Take a look at 10 real world of examples of failed Utopian communities and what they can teach us about our society.
In 1856, the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company founded Octagon City near Humboldt, Kansas. They intended it to be a settlement made up entirely of vegetarians, but had to open it up to others when interest wasn’t what they hoped. The city’s design was inspired by a “scientific” idea, suggested by famous phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler, that octagons were the most practical design for homes because they permitted the most amount of light to enter. (Above you can see a design of Fowler’s from his magazine about phrenology.) City designer Henry Clubb, a vegetarian activist, imagined that eight roads would lead away from a central octagonal town square. From there, the city would be made up of four octagon villages, complete with octagon farmhouses, town squares, and public buildings.
Ultimately about sixty families came from all over the country to live in Octagon City, but were sorely disappointed when they found that the only building was a 16 x 16 windowless log cabin. The settlers who stayed faced a multitude of problems, including lack of water when the local spring dried up, mosquitoes and disease. Nothing remains of the town today, but Clubb’s legacy lives on in the handful of octagon houses that remain in the US and Canada.
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