International Workshop

Territorial Disputes: National Planning and Ekistics
Hashim Sarkis (Harvard University Graduate School of Design)
Even though the study and planning of human settlements as developed in Ekistics by Constantinos Doxiadis was based on a nestedness of scales that went from the individual dwelling, through the neighborhood, through the city, to the ecumenopolis, the political boundaries in which he operated belonged to the nation state. Many of the Ekistics plans were drawn to match national needs. Doxiadis worked from the statistics of national economies to try and predict and chart the evolution of ufrban settlements. National governments and their central agencies commissioned many of his reports and plans, usually in satisfaction of criteria set by the Bretton Woods institutions for funding international development projects. Even the archives are organized around countries not cities.

The paper examines the tensions that emerge in the work of Doxiadis between the dynamics of the ecumenopolis and the strategies of national planning. It describes the origins of this idea in pre-war planning experiments, particularly during the New Deal with figures like Rexford Tugwell. It then traces its evolution as it becomes the currency of international development politics particularly during the later 1940s and 1950s especially in the work of Lauchlin Currie and the Colombia national plan. It will then focus on how Doxiadis interpreted the idea of national planning in the context of Lebanon arguing that there were serious tensions between the Ekistics approach and the national planning politics that governed much of the early period of international development but in which Doxiadis nevertheless managed to occupy a very privileged position.