The village within: An alternative genealogy of the urban village

Ayala Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The ‘urban village’, as it has come to be known since the 1980s, has very little to do with the rural. This coupling of terms, however, evokes a longer history of attempts to marry the urban with the rural, without either losing their distinctive attributes. This article traces this genealogy to Patrick Geddes’s conceptualisation of the term in India, and focusses the analysis on two projects: the 1930 ‘Green City’ proposal by the constructivists Moisei Ginzburg and Mikhail Barshch, and the planning of Dodoma, Tanzania’a post-colonial capital, by the Canadian firm Project Planning Associates and the American James Rossant in the late 1970s. Both projects addressed nascent socialist societies, but the former was part of an industrialisation campaign while the latter was part of a villagisation campaign. By reimagining the village as a component that can be integrated into the city, both aimed at a socio-economic reconfiguration of the town-country relationship on a territorial scale. Reconsidering the term ‘urban village’ as part of a broader history of urban-rural planning emphasises how experiments in the Global South, as well as other locations outside the professional hegemonic centre, shed new light on the discipline’s core assumptions about the urban-rural divide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-420
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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