Ideal town was a Renaissance concept developed by Italian polymath Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), author of ten books of treatises on modern architecture titled De re aedificatoria written about 1450 with additions made until the time of his death in 1472. Alberti's architectural theories concerned the planning and building of an entire town as opposed to individual edifices for private patrons or ecclesiastical purposes.
Alberti insisted on choosing the location of the town first, followed by careful setting up of the size and direction of streets, then location of bridges and gates, and finally a building pattern ruled by perfect symmetry. One of the more prominent examples of a town modelled on this theory was Zamość founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoyski. At present, it is a World Heritage Site in Poland.
The ideal town was seen as a utopia to be achieved by disregarding the reasonably regular planimetrics of real, historic towns for standards – geometric, aesthetic or otherwise – of ideal perfection. Therefore the debate about ideal towns has become isolated from the debate about real, historic towns. In fact, there has often been the temptation to superimpose and identify this debate with one about utopia and those town models often linked to the utopian concept.
- Anthony Blunt, From "Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450‐1660". Chapter 1: Alberti. PDF file, direct download 192 KB. NEHAWU Archives.
- Old City of Zamość. UNESCO World Heritage Centre 2014, United Nations.
- European Educational Project: What city for man. Progetto Educativo Europeo Comenius Azione 1 Quale Citta' Per L'Uomo,in English.