Athens Charter (Charte d'Athènes), 1933


The functional zoning of urban landscapes is the main concern of the Charter. The individual functional areas for living, working and recreation are to be divided by extensive green belts and connected by transport axes. The spaces for living are the most important parts of a functional city, like it was called by the author Le Corbusier.

Compared to the old, organic cities, he calls for planning the new cities, adapting them precisely to the needs of the people. Their ways to work should be as short as possible and they and a lot of green space should be planned for their leisure time.

Le Corbusier published the Athens Charter in 1941.

The Charter had a significant impact on urban planning after World War II until the 1970s. The Brasilian architect Oscar Niemeyer used ideas of the Athens Charter for the development of the new Brasilian capital Brasília. In 1958 he had warned that his utopian dream could not be fulfilled unless society itself was reorganised to suit it. That was one of the major problems, that architects dreamed that people are following their ideas.

The idea of an ideal city was abandoned already in the 1950s, because individual interests are too strong and needs cannot be comprehensively planned.