Ordering and Disordering the Future City

This provocation first started me thinking about planned and unplanned cities, and how planning interventions shape the future. There is a rich seam here. I then started thinking about Sci Fi representations of order and disorder in the future city. Here are images from four films.

The Ordered City – The Handmaid’s Tale

Filmed in Toronto. An ultra-conservative social order mediating urban interactions. The existing urban form remains and is made even more symmetrical by the lines, ranks, queues through which the citizens populate the public realm.

The Ordered City Disordered – Clockwork Orange

Filmed in Thamesmead Estate, a 1960s utopian Brutalist housing development; sickening violence undermines the order, and the narrative raises questions about whether the state can and should impose order and perfection on the individual.

The Disordered City – Akira Battle Angel

The cyberpunk movie aesthetic launched by Bladerunner, often has Asian (or Asian influenced) cities, frequently with an oppressed underclass scrabbling in recognisable variations of street-scapes (Mars in Total Recall), with the corporate wealth residing high above.

The Disordered City Ordered - Judge Dredd

A terrible film with the awful Silvester Stallone, Judge Dredd is set in Mega City One, a sprawling megapolis covering much of the eastern seaboard of the US. Many Sci Fi movies (Robocop, Minority Report) have a combination of technology and heroic individuals (like characters from American Westerns) imposing law and order on a disintegrating city.

Peter Madden
Bristol, March 2021

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