchist views (Hulse: p.1). Almost two decades later, in 1894, during the rampant arrests of anarchists in France, and the state prohibition of anarchist ideology, the eminent French geographer Eliza Reclu (1830-1905), a well-known member of the international anarchist movement, was allegedly saved from the conclusion of that the British prestigious Royal Geographical Society "confirmed its worldwide reputation" as the most advanced geographer in the world "by awarding him a gold medal" (Woodcock: p.21).

These two deviations from the conclusion of two significant intellectuals of the anarchist movement of the late XIX century kept alive and accessible two directions of thought about society, politics and power, which later turned out to be incredibly important in the history of urban planning and urban planning of the XX century. They have resonance so far: first, people must be empowered to plan their own cities "from the bottom up"; and secondly, communities in their "natural" state function best as a "small-scale collectivist society ... living in harmony with its environment" (Hall P .: p.150).

Kropotkin has provided self-sufficient cities, provided with food produced on the surrounding farms. Factories and shops should provide goods and services for local needs, and city parks should be created on land reclaimed from the former federal aristocracy. In the same vein, Kropotkin's contemporaries thought - reformers William Morris and Ebenezer Howard - defining buildings, and, more generally, neighborhoods and cities "as a product of collective skills ... produced by a multitude of hands" (Hulse: pp.57-59). The opinion of these social reformers and activists was that society should self-restructure, based on the interaction of free individual personalities, and not on the external influence of the forces of centralized power, however good it might be.

In his book of 1898, Fields, Factories and Workshops, Kropotkin expanded this thesis into the concept of "mutual aid" as the determining prerequisite for a new society. Such a collaboration, he argued, would resist the centralized power of the state or large capitalist or state corporations, in which he saw the main reasons for the infringement of individual freedom in an industrial city. Kropotkin illustrates his definition by analyzing the medieval city in Europe, where each neighborhood or parish was often modeled on a self-governing guild of artisans; the city was "the union of these districts, streets, parishes, and guilds" (Hall P .: p.151). Freed from external medieval attributes, his model is very similar to the basic idea of the New Urbanists, which they, in turn,

Kropotkin's French colleague, Eliza Reclu, substantiated the assertion that freedom and justice "can be found where free thought is released from the chains of dogma ... where honest people ... freely join together with the aim of mutual learning and for restoration ... complete satisfaction their needs "(Reclus, in Clark and Martin: p.62). Rekul believed that "patriarchal, authoritarian, power-based institutions of society" are conspiring against human freedom and nature, and that social and environmental justice can be achieved only when people rediscover and experience reunion with others and with nature through "fascinating, transformative activity. Reclus "pointed to the rebirth of a rich, highly individualized and socially self-sufficient person (s) the rebirth of a free,

Another significant figure was involved in these alternative and community-based views on urban development and urban planning - Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), the famous Scottish geographer. Geddes, traditionally recognized as the father of regional planning, was in close contact with Reclus and Kropotkin, and can best be described as "unclassifiable scholar" with far-reaching interests in geography, biology and social sciences (Hall P .: p. 143). Most importantly for our study, a kind of Scotchman relied on his knowledge of the works of Reclus, Kropotkin and others, and put into the modern planning theory "the idea that men and women can build their own cities" to avoid the world of mass production and centralized power (Hall .: p.263).

Geddes took the position that "society should be restored not by inclusive government events ... but by the efforts of millions of individuals" (Hall P .: p.152). In this case, ordinary people can form neighborhoods, collaborate in the city, and join together to create and manage geographically defined regions. Geddes' vision also included the increasing role of nature, propagated from an ecological point of view, first described by Reclus in his philosophical aspiration, positioning human being inseparable from the environment, its geographical properties, flora and fauna of certain natural regions (Clark and Martin: p.5) . Describing urban conditions in 1915, Geddes wrote that "children, women, workers in the city can go, but rarely to the village ...[M]s should then bring the village to them" (Geddes: pp.48-49). Geddes represented an organically developing urban form, where nature was inextricably linked with the urban environment, which was the result of the joint efforts of the communities themselves, and all of this was established in a geographically and ecologically defined area. This was, in effect, a brief description of the Garden City of Ebenezer Howard.

Howard, of course, developed topics in common with anarchist philosophy for his Garden City, including local government, self-government, and community identity. Howard published his radical proposal for the Garden City in 1898, under the heading: "Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform," the same year as Kropotkin's Fields, Factories and Workshops. Born in Britain in 1850, Howard lived in America, namely in Chicago, for several years during the 1870s, which eventually led to the emergence of new suburbs in Britain and America. Howard appreciated the increase in rural accessibility thanks to the railroad that made them reachable directly from existing cities and towns - a factor that fundamentally changed the long-standing justifications for the static location and shape of cities: large populations could now be moved to and from remote rural areas, if provide efficient mass transportation. One of the strongest reasons for moving out of the city was the abundance of cheap land in the countryside, during Howard being especially undervalued. In addition to the urban problems of industrial overpopulation and poverty in British cities, rural poverty has also been very common. The British agricultural industry at the end of the 19th century was exhausted by the recession, and Howard sought not only to get out of the urban crisis, but also to alleviate rural poverty by transforming depressed rural areas into prosperous new cities. In addition to the urban problems of industrial overpopulation and poverty in British cities, rural poverty has also been very common. The British agricultural industry at the end of the 19th century was exhausted by the recession, and Howard sought not only to get out of the urban crisis, but also to alleviate rural poverty by transforming depressed rural areas into prosperous new cities. In addition to the urban problems of industrial overpopulation and poverty in British cities, rural poverty has also been very common. The British agricultural industry at the end of the 19th century was exhausted by the recession, and Howard sought not only to get out of the urban crisis, but also to alleviate rural poverty by transforming depressed rural areas into prosperous new cities.

Howard's practical scheme envisaged income derived from the transformation of cheap farm land into urban land, using the money raised to finance the development of new cities, reinvesting profits into the public infrastructure of the community. Despite the Howard's reluctance to fix any specific plan of the city, his famous diagrams clearly illustrate the importance with which he endowed the public infrastructure. He placed public institutions in the heart of the community, surrounded them with a park, and this open space surrounded the glass-coated linear structure with all the city's trading functions, a very close prototype of today's shopping mall. Outgoing from the center, residential areas included areas of any size for any set of social classes, and behind them were industrial and production areas.

More important than physical form for Howard were his processes of social and economic organization and management. In his famous "three magnets" diagram, the final words under the new "city-village" paradigm are "freedom" and "cooperation", the two pillars of the anarchist philosophy of Reclus and Kropotkin.

As Hull points out, these words "are not just rhetoric; it is the essence of the whole plan "(Hall P .: p.95). Once the mortgage debt paid by the self-governing community is replaced by infinite revenue from increasing the value of the land and selling land for new development. Then the proceeds can be sent to the local national welfare fund. The increasing value of land will result in the community "founding a fund of free pensions for the elderly, the poor, who are now incarcerated in working-class homes; to drive out despair and reawaken hope in the chest of those who failed; to silence the stern voice of anger, and awaken the soft notes of fraternity and goodwill "(Howard: p.13).

The garden city has become a source of inspiration for urban planners and planners for a century, and this economic, social and environmental mixture of the city and nature still serves a number of planning principles today, mainly for the New Urbanists. It is surprising now to remember that another hero, more precisely, the heroine of New Urbanism, the American author and city critic Jane Jacobs, brought down very caustic criticism of Howard's ideas. In recent years, it has become fashionable to raise Jacobs to a level almost holy for her passion and eloquent protection of cities, and for the sharp attacks on traditional planning contained in the 1961 book Death and Life of Great American Cities. This magnum opus (great deed), of course, is a terrific work, exposing and carefully dissecting many myths of traditional planning; her timeless advice for planners and city planners on how our cities and neighborhoods really work, unlike theories on how they should work, is still relevant today. But not everything Jacobs wrote in her passionate, but surprisingly ridiculous criticism of urban planning was correct.


Clark, JP and Martin, C. (eds). (2004). Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: The Radical Social Thought of Elisée Reclus. Lanham, MA: Lexington Books.

Geddes, P. (1915). Cities in Evolution. London: Williams & Norgate. Reprinted (1971) as: Cities in Evolution: Critics. New York: Harper & Row.

Hall, P. (2002). Cities of Tomorrow, 3rd edn. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Howard, E. (1898). Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform. London: Swann Sonnenschein. Reprinted (1965) as: Garden Cities of Tomorrow. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hulse, JW (1970). Revolutionists in London: Unorthodox Socialists. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Woodcock, G. (1980). 'Misreading radical history: the anarchist way to socialism.' Review of Fleming, M. The Anarchist Way to Socialism, Croom Helm, Rowan and Littlefield. The New Leader, 28 January, 21. New York: New Leader Publication Association.

(Excerpts from the chapter "Planning, urban planning and the power of citizens: complicity in planning from anarchists of the 19th century to the present day" in D. Valters' book "COMMUNICATIVE LINK DESIGN:" carts ", master plans and forming codes," translation:


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