Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin
Ads by Land8

Design Under Sky discusses landscape architecture, the utilitarian but leaning towards the conceptual, thinking on modern occurrences and peripheral boundaries.  

DUS is the blog and personal design studio of Adam E. Anderson, a designer based out of the East Coast, currently a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a designer at Landworks Studio.

For design inquires, feel free to contact me below.

contact | subscribe | twitter | facebook |

December 2011
January 2011
June 2010
November 2009
September 2009

« Genetic Necessities of Wilderness | Main | Landscapes: Design Alternatives »

A 1940's View of the Future American City

Definitive document of pre-World War II futuristic Utopian thinking, as envisioned by General Motors. Documents the "Futurama" exhibit in GM's "Highways and Horizons" pavilion at the World's Fair, which looks ahead to the "wonder world of 1960."

Interesting how the vision of the future of the American city was so heavily impacted by the automobile, not surprisingly the film was sponsored by GM.  "Widening the trails" was the great aspiration of modern engineers and a promotion of untested new concepts of urban development.  Apparently GM was able to convince the government to implement various elements of the film in its country-wide development strategy.

The Utopian narrator states as the eerie organ chimes in the background "The rights-of-way have been so routed as to displace [not "bypass"]. . . undesirable slum areas whenever possible." From the 1930s through the 60s, bulldozing slums and routing freeways through them was considered a good thing -- part of "urban renewal." The thousands of displaced residents could now live in brand-new high-rise public housing projects!  Unfortunately, a lot of those became broken-down, crime-and-drug-infested hellholes.

A positive revelation is the replacement of "outworn" areas with riverfront parks, with many urban renewal projects, championed by Landscape Architects currently underway or completed such as the Allegheny Riverfront Park Project by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.   However, our current landscape fails to compare to the Utopian, and quite unrealistic view of the "green city", neglecting to consider density issues as well as auto and industrial pollution symbiotic of urbanization.

We've seen an influx of Architect's and Landscape Architect's 3-D concepts of the inhabited future, I wonder to what degree these concepts will manifest and how they'll be viewed 70 years from now by the modern world?  Hopefully by then we'll at least have Autogyros!

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.