Chapter 12: Planning utopia
Open access

Utopia is a deeply and intrinsically spatial concept. When it comes to urban planning, utopian thinking has been influential, more and less explicitly in different moments in time. In this chapter, utopian imaginations in planning are considered through the concrete spatial dimensions of two examples of Dutch planning, executed within the same geographical context but in different moments in time. We compare the new town Almere in the 1970s with Almere Oosterwold, a part of Almere currently in development. We employ Henri Lefebvre's conception of space as a product and show how utopian thinking has not stopped driving (Dutch) planning between modernism and today. We also demonstrate the nuances of the transition between then and now regarding utopian ideals and spatial planning, especially the relationship between the 'spatial' and 'social' elements of said planning. We conclude with the implications of our findings on temporality, planning and utopian thinking.