Dreams of disconnection

From the autonomous house to self-sufficient territories

By Fanny Lopez

Dreams of disconnection
Paperback +
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526146892
  • Publish Date: Jun 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    eBook -
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526146885
  • Publish Date: Jun 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4688-5
    • Published Date: June 2021
    • Series: Manchester University Press


    Why do we live in homes and communities built around the century-old industrial model of large service networks that use polluting resources? For more than a century, creative architects and planners have dreamed of decentralisation and self-sufficient living, not to cut themselves off from society, but to invent new modes of consumption and to rethink collective public services around common environmental values.

    In a time of climate crisis, changing society means changing energy infrastructures. Dreams of disconnection tells the story of this strand of design and planning, from its pioneers in the late nineteenth century to those applying similar ideas to tomorrow's technology two hundred years later. Lopez takes in many a utopian visionary in her tour of dreamers of disconnection, from theorists and architects to industrialists and engineers. Technology and design are the centrepieces for these projects, and their complexity, particularly around sustainable supplies of energy, food and water, so often find solutions in aesthetics.

    Whether these models were based around single homes or whole cities, Dreams of disconnection reveals that there is much to be learnt and marvelled at in the history of self-sufficient design.

    This book is relevant to both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 11, Affordable and clean energy and Sustainable cities and communities


    'This is an extensively researched, intellectually challenging and presciently topical study of the largely unexplored world of energy independence. Drawing from a wide range of examples, including theorists, architects, industrialists and engineers, Fanny Lopez has provided us with a comprehensive morality tale for our rapidly changing times. What began as a prophecy when she first started writing it has now materialised as her dreams of disconnection have become a reality. An indispensable guide to help us make sense of the turbulence surrounding us today.'
    James Steele, ACSA Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California, University of Southern California and author of Ecological Architecture: A Critical History



    Part I: Connection versus disconnection
    1 Capturing territories through energy distribution
    2 Being disconnected: genesis of a new technical utopia
    3 Toward energy emancipation

    Part II: The energy autonomy movement, 1970-80
    4 Counterculture radicalism
    5 Alexander Pike and the Autonomous Housing Project, 1971-79
    6 The self-sufficient city
    7 Critical technology: a problematic development
    8 Electricity micro-networks: a tool for the energy transition?



    Fanny Lopez is Associate Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology at the School of Architecture Paris-Est, University Gustave Eiffel

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