Thoughts & Insights
A Narrow Path in a Huge Forest of Unexplored Possibilities
It would be no exaggeration to label Fritz Haller’s audacious concept for an “Integral Urban” of the 1960s and ’70s as utopian.
It sketches a megalopolitan living space in which new dimensions are opened up primarily through the scales he thinks in. This is not about tens or hundreds of thousands, but about billions of residents who would populate cities of gigantic proportions scattered about the Earth.
Their individual and social needs are also taken care of, as are infrastructure requirements of all kinds and, most importantly, the needs of Nature. There are no private cars in this vision; instead an environmentally-friendly rail system perpetually transports the population backwards and forwards between nodal points on short and medium trajectories, with the journey from home to work taking a maximum of 45 minutes. Long hauls will either be in high-speed trains or, when global distances are involved, by aircraft of the next generation, whisking passengers between New York and Frankfurt in just two and a half hours.
It is a holistic, ecological approach, the dimensions of which are capable of arousing a mixture of fascination and frightening, right up to the drawings that visualise a grandiose geometrical and geographical order, whose aesthetics appear as functional as frightening. And yet what always appealed to OUBEY and to me as well in Haller’s global settlement concept was the wide expanse taken by nature, and with it the conscious self-limitation placed by man on his living space in favour of his natural environment.
As in any genuine utopia, this plan sets aside subsidiary problems, focuses on the basics and first and foremost challenges the powers of imagination. Yet, with his typical modesty, Haller admits in the first of his two volumes: “The significance of the work as a whole is no greater than a narrow path in a huge forest of unexplored possibilities.”
The drawings are taken from “Fritz Haller: Integral Urban – A Global Model.” Walter-Verlag Olten, 1975. The quote is taken from “Fritz Haller: Integral Urban – A Model.” Walter-Verlag Olten, 1968.