Musing on Utopian Communities
In times like these when violence, intolerance and xenophobia are rampant throughout communities around the world, I have been reading up on past endeavors of people who rebelled against the injustices of their time and created their own communities free of the trappings of their countries oppressive regimes and mores. I recently started reading a book called, This Land Is Your Land: A Graphic History of Big Dreams, Micronations, and Other Self-Made States by Andy Warner and Sofie Louise Dam, which gives a beautifully illustrated overview of dozens of these types of utopian communities. Here are two that I would like to visit in the not too distant future.
This free town was created in an abandoned military base in Copenhagen. At the time there was a housing crisis in the city and people were unable to find affordable housing. A group of people started squatting in the abandoned military base and it grew in reputation as a safe place for hippies to remove themselves from mainstream society; many of the inhabitants were drug addicts however. They did have a way to make money, their main traded commodity was marijuana and other cannabis related products. Unfortunately, with drug sales brought violence and gangs. I found this community of interest not only because they have built many idiosyncratic structures in their town that are quiet modern and beautiful but also that they have managed to exist in a major city for many decades in relative peace and co-habitance. It hasn’t been perfect, there have been some incidents that resulted in murder of innocent people. It also already had infrastructure in place from the military base, so things like an electricity plant, a public bath-house, and an athletics facility gave them a huge opportunity for a large group of people to use the grounds because they were already in the city plumbing and electricity grid.
Denmark and Scandinavia as a whole is an area in the world where communities are more accepting and have a much better health care and security system for their citizens. This community is on my list of “utopian communities” to visit in the near future.
This community in Southeastern India was founded with the ideals of inclusivity and human unity in mind. It started in the 1930s and thrives to this day. It is an example of how people from diverse backgrounds can come together and build something awe-inspiring not for a king or queen or deity but for all to enjoy. As stated on their website, “ the purpose of Auroville is to realize humanly unity- in diversity.” It is most famously know for it’s magnificent large golden globe which is a meditation center and has been recognized by UNESCO in 1966 by the country of India as, “ a project of importance to the future of humanity.”
The architecture that has been constructed is impressive. The city planning is surrounded by a gorgeous Green Belt with quadrants for international people, culture, industry, peace, and residential houses. (See map below)