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Title: From Wren to Corbusier : The Physiological Analogy in Modern Urban Thought and its Antique Roots
Author: Stevenson, James Maxwell
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 5656
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis] examine the use of the human body as a model in urban theory since antiquity, with a focus on the second half of the seventeenth to the first half of the twentieth centuries. This approach makes it possible to reveal the continuity in use of the physiological analogy throughout history, to reveal its impact on urban theory, and to attach Le Corbusier, who used the analogy extensively, to a well-established tradition in urban planning. Philosophers, architects and urbanists have used analogies with the function of the human body to guide their schemes since Plato's Republic, and probably before. In the work of some, like Le Corbusier, the debt to the body as model is admitted freely; others, like Christopher Wren, make no mention of it, though the influence is apparent; others, like Yitruvius, held the body to be the ultimate model for proportion, but did not discuss how physiology influenced their plans. We are able to discover how the function of the human body, as they understood it, influenced these and other architects and authors by examining contemporary political, economic, and urban theories, as well as their various city plans. I demonstrate that before the discovery of blood circulation, cities, like Alberti's, were considered best when static, like the humours in the body. After circulation, however, the city becan:e a place of dynamic exchange. In addition, I argue that the analogies used in urban theory developed alongside discoveries in the biological sciences, so the function of ideal cities remained analogous to the function of the body.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available