The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast

These Attempted Utopias Failed Miserably

On today's podcast, Oscar Rickett discusses some doomed experimental communities throughout history.

by VICE Staff; illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
Apr 23 2018, 9:05pm

Image by Lia Kantrowitz

Humans are always dreaming up ways to make our communities stronger and better—whether it's urban planning, intentional communities, or carefully designed neighborhoods. But history serves up a few cautionary tales of misguided "utopias" as well.

In 1889, Cossack adventurer Nikolai Ashinov tried to create a Russian colony called New Moscow off the coast of Africa, but the whole thing crumbled within just a few weeks. And in 1927, automobile magnate Henry Ford attempted to plop a Midwestern-style factory town in the Amazon rainforest, but his attempt to control and subjugate the people backfired, ending in riots.

Whether their intentions were sinister or idealistic, these failed utopias are a reminder that one person's idea of a perfect community might be another's fear of violent colonization. Writer Oscar Rickett talks about some of these ill-conceived attempts on this episode of The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast.

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An earlier version of this article misspelled Oscar Rickett's name.