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Anti-urban ideologies and planning in France and Switzerland: Jean-François Gravier and Armin Meili

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Jean-François Gravier and Armin Meili were two leading pioneers of planning in France and Switzerland. Gravier was the famous author of Paris et le désert français, first published in 1947; Meili was the author of the first national conception of planning in Switzerland and was very active in planning policy in the 1940s. Each has deeply influenced the implementation of planning policy in his country and both have constructed their theories around a criticism of the city: Paris for Gravier; big cities, in general, for Meili. This paper first describes the recurrent critiques of the city in the thoughts of these authors. From sterility to unhealthiness, they combine moral and physical criticisms. Although they belong to different countries and different political cultures, their thoughts take root in surprisingly common backgrounds based on the strength of ruralism and the political context of fascism. Finally, an analysis of their similar propositions concerning town and country planning policies is offered. The lessons of Gravier and Meili are based on different myths which the article will attempt to analyse.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665430601051965

Affiliations: 1: 15 rue Royer-Collard, Paris, France 2: Université de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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