Druker Prize Presentation Luncheon: Networked Utopia: A Global Survey of the Urban Legacy of the Bata Shoe Company’s Satellite Cities

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Presented by: Victor M. Sanz MAUD ’11
2011 Recipient of the Druker Prize

Following the spectacular growth of the Bata Shoe Company and the transformation of its home town, Zlín (Czech Republic) into a field of spatial and social experimentation, the enterprise began a strategy of decentralization and global expansion which lead to the replication of an urban and community model in a series of modern industrial towns founded between 1930 and 1945 around the globe.

‘Networked Utopia’ is an exhaustive survey of these towns and their postindustrial landscape: it is a comparative work that has used field trips, photography, interviews, and archival material to reveal the invariant and differentiating features in the urban form and architectural typologies of each one of these towns. The research has aimed to document the strategies of implementation of Bata’s urban vision to multiple contexts and geographies by constructing a comprehensive genealogy and evaluation of the urban legacy of this unparalleled undertaking. Furthermore, this project reflects on the need for re-imagining networked utopias and the role of design in achieving an integral and sustainable relationship between economy and urbanism.

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