chapter  2
Utopian urban forms and linear urbanism
Pages 21

This chapter demonstrates the historical continuity between the contemporary globalization and the earlier socialist modernization in rebuilding and expanding the great cities; both programs sought to continue the Chinese revolutionary legacy: to destroy the old and to build a new China that rises among the nations. The chapter argues that the historical continuity particularly manifests in the combination of ideology-informed utopianism and administrative pragmatism in state-led urban programs and in the combination of monumental and linear urban forms produced by these programs. With the birth of the modern industrial metropolis and its limitless growth, another pragmatic urban form appeared: linear urban expansion or linear urbanism. These urban forms reflected the combination of utopianism and pragmatism in urban development. Linear urban development is pragmatic and efficient; it realistically reflects a fluid and contingent urban process in the age of automobiles, as did the colonial street grid in the pre-automobile age.