Take a look at the upcoming Skyscraper Museum exhibit that explores early-20th-century futurist visions of New York City and two things come to mind: they went a little overboard on scale, but most of the conceptual vision is spot on. With change as rapid as it is today, could we accurately look ahead a century now?
The massed high-rise construction and the heavy dependence on transportation are clearly evident and have a ring of familiarity as we look at the drawings imagining a brave new world. Dirigibles never moored on skyscraper masts, of course, because no one could have imagined the rapid development of fixed-wing aviation technology.
Now we know that communications technology is driving today’s culture and lifestyles in ways we couldn’t have imagined even 10 years ago. (Gene Roddenberry imagined wireless, flip-open communicators 40 years ago, for instance, but he totally missed the boat on how obnoxiously ubiquitous cell phones would become.) So, with all the amazing advancements and seemingly overwhelming unrest in the world today, is there even any point in guessing on the development—or dissolution—of the cities of 2100?
And if we could, what are the best clues and tools to use to do it?
What do you think?