There actually were socialist proposals for something like the Futuro. Though he initially worked on a number of plans for communal housing, Moisei Ginzburg, along with Mikhail Okhitovich, Aleksandr Zelenko, and Aleksandr Pasternak (Boris’ brother), came close to this in their plans for “disurbanism” in late 1929 and early 1930. They opposed the existence of the traditional, centralized city as they viewed it as bound up with the capitalist social formation. Ginzburg, Okhitovich, & co. were much more interested in the development of personality and the free individual under socialism, rather than in the creation of vast collectivist dwellings. This was a welcome corrective to Leonid Sabsovich and others for whom communism meant merely the abstract negation of capitalism, and who wanted to substitute collectivism for individualism, which they associated with capitalism.
Anyway, the Disurbanists proposed small but accommodating individual housing units, or “pods,” which would moreover be mobile and collapsible. These spaces would aid in the cultivation of the individual personality, and would moreover allow each person the freedom to associate with others as he would like. If someone got married, he could “link” his pod to another’s. If the couple would then have children, they could “plant” more pods for each child to live in. Moreover, the Disurbanists believed that this would help solve the problem of divorce, housing space, and property, since a divorced couple would no longer have to fight over the space they shared or other proprietary issues. The two divorcees could simply uncouple their pod-houses from each other and go their separate ways.
The Disurbanists thus also hoped that this would help dissolve the traditional social unit of the family and more broadly “socialize” them. Like Sabsovich and the Urbanists, Ginzburg and his allies believed that the care of children in their upbringing should be primarily provided for by institutions established by society. But while familial bonds and affection would doubtless remain in many cases, one would not be forced by his involuntary association with his family to remain attached to it. Once a child would reach the age of maturity, it would be his right to dissociate himself from the rest of his natural family. Continue reading