Friday, August 10, 2012

Paper analysing the content of the City of Manchester Plan, published in 1945

I've just received the pageproofs for a paper, coauthored with Chris Perkins. Its due to be published in the autunm hopefully.

Mapping the Imagined Future: The Roles of Visual Representation in the 1945 City of Manchester Plan
by Chris Perkins and Martin Dodge

Visual representations have often played a crucial role in imagining future urban forms. In the aftermath of the Second World War, a noteworthy new genre of urban plan was published in Britain, most deploying seductively optimistic illustrations of ways forward not only for the reconstruction of bomb-damaged towns and cities but also for places left largely undamaged. This paper assesses the contribution of visual elements in this process with a detailed case study of the maps, statistical charts, architectural drawings and photographs enrolled into the 1945 City of Manchester Plan. The cultural production of these visual representations is evaluated. Our analysis interprets the form, symbology and active work of different imagery in the process of reimagining Manchester, but also assesses the role of these images as markers of a particular moment in the cultural economy of the city. This analysis is carried out in relation to the ethos of the Plan as a whole.

Keywords: City of Manchester Plan; planning; visual practices; mapping; Manchester; architectural drawings; photographs; futurity


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