Comment 104258

By Fireweed (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2014 at 16:42:40

Re. the Conclusion: There's planning, and then there's planning. It's similar to the huge political issue today. There's government and then there's government. Bad (i.e. corporate dominated) government doesn't make all government bad.

One of Mumford's major views was "the fallacy of systems." He opposed neat and clean systems that didn't account for life's irrationalities and dilemmas. He favored ideals, but opposed utopianism (see essay in Interpretations and Forecasts," but the key idea is in an even later work). That is, at the end he saw utopianism as authoritarian, like the megamachine, (though he used the word differently, I think, in earlier work). Likewise, he saw city planning by a megamachine (Manhattan project) as something destined to fail (Urban Prospect). As I recall (City Development) Mumford wanted the planning process to include citizens in a gutsy, dramatic way, to avoid these kinds of problems.

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