Two approaches to ‘world management’: C. A. Doxiadis and R. B. Fuller

Nikos Katsikis, “Two approaches to ‘world management’: C. A. Doxiadis and R. B. Fuller,” in Neil Brenner (ed.), Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization. Berlin: Jovis, 2013, 480-504.

Against the background of contemporary debates on planetary urbanization, this chapter critically revisits two important postwar approaches to conceptualizing, envisioning and managing the world as a whole—those of Constantinos Doxiadis and R. Buckminster Fuller.  Notably, both Fuller and Doxiadis recognized the fundamentally global dimensions of urbanization and the associated challenges of population growth, land management, resource allocation, unequal development and environmental degradation.  Albeit in distinctive ways, each of these authors proposed to confront this issue comprehensively, through radical design agendas, based upon scientific rationality, systematic knowledge and the aspiration for total administrative control.  After critically surveying Doxiadis’ and Fuller’s approaches to world urbanization and their associated strategies for managing the latter, the chapter reflects upon the technoscientific epistemological foundations of both approaches, which neglected to consider the fundamentally political character of spatial relations under modern capitalism.  Such technoscientific approaches are experiencing a renaissance today, albeit in new and often less visionary guises. Critical perspectives on the regulation of worldwide capitalist urbanization thus remain as urgently relevant as ever.