Monday, June 22, 2009

Cities of the Will be that Was

"Future City"
Tales of Future Past

"This painting by Frank R. Paul's of a city of the future and is pretty typical of such predictions. The city is a massive pile of steel, plastic and glass put together in a way that not only has no past, but actively rejects it. It is a place of heroic technology with skyscrapers the size of whole districts, roof-top aerodromes, wide pedestrian boulevards, and metal roadways strangely devoid of traffic. There are even urban space launch pads where giant rockets are winched upright before blasting off to the heavens. Noise regulations, Shmoise regulations.

"The iconic image of the future is the city. Think about it. In how many films have directors established the fact that we're in the future by conjuring up some landscape of incredible buildings with air cars whizzing about like semi-regulated gnats. Metropolis, Bladerunner, Just Imagine, Things to Come...."

This is the introduction to David S. Zondy's Tales of Future Past segment on the city of the future, as imagined by people in (for the most part) the first half of the 20th century.

Some of the predictions were serious, some were silly, and some quite plausible.

Each page is illustrated with a picture of The Future: as imagined in our past.

It took me a while to get used to Zondy's navigation conventions: but it was worth the effort.

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