Monotown: Urban Dreams Brutal Imperatives // 10.18.21

Author Clayton Strange (Assistant Professor of Architecture, UVA) in conversation with Felipe Correa (Vincent + Eleanor Shea Professor and Chair, UVA)

UVA School of Architecture Assistant Professor of Architecture Clayton Strange, author of Monotown: Urban Dreams Brutal Imperatives (Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2019), discusses this title with Felipe Correa, Vincent and Eleanor Shea Professor of Architecture and Chair.

The book, which received the 2020 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize by the Foundation of Landscape Studies, examines the post-industrial transformation and transnational legacy of planned single-industry towns which emerged as a distinctive sociopolitical project of urbanization in the Soviet Union during the 1920s. Monotowns took form through the teleological establishment of industrial enterprises strewn across remote parts of the Siberian hinterland and entailed the relocation of vast populations requiring services, housing, and social and physical infrastructure. Today, having outlasted the political and economic systems which made them viable, many have become shrinking towns with graying populations and obsolete enterprises, even as they are subjected to considerable national investment and commanded to grow in order to catalyze their respective regions. By exploring the etymology of the Monotown over time, the work establishes a broader yet more specific dialogue about this model’s complex legacy and future.


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