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While tending to some professional duties in Florida, I had the chance to visit the Koreshan Historic Site, where a group of utopian settlers lived for several decades from the 1880s well into the Twentieth Century. They were an odd bunch indeed, founded by a physician from the North who loved to tinker with electricity, and during one occasion when he had suffered a severe shock, had a vision of God as a beautiful woman handing down the secrets of the universe to him. This vision had an entire cosmology, including the idea that the earth was actually inside-out from the way we imagine it, a hollow sphere with the “sky” actually in the center. And that was only the beginning of their odd beliefs.

What struck me, though, was the vision of their founder, Cyrus Teed, for his model city, which he envisioned having a population of ten million. It looked like this:

Koreshan city plan

That immediately reminded me of the ideal city of New Harmony, as envisioned by Robert Owen:

New_harmony_vision

And the Fourierist vision:

Phalanstery

Those 19th century utopians loved symmetry and order! It was part of the urge toward regularization and equality, expressed in architectural form as uniformity. Curious, how these versions of earthly paradise look so much like abstract geometrical shapes – or modern-day prison buildings.

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