Making the Most of Tomorrow

Making the Most of Tomorrow
ISBN: 978-80-246-4017-4
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Matěj Spurný

Making the Most of Tomorrow

A Laboratory of Socialist Modernity in Czechoslovakia

Most, one of the most impressive historical cities of Northern Bohemia, was destroyed in the sixties and seventies for coal mining. When plans to redevelop the city began, hope and expectations ran high; in the end, however, Most became a symbol for the heartless incompetence of Czechoslovak communism.

In this book, Matěj Spurný explores the historical city of Most from the nineteenth century into the years following World War II, investigating the decision to destroy it as well as the negotiations concerning the spirit of the proposed new city. Situating postwar Most in the context of cultural and social shifts in Czechoslovakia and Europe as a whole, Spurný traces the path a medieval city took to become a showcase of brutalist architecture and the regime’s technicist inhumanity.
But the book, like the city of Most itself, does not end in tragedy. Fusing architectural and political history with urban and environmental studies, Spurný’s tale shows the progress that can be made when Czechs confront the crimes of the past—including the expulsion of local Germans and the treatment of the Romani minority—and engage with rational, contemporary European concepts of urban renewal.


Preface: Coal under the Pavement

The Story
Old Most
  The Idea
  Everyday Life
Thinking the Story
  Five Perspectives
  The Landscape and the Society
  Sources of Legitimacy
  The Public Space and the Limits of Criticism
  Faces of Modernity
  Two Stories about Technology, Power and Freedom

Misery and Defiance: Most as a Site of Memory

Technology and Revolution
The Destruction of the City as an Investment Plan

The Ideal City
Utopia in Practice
  New Cities for a New Age
  A War on Tradition?
Czechoslovak Variations
City of Roses
  Between Stalin and Le Corbusier
  The Welfare Dictatorship
  A City without Roses

Silent Spring
City, Forest, Smoke
In Defense of the Old Town

The New Face of Modernity
The Amalgam of Normalization
The Velvet Revolution
A Bridge between the Past and the Future

A Laboratory of Modernity
Where the Present Begins
The Dialectics of the Age of the Technocrats
Destruction as the Achievement of Victory
The Story Continues

Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of Photographs

Karolinum, Prague 2019, 145 x 190 mm, 456 pages, ISBN 978-80-246-4017-4