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The social challenges of industrial revolutions and the rise of intellectual framework motivated a shift of planning from aesthetic to the provision of solutions through design of new environment during the 19th century. The planning of cities or urban dwelling has developed over the centuries with new ideas being used in designing cities. Indeed, the process of urban planning evolved because of various forces that have shaped the development of urban centers since the pre-industrial time into the 21st century (Jerram 16). More than other regions, Europe has experienced many changes in urban planning in comparison with other countries. In Europe, the various factors and interest group influenced on the development of pre-industrial cities, but this changed after the Europe had gone through the industrial age. In contrast to the post-industrial age, pre-industrial Europe urban planning was driven by aesthetics, which shaped the building and planning of many cities in this period. However, the industrial age brought with its myriads of social challenges such as overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor health, and congested cities, which triggered planning, directed to solve these issues.
The urban planning in pre-industrial cities was driven by the notion of romanticism, which called for an alignment of the planning process with the monumental and geometric traditions during this period. Following this tradition, most of cities were built to depict a laissez-faire tradition characterized by imaginary designs and aesthetics values among other key attributes. The driving force of this period was the value that people attached to building the cities given that aesthetics was an essential element that most of the pre-industrial European cities depicted. For example, many cities, like Rome and Greece, had the magnificent building that demonstrated that place of aesthetics in planning .The notable structures in these cities included the Coliseum in medieval Rome and the Acropolis in Rome .These structures were built using the high expertise to reflect the fundamental value of beauty and to preserve those in authority. For instance, the Emperor Domitian built a palace on the one of Rome’s hills creating a suitable place to set his imperial rule.
The proponents of planning that centered on the aesthetics included Camillo Sitte, who advocated for the use of enclosed spaces inspiring the imagination of onlookers. Because of the influence of Sitte, many cities in Europe, such as Vienna and Salzburg, bore a design that displayed a high level of the aesthetic focus. The dissatisfaction of people, like Sitte, led to the dramatic transformation of cities such as Vienna into the cities build with the practical aesthetics in mind. This city could offer people with social amenities that were not in existence in the industrial cities. Because of the reason, Sitte became one of the well-known architects in the pre-industrial cities.
The coming of the industrial revolution brought many significant changes to the whole Europe and other parts of the world. In Europe, the increased demand for the industrialization and extraction of natural resources increased the migration of people from rural areas to urban ones due to new job opportunities (Jerram 3). With the introduction of mechanization, people moved to cities such as Yorshire, Cumberland, Dudley, Leeds, Birmingham, and Manchester. While there was a significant improvement in the economic production due to the industrial output, social conditions were lowered as people worked under poor conditions. For instance, new cities started undergo the congestion, poor sanitation, and the lack of proper sewage and sufficient parks, poor health, and the contestation in cities .The industrial revolution, which took place between 1750s and 1850s, had from now become as a blessing. However, it triggered a shift of how architects started proceeding with the urban planning. With many industrial revolutions causing the dissent among people who liked the order of pre-industrial cities, the utopian movement rose with the intention of carrying out the urban planning to mitigate the ills and disorders marking many cities in Europe.
The introduction of the utopian approach to planning was a drastic response to the generation being evident in many industrial cities. Architects and other urban planners believed that cities and homes could be designed in order to change the behavior of people and to bring changes to other facets of their lives. This notion was based on an intellectual framework that could allow creation of new plans of how cities would be built. The utopian idea was built on developing new buildings that could provide people with new forms of life that would “shape, material and fabric” of the urban culture and change lives (Jerram 318). In Europe, the planners like Robert Owen and Charles Fourier played a fundamental role of creating modern communities that would mitigate many social ills rife in many of the European industrial cities. The utopian movement focus was to achieve something that could make people better and for them to live in harmony. This goal of bringing harmony to cities and communities aligned with the notion that harmony can be only achieved by planning the environment where people are living. With the idea of the utopian planning, many planners envisioned the communities where people would have been living in harmony with one another.
With the birth of the utopian planning, many urban planners came with various concepts on the utopian world to have the similar principles. Between the late eighteenth and the start of the nineteenth centuries, the utopian notion has spread across Europe and other vital towns in the the United States. One of the prominent utopian proponents, Ebenezer Howard, visualized an urban setting where cities would have the greenbelts between them. In Germany, the Third Reich adopted the Garden city to increase the level of hygiene in some of the cities .These among other initiatives gave a promise of the new feature without the chaos and pathetic conditions of the industrial revolution.
The stakeholders of the utopian system of planning were architects and politicians as well. With the political systems interested in developing the healthy population for their own benefits, the idea of mitigating such diseases as the typhoid cholera and tuberculosis became exceedingly popular. However, many goals could not be realized because of various constraints that served as the bottlenecks in the process of urban planning. However, the areas with meaningful resources achieved their utopian dreams characterized by creation of new communities with the better quality of living than those living in congested areas.
In conclusion, the urban planning experienced a transformation during the nineteenth century when the planning shifted its focus from aesthetic to the idea of utopian, where the urban planning would help in mitigating social problems. In the pre-industrial cities like Rome, Athens, and Vienna, such architects like Sitte focused on aesthetics. However, the birth of the industrial revolution brought chaos as the new towns were poorly developed. In these towns, the diseases, congestion, the lack of parks, and poor sewerage were a common sight. However, the birth of the utopian system during the end of the eighteenth century brought a promise of new communities where people would live in harmony. This harmony was believed to be linked to the new design of cities with the gardens such as the Garden City built by the Third Reich in Germany. Whereas the utopian idea received much applause from architects and politicians, many of these projects never materialized because of limited resources and the lack of the proper central coordination.