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Utopian Thought

500 Hundred Years of Failed Utopias

In 1516 Saint Thomas More wrote the book Utopia, coining the term and establishing a bar for future community planners for centuries to come.  At the tail end of the 500th year since its publication, the USC Libraries system has compiled an exhibition called 500 Years of Utopia.

The exhibit focuses an an amalgam of real-world utopias and the fiction that produced them, looking at what a utopia means to society and the society that it sprung from.  More info and photos here.



Henry Ford has an interesting duality:  he paid living wages and launched the five-day workweek, but he was also an unabashed capitalist and industrialist, interested in money and power on top of a taste for fascist racists.  In his attempt at making the world in his image, he built his own utopian city in the Amazon jungle.  Called Fordlandia, it was Ford's attempt to gain control over the rubber his vehicles dearly needed.  It never quite worked as Ford expected, and with WWII looming it never took off as the industrial utopia Ford had wished for.


Alphabet's Utopia

Alphabet, the company behind Google and its brethren, has decided to build its own city.   This technological metropolis will, of course, include Google Fiber, ubiquitous internet, self-driving cars, and all the other modern marvels Google is at the forefront of.   In designing a city, however, Google will need to embark on some decidedly non-cutting-technologies, like water supplies, sanitary sewers, garbage removal, and sidewalk repair, depending on how far into world-building they are intending to go.


White Supremacist Utopia In ND

Craig Cobb began buying up properties in the small North Dakota town of Leith in order to build a community that fits his ideas for the perfect community. This is how most uopias start, but Cobb's is the dark side of what people think of when it comes to utopias: Cobb is a white supremacist, and wants to take over Leith to estabilsh Cobbsville, a community that fits his expectations for what a right and upstanding town is.


The Kingdom of North Sudan

A man from Virginia promised his daughter she'd be a princess someday.   To follow through with his promise, a flag was made and a drive through the desert was planned...

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