The Utopia of Personality: Moisei Ginzburg’s Project for the Moscow Park of Culture and Leisure
This article focuses on Moisei Ginzburg’s competition entry for the Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Moscow (1931), assessing its nature as a utopian landscape. It demonstrates how the program of the project emerged from the debates on modernist town planning as an attempt to adapt ideas developed in the course of these debates to existing urban context. Emerging prior to the rest of the modernist urban environment, the park assumed the role of representing the settlement of the future within the city of the past, while simultaneously forming a part and parcel of the urban system to come. It was both inscribed into the modernist system of the zonal division of the city as the recreation zone and itself divided into separate zones, becoming a miniature model of an ideal modernist city of the future. The project was based on the principles of “disurbanism,” an approach to town planning, which Ginzburg earlier developed in his project of the Green City near Moscow (1930). Following the theoretician of disurbanism Mikhail Okhitovich, Ginzburg declared the individual (rather than the family or the group) the basic unit of society, and consequently, personal development became the major mission that his park was to perform. As a result, the Park of Culture and Leisure became not a site, but a mechanism of personal and urban transformation.
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