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Entries in future cities (32)

Tuesday
Jan062009

Rejuvenated Downtowns (1959)


The March 1, 1959 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think! featured "rejuvenated downtowns" of the future. I travel the United States often imagining what the downtowns of our major cities once looked like. Few American downtowns are thriving, or barely surviving. The downtown of the city in which I live (St. Paul, MN) is certainly struggling. Good luck finding much open past 5PM.

Radebaugh's mention of downtown Detroit is particularly jarring for our 2009 eyes. The recent photo essay in Time magazine titled, "The Remains of Detroit" really says it all. I recently picked up the book Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, which appears to shed some light on precisely what happened to the American urban center.

The text from "Rejuvenated Downtowns" appears below. Thanks again to Tom Z. for the color scans.

Traffic-choked downtown sections will be rejuvenated and transformed into airy, wide pedestrian malls when the designs of city planners are adopted in a none-too-distant future.

 

Large-scale plans and programs are springing up all over the country. One example is fashionable Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, being studied today for conversion into a traffic-free shopping promenade. Another is utilitarian Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. There are many more in between.

Traffic will be parked in adjoining areas. Store fronts will be modernized and beautified. New lighting at night and newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers will give these malls an exciting air. The aim is to regain for downtowns their former status as urban headquarters.

Next week: All-Seeing Eye


Previously on Paleo-Future:
California Cities in the Year 2000 (1961)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Experimental City of the Future (1967)
Walt Disney and City Planning

 

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)

Monday
Sep012008

California Cities in the Year 2000 (1961)

The March 12, 1961 Independent Star-News (Pasadena, CA) ran an article which heavily quotes Ed Dolker, deputy director of the California Department of Natural Resources. A short excerpt appears below. You can read the entire article here.

"There will be 60 million people in California in the year 2000," Dolder said. "There will be two great metropolises in our state - one that extends from Salinas to Moterey counties and the other from Santa Barabara to San Diego counties."


Read more:
Edmund G. Brown's Californifuture (1963)
James B. Utt on Space Travel (1963)
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Governor Knight and the Videophone (Oakland Tribune, 1955)

 

Sunday
May112008

Experimental City of the Future (1967)


The January 22, 1967 Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) ran this illustration of an experimental city of the future.

Typical Experimental City may look like this. At left is computerized communications complex; at center lies atomic power plant, while at right is greenhouse for vegetables and greenery.


See also:
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
Personal Helicopter (1943)
Commuter Helicopter (1947)

 

Tuesday
Apr292008

10,000 Years From Now (1922)


The February 12, 1922 Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) published this page, speculating on the world 10,000 years hence. The piece is a shortened article by Hugo Gernsback with illustrations by Louis Biedermann. Excerpts appear below.

The up-to-date scientist has little difficulty in predicting certain things that will happen in ten or fifty years, but a hundred centuries hence is a larger order, even for the most intrepid imagination. That practically nothing of our present civilization will be left after 10,000 years may be safely predicted. We may also prophesy that human beings, a hundred centuries hence, will live in entirely altered circumstances from those in which we now exist.

 

Our illustration depicts one of the future cities floating high in the air, several miles above the earth. The question of sustaining such a large body in a rareified atmosphere will prove to be of little difficulty to our future electrical engineers. Just as we construct leviathans of the sea to-day, some of them weighing as much as 50,000 tons we shall construct entire cities weighing billions of tons, which will be held in space not by gas balloons, propellers, or the like antiquated machinery, but by means of gravity-annulling devices. Already experiments have been made whereby it has become possible to reduce the weight of substances by electrical forces.


See also:
Closer Than We Think

 

Tuesday
Apr082008

Super-Metropolis Map of 1975 (1961)


This edition of Closer Than We Think ran in the July 23, 1961 Chicago Tribune, and illustrates the megacities and metropolises of 1975.

As a St. Paulitan . . . St. Paulite . . . resident of St. Paul, I find the map's indication of "St. Paul Metro" pretty hilarious. You see, St. Paul has an inferiority complex due to its big twin brother, Minneapolis, which gets all the national attention. News reports describing the upcoming Republican National Convention in "Minneapolis" are about 10 miles off.

Tomorrow's map will be vastly different from today's. Great patches over much of it will indicate the super-metropolis cities which are already evolving out of our once-separated urban centers.

 

The "regional cities" of tomorrow will be nearly continuous complexes of homes, business centers, factories, shops and service places. Some will be strip or rim cities; some will be star-shaped or finger-shaped; others will be in concentric arcs or parallels; still others will be "satellite towns" around a nucleus core. They will be saved from traffic self-suffocation by high-speed transportation - perhaps monorails that provide luxurious nonstop service between the inner centers of the supercities, as well as links between the super-metropolises themselves.


See also:
Closer Than We Think
1980-1990 Developments (1979)

 

Wednesday
Mar262008

Sea City of the Future (1984)

This image appears in the 1984 book The Future World of Agriculture and illustrates futuristic farming techniques near a sea city.

Robots tend crops that grow on floating platforms around a sea city of the future. Water from the ocean would evaporate, rise to the base of the platforms (leaving the salt behind), and feed the crops.


 

See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)