The Wonder City of the Future You Definitely Didn't Live to See

We love futurists, here at GO! Tower. Somebody has to figure out how we'll do everything in the future. Futurists usually look like naive goofs, but if you don't at least make some attempt to plan how to make things work, you wind up living in a city that's not so much structured as it is congealed. A city could theothetically look like a perfectly balanced model of efficiency if the whole thing were designed by one person at one time, but this is almost never the reality. Usually, cities wind up as ad-hoc jumbles, designed by hundreds of committees working independently, at different times over decades. Poor Harvey W. Corbett.

Good news! Predictions of future past don't have to be accurate to have value. When they miss the mark, they can range from fascinating to hilarious. That's how you make lemonade out of disappointing lemons. Here's a two page feature from a 1925 issue of Popular Science Monthly on the ideas Harvey Corbett and his ideas for the future city of 1950. Lemonade up, you! It's not so much hilarious as it is interesting. Corbett was a pretty successful architect, and his ideas were not insane in the membrane, just very optimistic. But that's what we want when we're shopping for futurists, isn't it? Optimism. Okay, sometimes I like a futurist to be completely out of their mind. That's not Harvey. Maybe next time?

Click for the big.

Click? For big!


Steve Miller said...

A. Where's my jetpack?
B. What dullard designed that diamond cloverleaf with the connected on- and off-ramps? We have enough collision with vehicles traveling the wrong way, but today you really have to work hard(er) to accomplish it on limited access highways.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I thought the very same thing about the access ramps. Those are trouble on a bun. I wonder, though. Was this the first conception of a cloverleaf? If so, Corbett was kind of on-the-money there, except for the head-on collision ramps.

Wups! Looks like some guy calling himself Arthur Hale claims the patent of the cloverleaf design. However, Corbett can still have authorship rights for the idea of having a head-on collision on an access ramp.


Franck3D said...

My favorite part of this article is the optimism that entire cities and roadways will be completely rebuilt within 25 years. The only way this works is if everything we know is torn down and rebuilt from scratch.
A'int nobody got time for that.

Post a Comment