Arts • History • "society & culture"

Avery Trufelman explores stories of people who tried to design a better world — and what happens when those designs don’t go according to plan. Season one, Utopian, is about the perpetual search for the perfect place. From Curbed and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Popular episodes

Go For Broke: Inside the Dot-Com Bubble

Oct 29 • 39:54

Avery shares Optimism from the Cut

Sep 21 • 29:12

While you're waiting patiently for the next season of Nice Try!, we're sharing another podcast our host Avery Trufelman has been working on that we think you'll really like: the Cut from New York Magazine. In the Cut's first episode, Avery explores what the idea of optimism really means in our current moment. ...

Disney World: Celebrating Utopia

Aug 15 • 46:23
Before she began writing for the New York Times, or visiting glitter factories and the Royal Wedding, Caity Weaver grew up vacationing in utopia. Specifically: Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. During a recent live event at the 92Y in New York City, Avery asked Caity to bring us back to those vacations. As a reminder that discussion about utopias - and the failures an...

Herland: Reimagine Utopia

Jul 18 • 36:53
What have all of the utopias we've covered so far had in common? They were all largely driven by the will and power of a charismatic leader - usually a man, usually white. How do you build a utopia, then, for people in society who really need it? In our season finale, we visit worlds where there are no men. In fiction, and real life.

Read more about all Utopian episodes - f...

Biosphere 2: The Theater of Utopia

Jul 11 • 51:06
In 1991, eight people embarked on a two-year experiment to create a completely enclosed, self-sustaining ecosystem in a domed research facility in Arizona. Inside the dome, there was a man-made savannah. A rainforest. A farm. An ocean with tropical coral reef. And all of these habitats would be populated with life. Things did not go according to plan. But was it a failure?...

Germania: Architecture in a Fascist Utopia

Jun 27 • 36:32
In 1938, Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer started redesigning Berlin for a New Order, elements of which exist today. The Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin features designs that specifically evoke the Third Reich. Following the end of World War II, the airport became a crucial access point for the US and British to bring food through the Berlin Blockade. It was closed i...

Oneida: Utopia, LLC

Jun 20 • 37:06
The Oneida Community was founded in upstate New York in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes, a former theological student who believed that paradise could be found on Earth through nontraditional sexual and familial structures, including complex marriages and communal childraising. Hundreds of people followed him, and for many years their community succeeded. But the center could ...

Levittown/Concord Park: Utopia in Our Backyard

Jun 13 • 34:11
Suburban developments built in the 1950s were idyllic communities and gave many people their first opportunity at home ownership, but typically excluded African Americans. While William Levitt used explicit racial covenants and other tactics to keep his famed Levittown developments white, one builder used racial quotas to create an integrated community — and succeeded, for...

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Chandigarh: The Modernist Utopia

Jun 6 • 38:41
Following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned famed architect Le Corbusier to design the city of Chandigarh, to signal India’s rise on the world stage. But the city’s architecture and design has become known more for its Western modernist roots, and less as a symbol of Indian nationalism, and furniture that had b...

Jamestown: Utopia for Whom

May 30 • 39:08
Most people today know the story of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, from the story of Pocahontas and John Smith, and especially from the 1995 Disney animated film. A gripping recounting of the true story of how the settlement failed and recovered, and the toll it took on the English and Native Americans, shows how failure can be a transformati...

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