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Title: CyberSovietica: Planning, Design, and the Cybernetics of Soviet Space, 1954-1986
Authors: West, Diana Kurkovsky
Advisors: Boyer, M. Christine
Contributors: Architecture Department
Keywords: cybernetics
Soviet planning
Soviet urbanism
Territorial-Production Complexes
Subjects: Architecture
History of science
Slavic studies
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: My dissertation project examines the scientific aspirations behind the Soviet planning and design programs during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. I argue that fundamental to these fields was an effort at total spatial control through comprehensive, rational, and mathematical system organization. Drawing inspiration from cybernetics - a field that was an important part of the Soviet scientific establishment during the late 1950s and well into the 1980s - I call the Soviet fascination with comprehensively designed systems of planning and design "CyberSovietica". By exploring the epistemological overlap in the Soviet conceptions of science, design, and planning theory, my project offers a novel understanding of the homogenous spatial regime of socialist planning as a reification of a pervasive idea about organization of technological systems. In "CyberSovietica", I argue that Soviet postwar urbanism drew heavily on cybernetic theory, as planners and designers applied notions of cybernetic governance to a wide range of spatial regimes. My chapters address pre- and early-Soviet theories of urban organization, Khrushchev-era housing construction, the use of systems theory for universal consumer product design in the 1970s, and the establishment of comprehensively planned regional complexes in Siberia and the Soviet Far East during the years of the Baikal-Amur Mainline construction project. I end my exploration with the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown, which shattered the Soviet conception of scientific certainty and the idea that through comprehensive design and automation of all components, technological systems could be altogether fail-proof.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Architecture

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