The Modern Utopias That Failed To Get Off The Ground
Whether it’s peace, green energy or a balanced economy, everyone has an idea of how they would like to see the world changed around them, if anything were possible. With complicated politics and voting systems in play, however, many of us simply have to aim for compromise, accepting that we can’t always get our way. For some people, however, settling was simply not an option. These radical thinkers decided to take society into their own hands, forming their own vision of what they thought the world should be like. While these utopias might have worked in theory, they simply failed to get off the ground, becoming just another event in the history book of time.
- Soul City
Finding life in rural North Carolina in the 1970s, Soul City was an attempt to build a black only community in the area, creating a safe commune for those in need. Thought up by civil rights leader Floyd B. McKissick, the intention of the place was to act as a haven away from crowded urban areas, forming a new kind of African American society. Although the city was granted $1 million in funding from President Nixon, it failed to attract enough inhabitants with its vision of a better world, falling into disarray before it had even taken off.
Once upon a time, Jonestown was the thriving centre of the People’s Temple, a religious organization led by Jim Jones in 1970s Guyana. The town was initially thought up as a socialist’s paradise, giving like minded individuals a safe haven from the prying eyes of the media. While things might have started off on good footing, they soon fell apart and not before long, the U.S. government was sent in to investigate a number of mysterious deaths. Things came to a head when U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered during a visit, followed by the mass suicide of over 900 of Jones’ followers.
The capital city of Macedonia, Skopje is a place that has been hit time and time again by disruption. Due to natural disaster, the city has been recreated a number of times over the decades, with each architect putting in place their very own idea of what the city should represent. Most recently, Skopje was transformed into what was described as a “concrete playground”, blotting out any sign of culture or individuality.
Colonies have a habit of turning into disasters. One of the most recent attempts to colonize an area into a utopia had the same effect, culminating into something the founders might rather forget. Leaving his native Finland in the 1930s, Toivo Uuskallio set his sights on a former coffee plantation in Southeastern Brazil, hoping to solve the world’s unemployment in one fell swoop. The community, Penedo, got off on a bad foot from the start, doomed by poor soil quality and consistent forest fires. While the town ended in financial ruin, the locals were introduced to the Finnish concept of sauna, which continues to thrive to this day.
Taking influence from the huge success of desert city Dubai, Ordos was set up by the Chinese government in the Gobi desert region of Mongolia in the early 2000s. Kitted out in skyscrapers and all the modern conveniences conceivable, the city had everything in place it needed to thrive. It was a disappointment, then, when things failed to come to fruition. Despite costing billions of dollars, the project lost momentum and now remains simply as a ghost town of what could have been.