I am current doing some research and analysis into the fundamental ideas of utopia and dystopia, with particular emphasis on Modern Urban Dystopias and with specific focus on how these ideas can relate to developments in Architecture and the Built Environment. It is an investigation into the connection and overlap between the fantasy view (in film and literature)and the real (dis)representation of the modern city.
This subject has been explored in film and science fiction for decades, with many grand and yet horrific visualisations of what the future city will or can become.
Films such as:
The Fifth Element
I realise there are many other films in similar genres (Waterworld, Mad Max, Terminator etc…) which look at possible future scenarios, but it is ones dealing specifically with the future of densely populated urban centres (and the creation of the ‘underclass’) that I am really seeking to discuss here.
Most of these films have been seen to anticipate the built forms of future architectural endeavours and at the same time project explicit dystopian imagery of the city as a future megalopolis. Many times these futuristic scenarios, as portrayed on film, will provide purposeful commentary on contemporary realities and trends in urban design.
Firstly, are there other films anyone can think of which have created a vision of a future city, complete with underclass, towering structures and exceptional scale of vision? Can you recommend films which explore this particular genre in interesting ways.
How did the futuristic views portrayed in these films hold with the current reality in the modern city? I hold the opinion that many of the predictions of dystopian film makers have been realised now, much sooner than expected. I also believe that current urban design trends are somewhat led by the fictional designs featured in these films. The predictions made are now becoming true.
For those interested in further detail on the ideas I am exploring, the starting point for my writing is the works of Constantinos Doxiadis (specifically a lecture he gave in Trinity College in 1967) and the drawings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Also the work of Ron Herron, Peter Cook et al. with Archigram (visions of Walking Cities)