Disney's Utopian EPCOT in an academic book
Posted by MacDood
Walt Disney and the Quest for Community is a (pricey, $50) academic text on Walt's Utopian dream of building a city called EPCOT another wun for the disney-philes, ya know who ya are-- Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow -- on the grounds of his planned Florida theme park. EPCOT would have asked its worker-citizens to sign away their Consitutional rights in favor of a code-of-conduct specified by Walt and embodied in the Park's designs, and included plans to be electrically self-sufficient through the construction of a nuclear power-plant.
Written by a professor of Urban Planning, the book seems to have been written from the perspective of utopianism in urban design, with Walt as a kind of Bizarro-world Jane Jacobs. This is a subject that's always fascinated me -- the idea of a top-to-bottom Disney-mediated utopian community. There was a generation of Americna entrepreneurs who dreamed of these things -- Ford reportedly built planned communities in Brazil called "Fordlandia" where he subjected his rubber-plantation workers to his utopian vision (which included the banning of the local booze in favor of Tom Collinses, which were inherently Utopian in Ford's eyes).
"Mannheim does a remarkable job in detailing the Disney's revolutionary urban planning contributions that shape most of the modern world."
Edward J. Blakely, Dean, Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, New School University, New York, USA
"The book is the first to reveal Walt Disney's deep personal concern for the urban "crisis" of the time..."
Gerald Gast, Associate Professor, Portland Urban Architecture Program, The University of Oregon