City of Tomorrow
Le Corbusier’s design of a ‘contemporary city’ 1 for three million inhabitants can be interpreted as a prototype for a metropolis of industrial progress. His plans for a geometrical city model are oriented in decisive ways towards efficiently connecting the business and commercial world in the centre with the residential blocks near the city. Wide expressways are to facilitate direct access to the industrial zones and garden cities on the periphery. In the following decades Le Corbusier’s concept, next to others, became a model for numerous urban developments. The utopia of a fully rationalised city could not be accomplished, because genuine human and social needs played a secondary role in the planning. With the satellite cities of the 1970s, at the latest, it became evident that neglecting the ‘human factor’ had to lead to a rethinking process, which is continuing until today.
City of Tomorrow debates, in various ways, historical, contemporary and future urban developments and housing concepts that can be linked directly or indirectly with the building of functional cities, for which Le Corbusier’s vision stands as a paradigm. A one-sided view on modern housing complexes and inner city zones, that are often described as dreary, is not intended. The programme rather focuses on the question of societal and individual living situations against the background of urban reconstruction and realities made of concrete. Apart from unsatisfied desires and frustrations of the inhabitants, the films tell, in humorous and emphatic ways, about self-willed rededications, private initiatives and personal imaginations. The comprehensive selection leads from the enthusiastic plea for traffic-compatible West German cities in the post-war period, via the furiously poetic tribute to chaotic historical London, up to the vision of a futuristic meta-city consisting purely of data and information. A. C.
1 For the first time presented at Salon d’Automne, Paris, 1922