Of Utopias

Radio Utopia Episode 03: Escape as Reconstruction


This podcast uses Lewis Mumford’s concepts of the Utopia of Escape and the Utopia of Reconstruction as the framework to analyze two projects that may not seem to fit the traditional utopian criteria. Looking at Disney World’s EPCOT Center and Victor Gruen’s Southdale Shopping Mall in Edina Minnesota, this podcast illustrates how two projects that may seem like isolated escapes from reality have subtle functions as reconstructive utopias with effects outside of their escapist forms. These projects don’t intend to supply escape from society; rather, they operate in isolation to redefine elements of the human experience without radically reshaping society-at-large.


Works Cited:

“EPCOT 80’s Map.” Retro Disney World. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://www.retrodisneyworld.com/component/joomgallery/park-maps/epcot-map-80-s-4005.html.

“The Gruen Effect.” 99% Invisible. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-gruen-effect/.

“Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision For Today.” The Walt Disney Family Museum. March 31, 2017. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://waltdisney.org/exhibitions/tomorrowland.

Gruen, Victor. The Heart of our Cities . New York: Simon & Schuster, 1964.

Gruen, Victor. Southdale Shopping Center (1956). Image Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.

Marin, Luis. “Utopic Degeneration: Disneyland.” Disneyland as Degenerate Utopia. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://homes.lmc.gatech.edu/~broglio/1101/marin.html.

Mumford, Lewis, The Story of Utopias. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922.



The Ronettes – Paradise (1965)

Boards of Canada – Chromakey Dreamcoat  (2005)

The Beach Boys – Disney Girls (1957)

Kamaiyah – Mo Money Mo Problems (2016)


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