Monotown: Urban Dreams Brutal Imperatives

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Stubbins, Room 112
Gund Hall
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138


We hope you can join the GSD for the annual Druker Traveling Fellowship Presentation and Lunch hosted by Diane Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design.

During this special seated lunch, you will have the opportunity to hear Clayton Strange MAUD ’15, the 2015 Druker Fellow, present his research Monotown: Urban Dreams Brutal Imperatives, which considers the single-industry towns that emerged as a distinctive sociopolitical project of urbanization in the Soviet Union during the 1920s. Clayton is the 2019 Visiting Assistant Professor at Lebanese American University School of Architecture and Design and Founding Principal of STRANGE WORKS, a Boston-based research and design office.

Please RSVP with Amber Stout at [email protected] by February 18. Space is limited.

Monotown: Urban Dreams Brutal Imperatives examines the post-industrial transformation and transnational legacy of planned single-industry towns which emerged as a distinctive sociopolitical project of urbanization in the Soviet Union during the 1920s. Monotowns took form through the teleological establishment of industrial enterprises strewn across remote parts of the Siberian hinterland and entailed the relocation of vast populations requiring services, housing, and social and physical infrastructure, all linked to a given town’s productive apparatus. Today, having outlasted the political and economic systems which made them viable, many have become shrinking towns with graying populations and obsolete enterprises, even as they are subjected to considerable national investment and commanded to grow in order to catalyze their respective regions. Given this implied imperative for transformation, the work goes on to explore the largely overlooked legacy of the Monotown as a model of urbanization that was deployed upon remote geographies of China and India through Soviet-aided industrial development projects. By exploring the etymology of the Monotown over time in this expanded field, the work establishes a broader yet more specific dialogue about this model’s complex legacy and future.

The Druker Traveling Fellowship was established in 1986 by Ronald M. Druker, Loeb Fellow ’76, and by the Trustees of the Bertram A. Druker Charitable Foundation. The fellowship is awarded annually and offers students the opportunity to travel in the United States or abroad to pursue study that advances understanding of urban design.