The Phenomena of the Open City

written by Kees Christiaanse


In the history of utopias, the reflection of the ideal society often takes the form of a city. In this way, we can view the Open City as a spatial translation of an open society.


The Meerpaal in Dronten, the Netherlands, is an attempt by architect Frank van Klingeren to ‘un-clot’ society. The building, which opened in 1967, consisted of one huge space within which activities took place without visual and acoustic separation. The Meerpaal became a symbol for the ‘makeable society’, characterized by openness, transparency, and tolerance. The makeable society became a paradigm for social democracy, for an open society.