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Saturday
Jan032009

Horizontal Cities of 2031 (1931)

The December 6, 1931 Daily Capital News and Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, MO) ran a short blurb about Francis Keally's predictions for the city of 2031. Keally (1889-1978) was an architect who worked on the Oregon state capitol building in Salem, which was completed in 1938.

Francis Keally thinks that our future cities will spread out over great areas like monstrous eagles. One hundred years from today we shall have no batteries of skyscrapers to point out to our trans-Atlantic visitors. On the contrary our future cities, because of the aerial eye, will be flat-topped, and two out of every three buildings will serve as some kind of landing area for a super-auto gyroplane or a transcontinental express. What towers there are will be built at a great distance from the airports and will serve as mooring masts for giant dirigibles. The architects of our future aerial cities may have to go back to places like Constantinople and Fez for their inspiration of these future flat-topped aerial cities where one finds a low horizontal character to the entire city, occasionally broken here and there by a praying tower or a minaret.

Francis Keally also had an idea in the August, 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics for glass banks.

Previously on Paleo-Future:
The Family Plane of 2030 A.D. (1930)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

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Reader Comments (6)

I notice the 'glass banks' link got a bit of flak. Notably, HSBC has gone with a very glassy modernist design for all their new franchises in, at least, New England, and I notice TD is also moving to a corporate look with a lot of glass in the front (unless this was inherited in properties from one of their acquisitions).

Of course, both of these make use of opaque partitions to lesser or greater extents. The building shown actually reminds me of some 'grand old banks' (like the Bank of America in downtown Stamford, CT) that have extremely open floor-plans, not unlike that proposal. Prior to the ATM and direct deposits, perhaps they had to accommodate much longer lines?

January 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This is one of the best blogs on the net.

January 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Post 9/11, this guy may end up being right.

March 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTroy

He must have visited Houston.

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAliasUndercover

Im hoping that it would happen in the year 2031, but until now i cant see any improvement.

He was right that we are sprawled out. It's a matter of cost. When everyone walked or took the carriage, a premium was put on density. Position yourself too far for convenient travel and nobody will go to your business. Building up was more expensive than building out but was the only option.

Car culture placed the burden of paying for transit on society. A developer can build on the outskirts of town and count on taxpayers to build the roads out to him. Perhaps an impact fee will be assessed for each new home to pay for fire and police protection or perhaps not. Society as a whole pays more for building out but those costs are not imposed upon the builder which is why he has no incentive to do otherwise. The true cost is also hidden to the taxpayer. Would he really want to have car culture if he realized that the huge defense budget is all about keeping our access to foreign oil?

We do need to build up, not out. We need to reduce our carbon footprint or else have it reduced for us by forces beyond our control.

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhope for the future

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