Nowa Huta, Kraków, Poland

The Nowa Huta district of Kraków, Poland, is one of the only planned “socialist realist” districts ever built and is an example of city planning based on a social utopia. Designed in the late 1940s after the end of the Second World War by the Soviet Union as an example of the model proletarian city, every detail of Nowa Huta was carefully planned in order to create a sort of working-class oasis in contrast to the nearby Kraków, which was an older, bourgeois city that had a less than favorable idea of communism. The design featured wide streets and planned green space, and the possibility of a nuclear attack was also an important consideration of this plan, with trees placed strategically to absorb nuclear blast and streets laid out in a way that was thought to be easy to defend.
However, the important symbolic significance of Nowa Huta’s design was its identity as a proletariat paradise. A large steel mill (seen at the top right of the image) was built at one end of the city, with the largest blast furnace in Europe. The placement of this steel mill in Nowa Huta’s design was clearly a symbolic choice rather than a practical one, seeing as there was very little local demand for steel and there was a lack of iron ore or coal deposits anywhere close. The steel mill served as a symbol of the proletariat, and the city was designed in reference to those proletarian ideals.

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