Eden Project, Cornwall, England
When looking at Utopias from the Benevolo reading, we see that Owen’s conditions of a Utopia includes: “the adoption of human labour as the unit for measuring value, and the creation of an internal market, thus increasing the. workers’ profits so as to enable them to be consumers of the goods produced and not mere instruments of production” (Benevolo 48). This post industrialization critique comes at a time of anomie, which is defined by Marco Cenzatti as a characteristic of a lack of balance.
Drawing from Marco’s lecture we also see that a Utopia is:
- Not about the future, but rather a critique of the present
- Autocratic, not democratic
- Not flexible in its blueprint characteristics.
- Not able to grow but rather repeat itself in space
- Not able to change since it is perfect already
I identify the Eden Project as an example of Utopian Planning. The Eden Project is a collection of gardens situated in biomes mimicking world climates in South Cornwall, England. Beyond the breathtaking scope of flora, the Eden project provides a self-contained museum, program for higher education (BSc), recreation, and lodging. All of which is constructed and hidden within the craters of a former desolate china-clay pit.
I view the Eden project as a utopia because it is in a fixed location with clear boundaries and a common purpose of supporting and maintaining horticulture. Being built in 2001, I think that it reflects the issues of rapid environmental degradation and issues of deforestation. It ironically sits within the English countryside far from cities and smog, yet is juxtaposed against the managed farmlands and the arguably homogeneous wildlife of the English countryside.
I made a trip to the Eden project this past spring during my semester abroad and was able to experience the sustainable design features first hand. Complete with a stay in a repurposed shipping- container-turned-hostel, my trip to Eden was nothing short of Utopian experience. After my daylong emersion wandering the biomes and eating locally prepared and organic food, I found myself day dreaming about attending a program here and spending more time in this colorful and manicured world. I wasn’t until I was on a bus exiting the valley that I took a look back at the tiny compound and realized the almost artificial scope and purpose of the tiny Eden community nestled in South Cornwall.
Here are some photos from my visit:
Lecture 1/24/2017 Marco Cenzatti- Environmental Design 4B
Photos: Amy Craik 2016