Planning the Ideal City
Benjamin (6 years old): “Playground Town”
In the middle of the town there is an energy generator. A bunch of machines move people among different parts of the playground. The majority of the parts of the playground are built from different kinds of candy–you swing, and eat part of your swing; while sliding, you take bites of the caramel sides of the slide; you swim in a pool full of coconut milk (although we’re not exactly sure if this is the best content for the pool–some kids were suggesting other flavors like chocolate or cocoa, and he did not yet choose).
We started our meeting by looking over plans that were created before us by other dreamers: old maps of the Roman towns by Pliniy, plans of ideal cities by Jack Pierre, medieval town fortresses, old Russian, Indian and Chinese maps. Jack Pierre got a lot of appreciation and attention.
Then we watched a bunch of movies, mostly from youtube, that reflected the ideas of our сontemporaries: how to build a bamboo town, a town-park and other technical visionary fantasizes.
After a while the kids started to get impatient, saying, “I know what I am going to do. Let us do our own stuff!”
When they started to work, the most impressive was to observe how ideas spread throughout the room among kids with such wide range of ages (from 3 to 12). The idea to introduce tasty food came from the youngest member, a 3 year old girl. She created the town-toy-shop, where everything was full of edible toys and in the middle was a huge cash register. Benjamin latched on to this idea, then almost everybody else in the room was adding food-related items to their plans.
Benjamin introduced the idea of a “source of energy” that stands in the middle of the town, kind of running everything. Every boy adopted this idea.
Just at the end of our meeting, one child introduced the idea of the graveyard and it spread through the minds of kids like crazy: “children-grave yard, toy-graveyard”, etc.
I would not say that all their plans were nice and puffy, but we were having a really great time!
Masha (5 years old)
A town with flying cars, and birds that stay in the middle of the sky (“they are just staying there still”) and many, many play grounds. The inhabitants of the town are future people who don’t have mouths.
Timur (8 years old)
This entire town is connected together like a big body by an electricity grid. Transportation is almost an living “organ”. There is a cemetery in the town. The style and the way of thinking remind me of Filonov.
Dania (7 years old)
Danianamed his city “The Town of Sweets”. At the center there is an energy plant. This town also has:
- A giant police eye (Dania was the author of this meme that was immediately adopted by everybody in the room)
- A graveyard
- A candy park (also all cars are made from candy and look identical)
- Solar panels
- A huge trap at the entrance. This is the most interesting part of the plan. I did not have enough time to ask Dania why it is there, but he very convincingly explained, “Everyone who crosses the threshold of the city steps on a special button which causes water to fall on them.”
Dania’s city seems to me the most anti-utopian. In any case, it is clear that not only “sweetness” fascinates, but so does “terror”.
David 5 years old)
A school, a hospital, and…no, not a jail, but…a swimming pool. I asked David, “Who lives in the city?” “Only one person,” he replied. “Who is it?” “God.”
Portrait of the city’s single inhabitant
Anya (12 years old), had planned this almost real town, including a school, kindergarden, park, swimming pool, restaurant and even a planetarium.
This post is also available in: Russian