City of RefugeSeparatists and Utopian Town Planning

City of RefugeSeparatists and Utopian Town Planning

Michael J. Lewis

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780691171814

Publisher: Princeton University Press


The vision of Utopia obsessed the nineteenth-century mind, shaping art, literature, and especially town planning. This book takes readers across centuries and continents to show how Utopian town planning produced a distinctive type of settlement characterized by its square plan, collective ownership of properties, and communal dormitories. Some of these settlements were sanctuaries from religious persecution, while others were sanctuaries from the Industrial Revolution. Because of their differences in ideology and theology, these settlements have traditionally been viewed separately, but this book shows how they are part of a continuous intellectual tradition that stretches from the early Protestant Reformation into modern times. Through close readings of architectural plans and archival documents, many previously unpublished, this book shows the network of connections between these seemingly disparate Utopian settlements—including even such well-known town plans as those of New Haven and Philadelphia. The most remarkable aspect of the city of refuge is the inventive way it fused its eclectic sources, ranging from the encampments of the ancient Israelites as described in the Bible to the detailed social program of Thomas More's Utopia to modern thought about education, science, and technology. Delving into the historical evolution and antecedents of Utopian towns and cities, this book alters notions of what a Utopian community can and should be.