Mapping Utopia as an Enclosed Renaissance Garden

Chun Liang LIN, Mark Hansley CHUA

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This article presents previous attempts to map Utopia, a fictional island in the book Utopia by Thomas More, and proposes another possibility, based on the assumption that Utopia is an enclosed garden on an artificial island that is not flat, but has piedmont slopes of 2.5:1. Our mapping experiment is founded on the Renaissance analogy between the domestication of wild nature, and the civilization of the human beings in More’s enclosed garden; and on the anecdotal similarities between the Inca Empire and Utopia. This approach is not only consistent with the island’s dimensional specifications, which have hampered previous mapping attempts due to their mathematical incompatibility, but it also addresses the educative capacity of utopian life not considered by previous mapping efforts. Utopia, as a result, is to be understood as a series of performative spatial arrangements where the physical and geographical specifications would inform the vernacular life of its inhabitants in the direction of self-enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-233
Number of pages24
JournalUtopian studies
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.


  • Utopia
  • mapping
  • agricultural terrace
  • educative island
  • Renaissance enclosed garden


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping Utopia as an Enclosed Renaissance Garden'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this