Utopia and crisis of the post-socialist city: historical transformations of the 19th and 20th century Moscow
Paper in proceedings, 2018
The urban history of Moscow, as well as the history of its masterplans, has been thoroughly described in many studies, not least in relation to the political processes of the 20th century that had an immense influence on the formation of cities in the post-socialist block.
In this paper, the logic behind the historical evolution of Moscow in the 19th and 20th century will be discussed; the aim here is to introduce another perspective of looking at Moscow’s urban transformations.
It is proposed, that the evolution of the city is the constant alternative process between the state of utopia and the state of crises. The state of utopia is usually featured by new visions intending to solve the existing urban problems of that time. The state of crisis that often follows, is marked by the externality effects of realized visions and usually results in urban problems on a different level of scale: again marking the necessity of new visions. Technological developments are integral to these processes; they are used as instruments to solve urban problems, but at the same time, they cause unexpected outcomes that have to be dealt with.
To demonstrate this concept, three key periods of Moscow urban evolution in 19th and 20th century will be studied, including the General Plan of 1935.